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Lesliern72 10-25-2008 08:15 PM

Newbie seeking advice on buying Wrangler-please...
Hello all! I posted a bit about myself in the new member I would appreciate it if I could pick all your brains for advice/information.

I'm looking to buy. I have narrowed my search criteria down considerably:
-Unlimited 2004-2006 (being a Mom of a 4 y/o I need the extra bit of space, but have no desire for a 4 door Jeep)
-Sunrider soft top only-no hard top.
-Solar yellow---this is where I have really narrowed my options. Since I've waited 12 years I figure I'll get exactly what I want.

The Jeep will be garaged and a mostly highway daily driver. But...there is always the potential for some light off-roading in the future when my F.I.L gets the 50-100 acres of hunting/play land he's been looking for in So. IN. I haven't been muddin' since I was a teenager but I remember it being a BLAST. I will buy the basic as a "starter" and go from there (never say never).

1. What are top things I need to consider/look when buying a used Jeep?
2. Mileage? I don't know the longevity of Jeeps in general. What is a safe mileage to start with-for my intended use (a few I've looked at have 50,000 miles).
3. Major $ problems to look for in/on the vehicle considering for purchase.
4. Questions (specific to Jeeps) to ask the dealer?
5. Warranties. I can't find what type of powertrain, rust, etc. came on the 2004-2006. Is it necessary to get an extended due to the potential wear from prior off-roading? I am typically against buying them, but am open to suggestions.
6.For a basic bare bones Jeep what is a must to have? What did you get that your glad you did-or wish you would have?

Did I miss anything?

Thanks for your help in advance!


jgano23 10-25-2008 08:31 PM

As far as the mileage goes i would look for under 50K, as low as possible is best. but jeeps tend to last forever. i've got a 1983 cj7 w/ 145k + miles w/ original engine / tranny etc., my husband had a 2000 tj with 120k + miles, it didn't die he just traded it in on a Commander, and I had a 1996 grand cherokee that had 209k + miles (no not a typo) it is still in working order but needs a new tranny. My dad towed a trailer w/ it for 160k miles before he gave it to me. then i drove it 30k miles in under a year so the tranny was really abused. so in conclusion jeeps have a good life span.

jgano23 10-25-2008 08:45 PM

i believe the warranties are: bumper to bumper 3 years/ 36,000mi & powertrain is either 7 years/70,000mi or 8 years/80,000mi. I have an '05 wrangler X w/ the 7/70K. as far as buying the extended warranty i would be careful. i know that purchasing an extended warranty in construction & landscape equipment is useless (i sell that stuff and when a customer asks about an exteneded warranty i advise against it). you spend a lot of extra money and nothing is ever covered. i'm not sure if it is the same with a vehicle so i would start a thread asking about that too.

Lesliern72 10-25-2008 09:10 PM

One I'm looking at...
I did find a 2004 unlimited with 51,000 miles for $12,888 on Autotrader (it's priced higher on the dealer site). I have compared it over and over again to others and can't seem to find one that compares to that price with the same basic specs.
But there's always, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" voice.

My budget is around $16,000. I won't be financing because I simply don't like having a car payment. I love the idea of getting what I want for $3000 less than I planned.

Concerns: Too many miles? Is it cheaper because there is something wrong? Comments? See any major red flags?

Bump up to newer, less miles, more bells and whistles and maxing my budget?
Pay less up front, get warranty if necessary, fix what's needed, and add on extras as necessary?

Here's the link to the one I'm looking at on the dealer website:

2004 Jeep Wrangler 3 Door SUV - Pre-Owned Inventory Details at Wagner Lincoln - Mercury - Your Fostoria, Ohio Lincoln Mercury dealer
What would you do?



jgano23 10-25-2008 09:23 PM

vehicles that do not get good gas mileage are not in demand right now. most dealers are trying to get rid of these types of vehicles. that is most likely the reason for the lop price. i know around me i hear dealers that are advertising up $13,000 off MSRP on pickup trucks and gas guzzlers just to get them off the lot. Equipment & auto dealers don't buy the stuff outright the have what is calles a floor plan. That means that they order the equipment or auto that they would like to sell and they have 1 year to sell/pay for them. if they dont sell them within these terms than they have to pay interest on them. the longer the item sits on the floor the less money they make. so when it gets to this point they just try to get rid of the item asap.

Lesliern72 10-25-2008 09:43 PM

Thanks jgano

I figured as much about the extended warranties. I have never bought one for anything because I have thought they were pretty useless.
If it did still have 20,000 left on the PT warranty I would feel better. That would give me a bit of a cushion against any major stress the previous owner did that could show up as a major expense shortly after I got it.


jgano23 10-26-2008 08:52 AM

if you want to know if the previous owner did any off-roading you can check the top of the skid plates and frame. if there is a lot of packed on dirt or sand then they might have. also check the skid plates for dents and scrapes that is a tell tail sign. and finally check the exhaust & engine compartment for baked on mud (i never thought about that one until i saw someone post it yesterday). ANd you can ask the dealer questions, but chances are they wont know. when i went to my jeep dealer to buy my first wrangler i asked the salesman what model of t-case and tranny it had and he looked at me like i had 6 heads. i had to crawl under and investigate myself, good thing it was on the showroom floor.

Lesliern72 10-26-2008 12:25 PM

The more I read y'alls off-roading experiences, the more it makes me want to get a Jeep with a little better capacity to go off-road. I mentioned it to my husband is actually discouraging me from getting one (stock or otherwise) and taking it off-road. He thinks it is way too hard on any vehicle, will cause too much damage needing repairs, and shorten the life of the vehicle.
This surprises me coming from him being that he is a former country boy who likes to hunt and play outdoors.

richp 10-26-2008 12:35 PM

That depends on how you play with it, you can beat the snot out of it by charging obstacles or lean how to outsmart them low and slow. Jeeps are pretty robust, simple to work on, reasonably priced parts. The most fun though is being able to just take a trail you find to see where it goes.
I would for sure go with an Unlimited, the TJ is just too small for all around use and as soon as you mention 'family' that cinches it. It's useless for shopping and while it comes in handy for bringing home a 5' tall balled christmas tree from the garden store in the winter with the top down thats about all I can think of that my cherokee or my wifes grand cherokee won't do. The two TJ's are pretty much just when I can carry my computer and networking stuff for smaller jobs or for service calls.

Lesliern72 10-26-2008 01:27 PM

Function or fashion?
Here's one being sold by a private seller on autotrader. It is pretty darn cheap for the mileage and add-ons.
He says it was never off-road. Maybe a lot of the mods are for bumpin' in da' hood?
I like the the lift and tires. But I wonder if they are for fashion rather than function?
I don't like any of the chrome and wonder what the cost would be to change to black. I am not too sure about the fender flares either.

Would a basic like this (without the "bling") be sufficient and sturdy enough for trail rides?

Cars For Sale: Car Details -

jgano23 10-26-2008 01:36 PM

it sounds pretty good. just check for the off roading signs i mentioned before. as for the bling you have a few options. 1. paint it yourself (this is pretty cheap and easy). 2. visit,, these places have TONS of aftermarket stuff. 3. check ebay, people always have used stuff for descent prices.

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