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I'm currently in the market for a lightly used car. Obviously I'm looking at a Jeep Wrangler. More precisely, I'm concentrating on an Unlimited (four doors). I hear a lot of conflicting opinions on the Wrangler line so I thought this would be a good place to ask questions.

I'm always hearing that Jeeps are a lousy ride (obviously the haters). I recently test drove a 2007 Unlimited X. I drove around town and also hit the interstate. It didn't handle like a sports car but it isn't supposed to. I certainly didn't notice anything that would scare me off. I reached an interstate speed of 75 mph and felt comfortable with it. The road noise wasn't any worse than the Chrysler Sebring Convertible that I had. In short, the only reason I didn't buy it is because the dealer played me with an empty promise of an 'out the door' figure that changed drastically after the test drive.

I figured I would use the ample time I now have to ask some questions. First, I would like to say that this will be more of a daily driver and less of an off road vehicle. Currently 13K is what I have to spend so most of the model years are around 2007 or older. I should also clarify that I'm in Florida.


In no particular order:
Q1) If anybody out there regrets their purchase; why? Please keep your reasons specific to the car (Wrangler) and not the dealer or buying experience.

Q2) What do you like about the Wrangler?

Q3) What should I pay the most attention to when looking the vehicle over? I have a mechanic who said he would perform an inspection [for a price]. What should I be looking for when I'm on the lot? I don't want to waste money on my mechanic when I can spot things on my own.

Q4) What's better, a hard top or soft top? What are some of the specifics to look at for either? I've noticed that sometimes the soft tops look 'saggy' and not as tight. What is the average price for a soft top replacement?

Q5) The salesman mentioned that one of the reasons Wranglers sometimes have poor drive-ability is because of user modifications; particularly jeeps with non-standard tires and/or lift kits. Is this accurate? I'm more than happy to stay away from lifted vehicles. I just want to know if this is really a factor.

Q6) Will the Wrangler make me a 'chick magnet'?

I'll probably edit this post as more questions arise. Thanks everybody.
 

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First of all, :welcome: to the forum!

Based on your price range, I moved your thread to the TJ section. You should get more responses here.

Good luck!
 

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not sure why your thread was moved here because if you’re looking for a 4 door you won’t find one here, the closest you’ll get is the TJ version of the ‘unlimited’ which is an LJ, longer but still only 2 doors, and I’m also afraid you’re probably not going to find a ‘lightly used’ LJ for 13k, not a nice one anyway.

Oh, one other thing, stay away from 'salesmen', they usually don't know their ass from their elbow when it comes to Jeeps. Read Read Read this forum and you'll become an expert as to what to look for
 

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I would think this is exactly right forum for where this gentleman is going to find opinions on 4 door Wranglers unless I'm missing something?
 

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I would think this is exactly right forum for where this gentleman is going to find opinions on 4 door Wranglers unless I'm missing something?
The prior comment was from the TJ section, I moved the thread back to the JK section since OP said he is looking for a 4-door.
 

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I too was looking for a Wrangler, 2 door in my case for around the same money. Yes, I wanted something that had not been modified, or heavily off roaded. It took me some time, however, just over a week ago I finally found a very clean 2008 Wrangler Sahara. I found that I preferred the 3 piece hardtop over the canvas. I did have to make some concessions to find one for the price I wanted to pay $12000 - $13000. One being high mileage, the 08 I purchased has 136500 miles, however, I was impressed on how clean it is and how it rides and handles. The other concession I made was that it had been in an accident.

I looked over the auto history report, checked the Jeep in the area it was hit, found no trace of an damage on the undercarriage, if fact found no trace of damage anywhere near where it was hit. One thing that was really handy was that the dealer had the Jeep on a 5' stand in front of the dealership so I could look under it and examine every area closely.

Like I mentioned, I have had the jeep for just over a week and no surprises. In fact I keep saying to my wife, "I am surprised on how much I like the Wrangler". It is very difficult to find a clean Wrangle of any age at what would be considered a fair price. I hesitated on two others prior picking up the 08, that were both a bit younger, less options (no power windows or locks) but around the same mileage. When I went back to look at them a second time they were gone.

I hope you find that perfect JKU you are looking for, persistence helps and if possible stay within your budget, dealers hate to see money walk out the door.
 

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Q1) If anybody out there regrets their purchase; why?
I only regret that I didn't wait to get the color I wanted.

Q2) What do you like about the Wrangler?
It's an iconic open top vehicle that can also off-road.

Q3) What should I pay the most attention to when looking the vehicle over?
If it's an automatic, check the ATF for dark color or burned smell. Look underneath for rust and rock damage. Feel the carpets everywhere to look for water leaks, and also open up the little storage compartment in the back to check for water there too.

Q4) What's better, a hard top or soft top? What are some of the specifics to look at for either? I've noticed that sometimes the soft tops look 'saggy' and not as tight. What is the average price for a soft top replacement?
Preference. Around Portland where it rains a lot, I mostly see hard tops. I run my hard top in the winter, and I just got a soft top for summer. I really like the open-air feel, but the hard top is a PIA to take off and put on since I have to round up a family member to help. The soft top has the advantage that even when I'm not home, I can deploy it when it rains.

The hard top is quieter and tends to leak less (though both can leak). You also may not want to lock your doors with a soft top, because anyone who wants in can just slash a window or the fabric.

I bet there are plenty of JKs driving around that have never had the hard top off. If you use your JK as a daily driver, you will likely find the hard top more practical (quiet and secure). And you can easily pop the Freedom panels out and toss 'em in the back when it's time for some air. But if you often want to go fully open-air somewhere where it rains, a soft top will let you do that a lot more easily.

