Here at Car Talk, we’ve got a lot of information for you about extended car warranties, maintenance plans, and other coverage options more accurately known as vehicle service contracts that you can buy for your car. For some, those plans bring peace of mind because owners don’t have to plan for future car repairs or maintenance expenses. Some owners even save money by buying a service contract if they end up needing a lot of expensive repairs while the contract’s in effect.
Most extended car warranty plans are widely available, even on older cars with lots of miles on them, often regardless of what kind of car you drive. But there are some programs you can only get in on if you own a specific kind of vehicle. Enter the Jeep Wave Program.
The Jeep Wave is a phrase that’s been around a long time. It refers to friendly waves from one Jeep driver to another as they pass each other on the road, and it’s something many Jeep owners take seriously. Very seriously. There’s even a set of guidelines detailing which driver should wave first based on their vehicle’s “Jeep Score” in the - we swear we are not making this up - Jeep Wave Hierarchy. That’s a ranking system that takes into account factors like how cool your Jeep is, whether you’ve modified it, and even how clean it is. If you want to rise to the top of that hierarchy, you’d better have a lot of dried mud on that CJ, and it helps if it’s got a snorkel!
The Jeep Wave is so common that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Jeep’s owner, has used the phrase to name one of those exclusive service contracts. The Jeep Wave Program is only available to owners of newer Jeeps - anything older than 2015 doesn’t qualify. If your Jeep doesn’t qualify, and you’d like to shop around for other programs, you can start by reading about Car Talk’s 8 Best Extended Warranty Companies.
Brand new 2021 Jeeps are automatically enrolled for 3 years as long as they’re used normally and not a company car or part of a commercial fleet. 2020 Wranglers and Gladiators are also automatically enrolled. If you’re buying a 2020 Grand Cherokee, the Jeep Wave Program is included as long as you get an Overland, Trailhawk, High Altitude, Summit, SRT, or Trackhawk trim level. 2020 Cherokees, Compasses, and Renegades get Wave thrown in for their Trailhawk trim lines.
Folks driving newer Jeeps that aren’t part of the program can buy into the program for a price, which seems to hover around $150. Owners of all Wave program Jeeps can even re-up when their Jeep Wave membership expires.
But what is the Jeep Wave Program? It’s kind of a hybrid between a maintenance contract and an extended warranty, with a few other bells and whistles thrown in. Members get 3 years of routine maintenance, consisting of tire and oil changes. They also get access to features normally found in extended warranties or standard service contracts, such as trip interruption coverage that pays for lodging, transportation, and meals if your Jeep breaks down more than 100 miles from home because of a warranty-covered part.
And, the program removes the mileage limitations from the factory warranty, so if you drive that Grand Cherokee a lot, you’ll still be covered within the warranty time period no matter how high the odometer reads. Jeep Wave participants even get exclusive benefits and preferred treatment at Jeep-centric events nationwide. They’ll also get access to discounts on hotel stays, restaurants, merchandise, and more from businesses participating in the Jeep Savings Network.
Jeep Wave members get access to a 24/7 help line, either by phone or internet live chat, for any questions they have about their vehicles. They can use that same line to schedule service or make other requests related to their Jeeps.
The good news is that if you’re buying a brand new Jeep, you get access to the Wave Program for 3 years as part of the purchase price. Of course, that also means you don’t have to worry about paying for oil changes or tire rotations for 3 years on any new Jeep. Pricing for the buy-in version isn’t forthcoming from official Jeep channels, but owner consensus is that you’ll pay $150 per year for coverage on vehicles that don’t come with it.
It’s definitely worth it on brand new Jeeps, because it’s free! If you’re thinking about buying into the program, any question about whether a service contract or maintenance agreement is worth it really boils down to the individual owner. Some will find the Jeep Wave Program to be worth it just for the peace of mind that not having to worry about the odometer reading with the factory warranty brings. After all, nothing’s worse than something expensive breaking during the warranty time period when you have a few too many miles on the clock, leaving you on the hook to foot the bill.
Those 2 free oil changes per year could pay for the program all by themselves, especially if your Jeep has a diesel engine which drives the price of oil changes sky-high. On the other hand, if you’re used to getting $40 oil changes, the maintenance benefits aren’t quite as clear and you’ll want to consider other aspects of the program to see if it’s worth it to you.
The consensus on Jeep-centric forums seems to be that the Jeep Wave Program might not be worth it if you have to pay for it. But keep in mind that model-specific car forums tend to attract a lot of enthusiasts who are likely to perform routine maintenance themselves. You can do a lot of oil changes and tire rotations for $150 if you aren’t paying for labor. Regular people who farm out their car maintenance will automatically get a larger benefit from the program than people who want to do it themselves.
The bottom line is that, as with any vehicle service contract, you’ll want to run your own numbers. If the money you spend on oil changes and tire rotations is more than $150 per year, then the program’s automatically worth it. If the money you spend on oil changes and tire rotations is less than $150 per year because you don’t get your oil changed or your tires rotated, the program’s almost certainly worth it just for that psychological nudge that will get you into the dealership for maintenance so you don’t miss out on benefits you paid for! Engines don’t do well without proper maintenance!
For everyone else, you’ll need to consider the other benefits of the program and whether or not they’re enough to make a Jeep Wave membership attractive to you. As we always suggest when we’re talking about extended warranties, service contracts, maintenance agreements, and other post-sale add-ons, ask for a copy of the contract you’ll be signing and read it carefully to make sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting in exchange for your money.
The Jeep Wave Loyalty Program isn’t ideal for everyone. Depending on the year of your Jeep and the modifications you have on your baby, you may find yourself wanting to shop around. There are many options for coverage and extended warranties for your vehicle, regardless of the make and model. See Car Talk’s Golden Wrench Awards for Best Extended Warranty Companies to help you make your decisions.
3 years of oil changes and tire rotations, plus an unlimited mileage extension on the factory warranty. There are several other ancillary benefits as well, including trip interruption insurance and access to discounts at various businesses.
It is if it will definitely save you money. Even if it won’t, if you’re a “peace-of-mind” person, or someone who isn’t good about getting routine maintenance performed, the coverage might be worth the expense, or you might find value in some of the other benefits the program offers.
It’s free for select 2020, and all 2021 model year Jeeps. Other Jeeps that are model year 2015 and newer will cost money if you want to enroll.
Currently, 3 years, which is an increase over the 2 years it used to cover.
It’s tradition, man! Part of owning an iconic car is the automatic camaraderie you get from other owners of the same vehicle. Jeep doesn’t have a corner on the wave market, but it is the only brand we’re aware of to have enshrined its wave into a service contract program. Read more on the Jeep Wave here.
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