Should You Buy a Used Jeep Wrangler? [Ask TFL]

[photo: FCA]

We get a bunch of questions sent to us here at TFLcar. Today we received a question about buying a used Jeep Wrangler that spurred quite the conversation in our office. The question reads as follows:

Hi Guys,

First, love your show(s) – TV is so bad these days, we end up watching TFL shows more often than any other show – you guys just do not have enough content!

Anyway, we find Jeep wranglers perplexing.  They are pretty expensive new, but the fact remains, they are nearly just as expensive USED.

My question to you guys is do you know at which point you are better off buying new vs a used one.
Here is a great example. There is this Canyonland Jeep rental company in Moab, Utah and they sell their jeeps after 18 months of VERY hard use and approx. 25k miles (6 days a week as rentals going on the back roads of Moab). They sell them for ~$25-28k. They are 18 months old, the Unlimited model, automatics, A/C, hard tops with no other features. They ARE raised 2.5″ with 33″ wheels on them and a lift kit by some known brand, but that is about it.

We got ourselves on a list to be contacted if they decided to sell one of their rental vehicles.
But the fact is, at say 28k or so, that isn’t a ton less than a new one without the lift kit, and you can do the lift kit yourself later.

My wife and I’ve gone in circles trying to figure this stuff out.  On the one hand you want to save some money, but in the case of these [Moab] Jeeps, they are VERY, VERY used.  On the other hand, you go and try to find a used one, and unless you get a REALLY used one, they are not much cheaper than just buying a new one, which, makes absolutely no sense at all.

SO what am I asking you? I am asking where do you think the point of buying used is just not worth it and to buy new for a Jeep Wrangler. ‘Cause from where we sit, saving, say 2-3k, from a new one is not much in savings, ’cause you get a warranty and you know how the vehicle is going to be used vs having a vehicle that is used and probably beaten up.


Awesome question Steve, thanks for sending it in and thanks for the compliments. So, when is it worth it to buy a Jeep used, and when is it better to just bite the bullet and buy a new Wrangler? I might get some backlash on this, but I would say it is effectively never worth buying a current generation Jeep used. Here’s why:


Like you pointed out, a Jeep Wrangler is a off-road vehicle that will have seen extremely heavy use in many cases. You have no idea where that Jeep has been and what the previous owner has put it through. Tommy, our biggest Jeep fan in the office, said that those Moab Jeeps might as well be lit on fire because of how much use they have seen.

[Photo: TFL]


Price is the other point you brought up, and it is another reason why you should just buy new. The difference in price is so minimal, I see no reason why you should give up all that piece of mind and security in reliability for a mere $3K. The current JK version just holds its value too well to make the used purchase viable from a cost-savings point of view.

new hampshire mount washington jeep wrangler rubicon mmusa motor mountain usa
[Photo: TFL]


My recommendation? Buy a new one, mod it how you want, and drive off into the sunset knowing exactly what that car has been through. Plus, if anything does break you can just take it to the dealership and have it fixed under warranty.


So, there is one other option… We know from our plethora spy shots and other sources that the new Wrangler is arriving soon, possibly at the LA Auto Show. Traditionally, when a new car is introduced, the previous generation tends to go on sale for a significantly discounted price. We obviously aren’t capable of predicting market trends, but it could be a fair guess to say that the current generation JK models will sell for a bit less after the new model comes out. If the prices do fall, you could find yourself in a proven model for a good price rather than the brand new Jeep for full MSRP. Again, this is complete speculation. But, a significant face-lift like this does have a tendency to drop prices for the previous model.

Thanks again, Steve, for the good question! If you have any questions of your own, please be sure to send them in to We love the opportunity to connect with our viewers and welcome these sort of questions.

To see how the current Wrangler performs on one of Colorado’s more difficult trails, be sure to watch the video below: