2018 Jeep Wrangler: Monthly Update for August 2019
by Dan Edmunds, Director, Vehicle Evaluation
August was quiet for our Jeep Wrangler, but it did cross one important milestone. The 1,142 miles that we added during the month brought the total up to 36,886 miles, and that means that its three-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is history. The powertrain warranty lives on until 60,000 miles, so at least the expensive bits are still covered.
I find this end-of-warranty business ironic because one of the reasons this month's mileage is so low is that it sat on the sidelines a couple of days while we gathered up parts to repair some unexplained parking lot damage to the bumper. The miles that we did drive came close to home, and the Jeep even sat idle at the airport for a few days.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Since no real road-tripping was involved this month, the mileage driven was mostly urban and suburban. It was all pretty much the normal stuff you'd expect of busy people doing the 9-to-5 grind and having no plans for the weekend.
The average measured fuel economy for those 1,142 miles was 17.1 mpg, which seems fairly respectable in light of the close-to-home driving pattern. That's slightly below the lifetime average of 17.7 mpg at which the Jeep was running when the month started, but the small number of miles that made up August weren't enough to depress the average. In the end, things finished where they began.
Average lifetime mpg: 17.7
EPA mpg rating: 20 combined (18 city/23 highway)
Best fill mpg: 24.6
Best range: 448.7 miles
Current odometer: 36,886 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
Early in the month, I noticed a missing piece near the rear bumper on the driver's side. The transition panel between the rear wheel arch and the bumper itself was gone, but the ragged edge left behind suggested it was torn away. Luckily, no paint was involved.
I ruled out self-inflicted off-road damage and a road debris strike after looking for witness marks on the Jeep itself (there were none) and quizzing other drivers. The forces involved in tearing this hunk loose would have made a horrific noise that would have been hard for occupants to miss.
The only plausible theory I have is that our Jeep was the victim of a parking lot incident that was not admitted to — or even noticed by — the offending motorist. I imagine someone backing out from the space to the left (or pulling in, I suppose), swinging wide and snagging the edge of the now-missing piece with the passenger-side front corner of the driver's bumper.
I acquired the necessary parts after a false start and some painful lessons learned that I'll delve into in another post. Once I gathered everything, it took no more than an hour to repair the damage myself under the shade of a tree in my driveway. For $100, it looks as good as new.
• Bumper repair parts: $95.24 for visible cover, support structure, nutserts, screws, clips
• Replacement parts: $110.97 to replace wheel locks and hardtop/door removal tool kit
"These new shocks seem to have brought the ride back to where it was when it was new. The wheel alignment seems to have nicely recentered the steering wheel, too. But as these tires get thin, they're getting louder. I don't think I want to wait until they get much closer to the wear bars before we replace them." — Dan Edmunds, director, vehicle evaluation
"I bought an extra-large folding dog crate to give Herman, our yellow lab, a bit more space. He prefers to sleep in his crate, and the old one is now too small. The Wrangler Unlimited's cargo space is decent-sized, but a lot of it is height. Its depth and width were not quite expansive enough to hold this item.
"So I folded the seat, and was instantly reminded of another JL improvement that I appreciate. The folding mechanism is easy to operate with one hand, and the seat bottom articulates down into a lower position in the same smooth motion so the resulting load floor is flat. I always knew that, but it's always nice to get a pleasant reminder." — Dan Edmunds
"When I went to buy the bumper parts, I asked a service technician about removing the old wheel locks with the missing key. They couldn't order me a new key because the code number for ours was missing along with the key itself. (Pro tip: Don't store them together.) I opted to buy a new set instead. They had a secret master removal set, and it was simply a matter of trying numerous ones until they found the right fit." — Dan Edmunds
Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing @ 36,866 miles