Spotting the Red Flags in Jeep Grand Cherokee: Years To Avoid

The Jeep Grand Cherokee first came out in 1993 and quickly became a favorite midsize SUV.

When the fourth generation was introduced in 2011, it underwent several redesigns over time.

An Image of  a Jeep Grand Cherokee in the Desert
A jeep Grand Cherokee in the Desert

Even though it remained popular, this generation brought about some new challenges for the Grand Cherokee.

While Jeep enjoys a devoted fan base, it’s important to note that certain models may still encounter issues.

Introduction to the Jeep Grand Cherokee

Typically, newer Jeep Grand Cherokees are better choices.

The 2011 redesign sets a benchmark, so models from 2012 onwards are generally solid options.

However, there are exceptions. For instance, the 2013 model had transmission issues, making it wise to avoid it if possible.

When considering a used Grand Cherokee, focus on the engine size and type.

The 3.6-liter V6 engine is often preferred for its balance of power and fuel efficiency.

Older models with the 4.0-liter inline-six engine may be less dependable and harder to maintain.

Always review the vehicle history report (VHR) before purchasing a used vehicle, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Most common Jeep Grand Cherokee problems

The Grand Cherokee was groundbreaking as the inaugural mid-size SUV to adopt a unibody construction for its car frame.

An Infographic Showing the common issues with The Jeep Grand Cherokee
Common issues with the Jeep Grand Cherokee

This innovation led to a lower center of gravity and improved crash-test performance.

Nevertheless, there have been notable reports of common problems filed with the NHTSA and Car Complaints platform.

Let’s delve deeper into these issues for a clearer understanding.

1. Defective TIPM

The brain of Jeep cars called the Integrated Power Module or ECU, controls how the engine works and starts up.

Sadly, it’s a common problem in third and fourth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee cars.

This important computer uses electricity from the battery to manage things like how much air and fuel the engine gets.

Signs of a bad ECU include having trouble starting the car, problems with the fuel pump, the engine stopping suddenly, and it not running smoothly.

2. Problematic diesel engines

In 2014, Jeep launched a new range of 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo diesel engines, aiming to reduce fuel usage. However, it was later revealed that these engines faced similar issues as those involved in the “Dieselgate” scandal by Volkswagen, where cheating devices were used to manipulate emission tests.

This led to a significant recall by Jeep.

If you’re considering purchasing a Grand Cherokee from the 2014 to 2016 model years, be aware that there have been numerous complaints from drivers regarding these diesel engines.

3. Faulty brake boosters

One issue with this model is a faulty brake booster.

If the brake booster is bad, pressing the brake pedal won’t generate enough hydraulic pressure.

This part is crucial for the braking system and affects how well the car can stop.

Jeep issued a recall in 2011 for affected models.

While it’s not a major problem if fixed promptly, it’s still vital for your safety while driving.

So, it’s a good idea to check if the issue has been addressed in a specific vehicle you’re interested in.

4. Problems with automatic transmission

In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a recall for Jeep, focusing on 2014 and 2015 models.

The issue involved the electronic shifter, specifically the park gear.

Many drivers found that if the engine was still running, the car would roll even when the gear shifter was in “P” (park).

To address this, Jeep introduced a mechanical lever to keep the shifter in gear and prevent it from slipping out of the park.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Model Year to Avoid


An Image of a Jeep Grand Cherokee 2011
Jeep Grand Cherokee 2011

The 2011 Grand Cherokee stands out as a model year to avoid due to its significant maintenance costs, especially at relatively low mileage.

Here are the main issues:

1. TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module): Over 200 owners reported problems with the engine failing to start or starting with a delay. Complaints about engine trouble in the 2011 Grand Cherokee were ten times more than in the 2010 model year, leading to a class-action lawsuit. Complaints decreased by nearly 80% by the next model year.

2. Interior styling: Some complaints regarding the interior design.

3. Electrical wiring: Rare short circuit cases on the sun visor posed a fire hazard while driving.

Recalls for the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee included:

– TIPM: Fuel pump failure causing sudden stalling. The TIPM issue typically occurred around 50,000 miles and cost over $1,000 to fix.
– Central Brake Booster: Major rusting leading to freezing and poor brake performance, essential for an SUV designed for diverse driving conditions.

Considering these issues, it’s advisable to approach car buying with knowledge. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most reliable American cars to empower you during the purchasing process.


An Image of the Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014
Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014

The 2014 Grand Cherokee, as a later model of the fourth generation, boasted improvements like a more potent engine, enhanced electrical system, and a refined, comfortable interior.

However, concerns persisted regarding the engine, airbags, and shifting and acceleration control.

Key Issues:

1. Engine: The gearbox, in particular, had issues with harsh or jerky gear changes. Some incidents of rolling cars, even with the motor disengaged due to a failed shift from drive to park, resulted in injuries.

2. Airbags: A defective Occupant Restraint Control (OCR) module occasionally disabled front and side airbags, with reports of the malfunction indicator light failing to illuminate as a warning.

3. Shifting and Acceleration Control: Drivers experienced difficulties with gear shifting and acceleration control, posing safety risks.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued 12 recalls for the 2014 Grand Cherokee, addressing various concerns:

– Engine: Recurring brake fluid leaks required faster replacement due to higher-than-average fluid usage.
– Wiring System: Short circuits prevented drivers from disengaging cruise control, leading to unintended speed maintenance or increase.
– Speed Control: Acceleration continued after the driver released the pedal, posing hazards.
– Brake Booster Shield: Corrosion of the central brake booster shield led to reduced braking efficiency.
– Electronic Stability Control: Software issues disabled ESC, compromising vehicle control.
– Alternator: Sudden alternator failure increases the risk of stalling without warning.
– Electronics: Vulnerabilities in radio-equipped units may have allowed unauthorized access and control of vehicle systems.
– Automatic Transmission: Difficulty in shifting and locking the gear into parking was reported, especially on sloped roads.

Despite its improvements, the 2014 Grand Cherokee faced multiple safety concerns and recalls, necessitating thorough consideration for potential buyers.

What are the Good Model Years?

If you’re seeking a reliable Jeep Grand Cherokee that isn’t too old but still offers solid performance, consider these two models:

1. 2005 Model: Renowned for its versatile performance both on and off the road, the 2005 version strikes a balance between power and fuel efficiency, making it an ideal choice for various driving needs.

2. 2017 or 2018 Models: The 2017 and 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokees offer modern amenities and stylish leather seats, elevating comfort and elegance during your journeys.

3. 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Despite its age, the 2009 model remains dependable, and impressive with its durable design, off-road capability, and powerful engine options. While safety ratings weren’t class-leading, it provides sufficient features for passenger safety, with user-friendly controls.

4. 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Concluding the third-gen lineup, the 2010 model stands out for its renowned off-road capability and upscale interior. It offers a comfortable SUV experience, featuring options like a 3.7-liter V6 engine in the base trim and a robust 6.1-liter Hemi V8 powertrain in the Grand Cherokee SRT8 variant.

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