January 2018 Update: Still going strong! Starting year three; no issues. Theres about 2k miles left on factory warranty. We will see how it goes. Every other car Ive had something to fix not long after expiration of factory warranty. The advantage of a Jeep is that if youre mechanically inclined you can do a lot of work yourself, with the exception of major engine/transmission work. Ive already decided though if the 3.6L gas engine goes, were going diesel with the small Cummins 4 cylinder, but I fully expect the gas motor to go its full service life with proper care. Our trip to run the trails in Gilmer, Texas this year was a success. What a difference the 2.5" lift and BFG Mud Terrain tires made!! The times before it was dry, but this year there were a couple mud bogs. The jeep, shod with the M/T tires, powered right through each obstacle. For the night run, the LED lights were awesome! It was like driving during the day. In fact they were so bright, the guy ahead of me in our group asked me to turn off the LED cubes because they were blinding him... so mission accomplished...the light are bright enough. One down side, the mud tires are very loud! At highway speed the hum became annoying on our two hour drive which made normal conversation a challenge. I really noticed how loud they were when I put the Goodyear highway tires back on. Also, since the Rubicon wheels and tires are larger/heavier I noticed the loss of a couple mpgs. We got about 17 mpg combined compared to usual 19 mpg, a significant reduction for a long trip, but not too bad for our 4-hour round trip. As expected, the M/Ts are great for their intended purpose, but not the best for daily driving... but as noted in the previous post, with the wheel spacers and lift kit, they give the jeep a mean stance. Like with so many things about a Jeep, its all about how you use the vehicle and how extreme you want to be with it. We'll see what the trail ahead brings... Jeep for Life! OIIIIIIIO Update 26K+ miles. Everything functioning s it should. No big trips this summer. I did have to add a bit of coolant to bring up the level, but nothing major. I just had my last free oi change at 25K miles. Going forward I think I will switch to full synthetic oil and stretch oil changes to 7500 miles. Running full synthetic it says you can go 10K miles between changes, but no sense in pushing it that far. At 7500 miles, consider my annual mileage, that will mean I only have to change oil twice a year, which isn't bad at all. I'm looking forward to another excursion at the Barnwell Moutain Recreational Area in Gilmer, TX for this year's American Cancer Society off road event. This year will be different with the 2.5" lift installed as well as the addition of LED halo headlights and a pair of LED cube lights. I got them via Amazon for about $250 for all the lights, wiring harness, and installation supplies. I soldered all connections then used shrink tubing to waterproof the connections and wrapped everything with good electrical tape. Maybe a little overkill, because it was a bit time consuming to wire and seal everything, but I don't want to worry about bad connections or moisture...ever! The LED headlights are a 200% improvement over stock. I think the 2018 Wranglers have factory LED headlights... about time guys! The latest addition is that I scored a set of 5 factory Rubicon wheels with BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires for $600 from a Jeep customizer that sells them as "take offs." That is a steal! The tires are basically new and are bigger and much more aggressive than the Goodyear Wrangler SR-A's. With the 1.5" wheel spacers I have on already, the Mud Terrains are going to look MEAN! I really wanted the tires, but getting the Rubicon wheels in mint condition was a bonus. Tires alone are about $200 each, and each wheel around the same, so I figure it I had to buy all that new it would be around $2000, so getting that for $600 was awesome! The lesson is you can find deals if you shop around. I just hope the bigger tires don't drag my fuel mileage down too much. I've gotten pretty used to getting 20/21 on the highway. Of course, now that I have two complete sets of tires, I can use the Goodyear's on the highway and save the BFG Mud Terrain for any wheeling I want to do. If it works out, I shouldn't have to buy tires again for quite some time... In the world of Jeep, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it's crazy to me that people are trading out their Rubicon wheels for something else. I suppose I can understand ditching the Sport wheels and tires, because the Goodyear SR-A isn't much of a tire for off road, but in my opinion the Rubicon wheels with BFG M/T are perfect. All I can say is if I can get them for $600 a complete set, I'd buy them every time. Anyhow, the adventure continues.... Jeep for Life.
I would recommend that you rent a Wrangler for a few days if you never driven one before. Driving a Wrangler is a bit different than driving a modern CUV, which is why I love it! I owned a 95 Wrangler that I loved, but unfortunately it was totaled and I could not afford a new one. The 2016 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara that I bought in May 2016 is worlds better. The ride is quite smooth, the power and acceleration is much improved, and the MPG is great considering the weight and its brick-like aerodynamics. When buying a new Jeep, I would recommend the Freedom Top, you get a quieter ride, improved security, and you can still take off the top in about 10 minutes. I bought an electric wench to lift off the rear portion of the top for the garage. Makes taking off the top a 1 man job and you have less of a chance of damaging the top.
Obviously, this is like no other vehicle in the world. Fuel economy, highway cruising, storage, practicality aren't the highpoints, nor does Jeep pretend them to be. The back seat is very uncomfortable - a hard flat back and small arm rest. This is my only complaint. I've already taken it into some serious mud and it only gets stuck if your bury it up to the frame. The recovery hook on the front, and someone to pull out resolves this. I've been pleasantly surprised at the highway handling, noise level and comfort. I wasn't expecting it to cruise around like a Cadillac. The cool factor is all there too. I plan on letting my teenage kids drive it and they are pretty stoked for spring & summer. I have the manual and it's got plenty of power.
When I went for this purchase I knew what would work for me from my previous purchases. I went for the Unlimited Sport with the S package and automatic. My previous Jeep was a 15 Sahara Unlimited, It had a stiff suspension, 18 inch wheels that the dealership had a tough time with one sided balancing. I thought it was Wranglers luxury model, Its ride was a disappointment. The 430 Nav Stereo was a disappointment. It might have been better with the speaker upgrade. On my new Jeep the ride is nice, It has the 17 inch wheels and softer suspension. The biggest surprise is the headliner in the 3 piece Hardtop, It really quiets the interior. The base stereo with sat radio sounds great. When I was dealing with a stereo shop with my Sahara To improve the sound, the tech said to always go with the standard stereo and put your own stereo in. But I do not think I will need one. I added the Sahara sidesteps, they really protect the side paint. I went for the automatic because I live in a big city, and rush hour can get real old . I went for the 3.21 rear end for better gas mileage. I added Trac-Loc so one day when somebody wanted to do some serious off roading, they could. If you are mainly a street driver, opt for the Unlimited Sport . It takes a few thousand miles for everything to smooth out and break-in. I purchased a black one,so everything blends in, including the painted pieces in the interior. I ordered the Sahara bumper appliques front and rear in Billet Silver which should add some nice contrast with the black paint for $174. including tax from the dealer. The engine and transmission are so smooth. I love that it is a convertible, 4x4,and utility, or tow vehicle, so flexible. I love the way it drives. The Unlimited is not as squirelly as the 2 door, and has better safety ratings. I think I should have ordered the optional side airbags, maybe on the next one. I do not know how they would work out if you were doing serious off roading.
I'm new to jeep. I commute over 120 miles per day and although I was aware of the mpg average of 19-20 hwy, I really needed the 4wd for winter and the top off for summer. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. 5,000 miles in and I haven't had a single mechanical failure. I will say that the base speaker are beyond horrible, and the speaker bar sucks also. The wind noise at high speeds are to be expected with a vehicle that basically strips down to nothing in a matter of moments. The plastic interior doors can become a problem for long distance drives depending on driving position. Other than that, It's a total blast and I can't wait till summer!