By John Goreham
The five-passenger Jeep Grand Cherokee is a plush, powerful SUV with a touch of class. It works well as a business vehicle, family vehicle, or just as well for towing. Those looking for a used Jeep Grand Cherokee will find many available. Smart shoppers will want to avoid trouble, and we pored over the data at CarComplaints.com to determine what years are the best and which are the ones to watch out for.
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has the most owner complaints of any year of the vehicle by far. Surprise, surprise, it was the first model year of a new Grand Cherokee generation. Unlike most of the vehicles we research, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s problems are hard to pin on just one issue. Electrical problems, engine issues, and interior issues are the three problem categories for this vehicle, and they all seem to have related stories from owners. One clue to the majority of the issues is the Totally Integrated Power Module or TIPM.
Theresa F. of Tampa, FL, told CarComplaints.com that, "The car would not start and shut down several times. Scary. Could have crashed.” Although there is a recall that addresses the issue, Tim M. from Orlando wrote in to explain how his breakdown was handled by Jeep. Tim says the trouble started when his, “Jeep wasn't starting up sometimes. Found out about the P54 recall for the fuel pump. Took it in, they 'did service,' went to pick it up, and the POS didn't start at all. They looked at it again and determined the TIPM needed to be replaced completely for $1300. WHY GOD WHY.”
Tim was smart, though, and he contacted Jeep. When he contacted the manufacturer’s customer service center, “They said to go ahead and get it fixed and submit the invoice for reimbursement. YAY! So I went forward and had the dealership replace it. Today I get a call from Chrysler, and the woman said they would not reimburse me. NOOOO!” Pretty frustrating for Tim. He said that Chrysler explained that it would not be covered because, "'The dealership did the work for the recall. The vehicle started for them; they moved the vehicle, and the work was complete.’ The Jeep's issue with the TIPM was a separate issue because ‘things sometimes break.’ YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME. You messed with it, made it worse, but NOPE.. ‘things sometimes break.’"
Rather than take a chance, why not just leave the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee off your shopping list and look for another year with less reported problems? The 2012 and 2013 Grand Cherokees still have some complaints about the same issue, so those may not be the best choices. However, 2010 looks to be trouble-free based on the low rate of complaints. That was the last year of the prior generation of the Grand Cherokee. We looked up the going price for a 2010 used Grand Cherokee at BestRide and found that the high-mileage models start around $11,000 and a low mileage Limited Edition Grand Cherokee can run as high as $22,000.
Older models from 2009 back to 2003 are all relatively complaint-free as well, meaning that a well-worn Grand Cherokee may be a safe bet as a used SUV. The third generation started in 2005. That was a big change for the model, and its on-road abilities began to be more of a focus in 2005. The engines and all-wheel-drive system also were updated. BestRide has 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokees listed for sale between $5,000 and $9,000.
Like with all used SUVs when shopping for a Jeep Grand Cherokee it is wise to try to find out how the vehicle was used. If it was a commuter vehicle or family vehicle, it may have more life in it than if it was used to tow a trailer on a regular basis.