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Jeep Cherokee Reliability and Common Problems

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The Jeep Cherokee is an SUV known for its impressive fuel economy and enhanced powertrain. It’s also a popular choice among drivers who enjoy going on off-road adventures. But just like any other vehicle, it’s far from perfect. If you drive a Cherokee, it’s good to learn about the common issues you may encounter as it racks up mileage.

Is the Jeep Cherokee Reliable?

Jeep Cherokee White variant
The Jeep Cherokee is an SUV known for its impressive fuel economy and enhanced powertrain.

The Jeep Cherokee has received low to average reliability scores over the years. Consumer Reports gave the 2019 model a disappointing 2 out of 5, ranking it 26th out of the 27 SUVs in its segment. Other websites like RepairPal gave it higher scores because its average cost to repair and maintain is lower compared to other vehicles in its class.

Top Jeep Cherokee Problems

Several issues have made an impact on the Cherokee’s reliability over the years. Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems that owners have encountered in different model years.

Engine Stalling

Despite the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s fresh look and convenience updates, its engine may suddenly shut down while the vehicle is in motion. In some cases, drivers only narrowly missed causing a serious collision as their engines stalled in traffic.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude
Despite the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee’s fresh look and convenience updates, it has its share of problems. For instance, some people have reported the engine suddenly shutting down while the vehicle is in motion.

According to CarComplaints.com, the problem is likely linked to the Cherokee’s defective 9-speed transmission. Hard shifting, lurching, and wiring harness defects may cause engine stall or a sudden shift to neutral. Owners of this model year report that the issue became apparent at around 7,350 miles.

Transmission Problems

While the fifth generation (2014-2020) of the Jeep Cherokee is known for its transmission problems, the 2014 and 2015 models are said to be the most problematic.

These models suffer from stuck gears, poor throttle response, and rough coasting. There were also incidents of delayed downshifting and erratic behavior that caused Jeeps to switch between gears unexpectedly. Complete transmission failure has also been reported as early as 70,000 miles.

Owners have linked these problems to the model’s ZF 9-speed automatic transmission. Originally intended as an upgrade for the new generation, it instead became the source of thousands of complaints from drivers of the 2014 Cherokee.

The manufacturer of the ZF 9-speed transmission claims that the problems aren’t mechanical in nature. They insist that these issues are merely caused by a software glitch. However, multiple software updates haven’t fully resolved the transmission issues in most Cherokees.

Transmission-related Recalls

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), Chrysler (FCA US LLC) has recalled certain 2014 Jeep Cherokee models because of a stuck transmission clutch. This problem may cause your transmission to shift to neutral unexpectedly, compromising your safety on the road. Jeep dealers updated the transmission software to resolve the issue.

Another recall was issued by Chrysler in late 2018 involving about 86,053 units of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee equipped with 2.4L engines. According to the NHTSA, the transmissions on these units were improperly calibrated, causing the engine to stall. To solve the issue, dealers needed to re-flash the transmission controller with new calibration.

Backup Sensor Alarm Malfunction

Aside from transmission issues, there were also complaints regarding the 2015 Jeep Cherokee’s backup sensor alarm. Several owners have reported that it would beep unexpectedly and wouldn’t stop until the engine has been turned off for a while.

Jeep Cherokee 2015 Side View
Aside from transmission issues, there were also complaints regarding the 2015 Jeep Cherokee’s backup sensor alarm.

This issue isn’t exclusive to Cherokees. Other Jeep models have had similar problems with their backup sensor alarm. In most cases, leaving the vehicle parked for a while resolved the problem. If your vehicle continues to have problems with this alarm, take it to a mechanic right away for proper diagnosis.

Faulty Liftgate

Several 2014 Jeep Cherokee owners have complained about a malfunctioning electric liftgate, which would make an unusual noise while it operates or completely fail to latch.

Aside from being a safety hazard, a malfunctioning liftgate can also drain your vehicle’s battery. Some owners have failed to fix the issue despite replacing the faulty electric latch. It’s best to take your Cherokee to a mechanic right away once you notice any signs of liftgate malfunction.  

Warped Front Brake Rotors

Older Jeep Cherokee models have had fewer issues overall. However, there are a few brake problems listed for various model years. For instance, some 1998-2001 Jeep Cherokees suffer from excessive vibration when braking. According to RepairPal, this may be caused by warped front brake rotors.

brake disc in white background
Have your Jeep checked by a mechanic right away, and get a high-quality brake replacement as needed.

Needless to say, any issue involving your brakes shouldn’t be taken lightly. Have your Jeep checked by a mechanic right away, and get a high-quality brake replacement as needed.

The Cherokee is far from perfect, but it remains one of the most popular off-road SUVs on the market. By knowing the common problems to expect for different model years, you can stay on top of maintenance and repairs that’ll maximize the service life of your Jeep.

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