Do Jeep Cherokees Last Long? (Read This First!)

The Jeep Cherokee is a long-standing favorite in the world of compact SUVs and in fact one of America’s most iconic SUV brands.

The Cherokee has enjoyed consistent popularity within the US, often selling more than 200,000 units a year.

It is fairly popular among affluent Europeans, but not always favored there because of its low gas mileage.

This article answers the question “Do Jeep Cherokees Last Long?”…

Do Jeep Cherokees Last Long?

Although Jeep Cherokees do have several well-known reliability issues, they are nonetheless a car that can last for up to 300,000 miles.

There will certainly be some key maintenance to do along the way to 300,000 miles and possibly beyond, but if cared for, and kept away from potentially damaging conditions, nothing can stop the Cherokee from serving you for 20 or more years.

Is The Jeep Cherokee Reliable?

With the Jeep Cherokee having so many model years, there has been a very mixed bag in terms of reliability.

In the modern context and with the current generation, it is fair to say that the Jeep Cherokee is a reliable SUV.

Though it doesn’t stack up as well against some competitors, particularly against Japanese brands, it is nonetheless a very reliable car providing you choose the more ideal model years.

The general rule of thumb is that earlier model years are less reliable. The optimum years are the later model years from 2017 to 2021.

Within the fifth-generation model, it is best to avoid model years 2014-2016 because they have been very frequently complained about.

Main Reliability Issues With The Jeep Cherokee

  • Oil consumption in the 2.4L Tigershark engine
  • Emissions on the 2.4L Tigershark engine
  • Outside hacks into uConnect
  • Random deployment of AHR (active head restraints)
  • Transmission problems
  • The “Death Wobble” – front axle oscillates causing the car to wobble and feel harder to control

Does The Jeep Cherokee Last Longer Than Its Competitors?

No, it doesn’t. While the Jeep Cherokee can last up to 300,000 miles, reaching that milestone is hardly a guarantee.

The Jeep Cherokee competes with many other SUVs in the compact/crossover SUV category.

Among its competitors are vehicle brands that are renowned for greater reliability, especially the Asian brands such as Toyota (e.g., Rav4) and Honda.

All of these offer better reliability ratings and better warranties on their vehicles.

If the Jeep Cherokee is properly maintained, however, and the owner is committed to making major repairs as well as minor repairs, then a Jeep Cherokee will make it to the higher mileage levels, too.

What Typically Breaks First In A Jeep Cherokee?

Unfortunately, it’s the engine that seems to suffer first in the Jeep Cherokee.

If the Jeep Cherokee in question is loaded up with a 2.4L Tigershark engine, then the first problems it will have are excessive oil consumption which causes the engine to seize up and stall.

Some Tigershark engines were also involved in a recall because it was discovered that their emissions were far in excess of what they should have been.

Another unfortunate victim of the Jeep Cherokee problems list is the transmission.

This is doubly unfortunate because the transmission is so problematic and expensive to repair and fix.

Both the Jeep Cherokee and Renegade were making use of a 9-speed transmission, the ZF Friedrichshafen Group one to be precise.

It has been improved in later models, but in models from 2014 to 2016, the Cherokee was once again involved in a recall connected to problems with this transmission.

How Long Does The Gearbox Last?

The transmission is supposed to last until about 200,000 miles, but it’s quite likely, especially if it’s a model from 2014 to 2016 that it won’t make it that far and you’ll have to get it either heavily refurbished or replaced altogether with a later version.

The bad news is that a new transmission would set you back $3,500.

The good news is that basic maintenance (not repairs) such as transmission fluid flushing and whatnot is more affordable at $150 per job on average.

What Are The Biggest Common Problems In A Cherokee?

There have been six problems that have defined the negative side of the Jeep Cherokee, especially in the fifth-generation models from 2014 onwards.

Excessive Oil Consumption

The first one is to do with excessive oil consumption in the 2.4L Tigershark engine.

This was caused by a defect in the engine that saw owners topping off their oil reserve far more frequently than was normal for any modern vehicle. It was caused by defective control rings.

Excessive Emissions

The second problem was to do with excessive emissions and actually was not unique to the Jeep Cherokee.

The problem was detected on the second-generation Compass and the first-generation Renegade. In the end, it was repaired with a recall.

uConnect System Hacked

A quite unique and modern problem with the Jeep Cherokee was found in its uConnect system, which was being hacked.

The hackers gained alarming access to the car’s GPS data and could even mess with the radio and infotainment.

Most frightening of all was they could take over the steering of the vehicle or even kill the engine. The problem was fixed with a software patch.

Head Restraints

Another common issue is with the active head restraints. They have been suffering from mechanical problems that cause them to deploy at random.

This can have very serious consequences, including inflicting a concussion on the driver or passenger.

What was more disturbing about the AHR fault was that it was caused by simple mechanical parts, ones that should have been well-honed, strong, and made with a wealth of knowledge and experience, rather than some experimental new technology.

The mechanical problem was eventually repaired.

The Transmission

The transmission in the Jeep Cherokee could sometimes suffer from a sudden shutdown and would suddenly shift into neutral.

It could also, at times, would lurch through the gears with no finesse, causing a rough ride in the vehicle.

The issues were caused by a crimping issue with connectors located on the sensor cluster, and it was fixed with yet another recall.

The “Death Wobble”

Finally, there was an issue known as the “death wobble” which was caused by poor alignment, weakened ball joints, or a loose steering stabilizer bar.

The wobble was among the most disconcerting problems because it caused quite violent oscillations of the front axle, which rendered the Jeep Cherokee harder to control.

What Is The Highest Mileage Recorded In A Cherokee?

The world’s highest-ever mileage recorded on a Cherokee was a Jeep Cherokee Pioneer from the 1988 model year that clocked up 612,000 miles by 2011.

Amazingly, it still has its original carpets and upholstery but has certainly had some mechanical replacements including the transmission.

A life of 612,000 from 1988 to 2011 is mighty impressive, though.

What Is The Best Year To Buy A Used One?

First, there are some definite model years to avoid, especially the 2014 and 2015 Jeep Cherokee.

Regardless of price or mileage, these are two you should avoid unless all the mechanics have been replaced and upgraded.

The 2014 and 2015 models were the two most complained about model years ever for the Jeep Cherokee.

The best model years to buy are 2018-2020 in terms of quality, but these will inevitably come with a higher price tag.

On balance, however, they’ll also come with more features and nicer styling.

In terms of depreciation, the Jeep Cherokee depreciates most steeply in its first year but then enjoys a fairly gradual decline.

Therefore, an ideal model for a used vehicle would be one of at least 5 years of age, but just steer totally clear of 2014 and 2015 as model years.

In terms of mileage, the ideal mileage to buy would be anything under 100,000 miles.

This ensures the maximum chance that all mechanical elements within the Jeep Cherokee are in optimum condition.

How Much Is A New Cherokee?

The 2021 Jeep Cherokee is available in 9 trim levels, each with a different starting MSRP. They are as follows:

  • Latitude – $27,455
  • Freedom – $28,405
  • Latitude Plus – $29,525
  • Altitude – $30,965
  • Latitude Lux – $30,875
  • 80th Anniversary – $33,055
  • Limited – $35,030
  • Trailhawk – $36,330

How Much Does It Depreciate?

The Jeep Cherokee will depreciate by about 32 percent after its first year, leaving it with just over 68 percent of its residual value.

Following that, it loses about 4-7 percent of its value each year. By the end of year 5, it had lost 53 percent of its value. After 10 years, it retains just 34.17% of its original value.

The first-year depreciation is the steepest, but after that it’s a fairly gradual fall in value.