The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the oldest mid-size SUVs still on the market. Like every vehicle, the Grand Cherokee also has problems. Read this post up to the end and find out the common faults of the Jeep Grand Cherokee .
Despite its age, it remains a contender in its segment thanks to its superior off-road performance and improved reliability. Earlier-generation models are also able to hold their resale value quite well, outperforming rivals like the Ford Explorer.
How good are the Jeep Grand Cherokees?
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is considered average in terms of reliability . Although it is considered more reliable than previous generations, the reliability of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee has been rated only slightly above average. However, it fared better in first-time consumer surveys.
Despite its age, it remains a good contender in its segment thanks to its superior off-road performance and reliability. Earlier-generation models are also able to hold their resale value quite well, outperforming rivals like the Ford Explorer.
Drivers who own the model gave it an average score of 83 out of 100 for the same criteria. Approximately 54% of surveyed vehicle owners identified quality and reliability as their top considerations when purchasing a Grand Cherokee.
Common Jeep Grand Cherokee Failures
Despite performance and reliability, the Grand Cherokee remains one of Jeep’s most problematic models due to electrical issues that plagued its early years.
There are common issues related to the Jeep Grand Cherokee that involve erratic electronic shifting, engine stalling while driving, alternator failure, and ignition switch malfunction.
Below are the common failures of the Jeep Grand Cherokee:
1- Faults in the alternator
Jeep Grand Cherokee starting problems can also be attributed to a failed alternator. In some cases, the alternator is simply shorted and the problem can be easily fixed. However, 2012 to 2014 model years may be equipped with a faulty alternator that can catch fire while the vehicle is being driven.
Owners of affected vehicles complained of groaning noises, smoke, and burning odors emanating from under their hoods. This is a problem that should not be taken lightly. A damaged alternator is a significant safety risk, as it can be difficult for drivers or their passengers to detect electrical fire from inside the cab. Vehicles driven in this state can shut down on the road without warning and cause an accident.
Alternator failure will cause a power drop in the electrical system and force the shutdown of critical vehicle systems. This may disable the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) , Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system, Electronic Control Module (ECM) and/or Central Body Controller (CBC). FCA subsequently issued a recall citing the need for these vehicles to receive an alternator replacement.
2- Engine problems
One of the most reported common Jeep Grand Cherokee failures in general has been that the 2011 Grand Cherokee has a TIPM ( Totally Integrated Power Module ) that goes bad, causing the engine to not start or be hard to start.
Several owners had this problem. The 2011 model year has 10 times as many Grand Cherokee won’t start complaints than the 2010 model year — enough to prompt a class action lawsuit. Complaints then dropped by 80 percent for the following model year.
3- Erratic electronic change
In 2016, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) issued a Jeep Grand Cherokee recall for approximately 32,000 units in the United States to address reported transmission issues.
A faulty transmission shift interlock solenoid was causing vehicles to get stuck in “ park ” or “ neutral ” despite changing gear. The malfunction was due to a manufacturing error that caused the part to have a loose electrical connection.
The 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees also suffered from similar transmission problems. The root cause was later identified as a design flaw in the gear lever, which made it difficult for drivers to confirm that the vehicle had been put into park.
Problems with the model’s electronic shifting led to multiple incidents where the vehicle rolled after the driver got out. In some cases, this problem even led to personal injuries as a result of the Jeep falling or running after it.
4- Defective ignition switch
The 2005-2007 models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee were among the 800,000 vehicles that were recalled by FCA due to a faulty ignition switch . The ignition key was found to switch to the ” off ” or ” accessories ” position at the slightest contact with the driver’s knee while the vehicles were running. Many units of this model were affected by this problem.
Driving with a faulty ignition switch can prevent the vehicle’s airbags, power steering, and power brakes from functioning. Some vehicle owners reported that the engine would die while driving at highway speeds and they would lose control of their vehicle while completing a turn.
The manufacturer warned drivers to exercise caution and avoid contact with the key until the ignition switch is replaced.
5- Leather dashboard problems
One of the common major Jeep Grand Cherokee issues or failures plaguing the 2011 model, brought in by multiple owners, was the leather dashboard bubbling or wrinkling .
While this is a cosmetic issue, owners have described how awful it made their Grand Cherokees look. The problem started to occur at around 60,200 miles on average and it’s a bit expensive.
6- Failure in the headlights
On newer versions of the Grand Cherokee the headlights have Zenon lights. Headlights are prone to damage, and bulbs can break in the process. Zenon bulbs are more expensive than normal headlight bulbs. You will need to replace the broken bulbs to get the headlights working again.
7- Starting problems
The starter relay in the fuse box is known to fail on this vehicle , which in turn causes starting problems. It tends to be another of the common Jeep Grand Cherokee failures. If you hear a clicking noise when you try to start your vehicle, this is the most likely cause. You will need to replace the starter relay to fix the problem.
8- Failure in the brake caliper
Brake caliper pins are prone to failure on the Grand Cherokee. If they are broken, you will hear a clicking noise from the front wheels when you apply the brakes. Broken pins will be the most likely cause.
There was a recall in 2008 for a problem with the brake calipers, so see if your vehicle qualifies for this free repair. If not, you will need to replace the pins to resolve the issue.
9- Breakage of the springs (shock absorbers) of the suspension
The Grand Cherokee is a very heavy vehicle and the front springs are notorious for breaking. If you hear a knocking noise coming from the front wheel area when you hit the brakes, this could be the most likely cause. You may also hear this knocking noise when going over ditches or rough roads. To fix the problem, you will need to install replacement front springs.