Soft tops range from about $600 (I got mine on sale for $500
) for a "bikini" or "safari" or "trail" or "frameless" top that doesn't fold all the way down like the factory soft top (the side and rear windows can still be removed). When you want one that folds all the way down, you're looking at $1500 to $2000 for the complete kit. The actual fabric and windows are more like $200-500, but you also need the mounting hardware (which is $$$) to make it work.

Q5) The salesman mentioned that one of the reasons Wranglers sometimes have poor drive-ability is because of user modifications; particularly jeeps with non-standard tires and/or lift kits. Is this accurate?
A properly installed lift kit does not cause these problems, but yes -- when improperly done, driveability does indeed suffer. They become unstable on the highway and unsafe when hitting bumps/potholes.

Q6) Will the Wrangler make me a 'chick magnet'?
I certainly turn heads and get smiles when I'm topless and doorless and the music is on. :D
 

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The first thing you need to understand is that your expectations will probably not be met at your current price point. I know someone who wanted a four door and started out with a $10k budget. His budget kept increasing in $5k increments. He finally settled on a two door for $25k.
 

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Absolutely no regrets, I'll never drive anything else, I love my Wrangler.

It's Iconic shape, you know what it is. Can take the tops off, off road, so many aftermarket accessories.

Even though you are looking at pre-owned, have an idea/know what the options were. Side airbags were an option. I factory ordered and when I was in the waiting room/thread with the others who ordered not many knew it was an option. I built my dream Jeep with all the options I wanted and then dwindled the list with what I wanted factory ordered vs aftermarket, heated seats, side airbags, remote start were factory ordered. Trailer hitch, hardtop insulation ($500 factory ordered $200 to $279 after market), soft top, etc.

I went with a hard top, I would have worried about the soft top being cut and if I really wanted a soft top there are so many aftermarket options.

poor driveability, see death wobble

Only chicks that don't care about Jeep hair.
 

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I really got lucky when I purchased my Jeep, used '08 wrangler Sahara w/136K miles. It came with many of the same options you listed, first and for most I wanted power locks and windows, it also has side air bags, insulation, hardtop, and the tow package. These things my be standard on the Sahara, being new to the Jeep family I am not sure.
 

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My only regret is not being able to drive it on salty streets. My 09 now has 25K miles on it in the 4 seasons I've had it. My Darling Bride and I had problems because of my impulsive purchase of it and that was my concession to her. It was show room/car show quality with 2453 miles on it in spring 2016
April 1st it comes outta quarantine and I'll have a GIANT smile on my face until fall
 

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If JK Wranglers were as terrible as some people claim I seriously doubt they'd have one of the BEST resale value out there. It's certainly not because there's a shortage so they are very much in demand. Yes they have some issues but I've yet to own almost any vehicle that didn't have certain issues. I love my 2016 and it's my favorite vehicle to drive over my new F150 and vette.........

As for mods and suspension changes certainly if poorly done they can be a problem. But isn't that true for almost any after market modification? Mine has a 2.5 AEV lift and it now rides better then it ever did stock. My advice if you really have reservations get to a jeep dealer and take a few out and drive them.
 

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I purchased a used 2016 Wrangler JKU about 1 year ago. It's my daily driver, but I have taken it off road a few times. I have no regrets with my purchase and smile everytime I drive it. Soft top off on all sunny days in spring, summer, and fall. It is noisy, but with the radio blasting, I don't notice. Just put a 2" suspension lift on this past weekend and so far I love it. As for being a chick magnet, it's difficult for me to tell, I was one before I bought my Jeep.
 

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In no particular order:
Q1) If anybody out there regrets their purchase; why? Please keep your reasons specific to the car (Wrangler) and not the dealer or buying experience.
None, but then it is not my daily driver(was in the beginning), nor is it my highway cruiser(was in the beginning as a result of my daily drive at the time).
If your daily drive does not require a little over an hour at 75mph, likely none of this matters... surface streets, short bursts on the freeway, or simply running errands I grab the Wrangler keys every time. Going to be spending 40 minutes or more on the freeway/interstate... I grab the keys for my bare bones construction special F150.

Q2) What do you like about the Wrangler?
I bought mine soley because i like to get out in the back country, and, travel "trails" most would rather steer clear of. It's what's it's meant to do, and after tearing up a Cherokee (the real one, not the new style) I knew I needed body on frame, removal top/doors to keep body damage in check.
It excels at that.
What I did not realize, is that every time I get in the thing I feel like I could simply say frig it, and bug out... nor did I realize how much I would appreciate the upright seating position, and the resultant view of the road, and I was quite surprised at how liberating it was to drive something that felt so rudimentary and back to basics. Some call the relative lack of refinement a negative, quite frankly I call it a connection.

Q3) What should I pay the most attention to when looking the vehicle over? I have a mechanic who said he would perform an inspection [for a price]. What should I be looking for when I'm on the lot? I don't want to waste money on my mechanic when I can spot things on my own.
Sorry, cannot help with specifics, sounds like some good advice has been provided thus far.

Q4) What's better, a hard top or soft top? What are some of the specifics to look at for either? I've noticed that sometimes the soft tops look 'saggy' and not as tight. What is the average price for a soft top replacement?
Cannot see where you live, or what your storage options are... which would have a big impact on my advice... so I'll offer the following;
I have a hard top and it's a love hate relationship.
Love that it's quiet, that it's warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and is secure.
Hate that I have no place to store it (small yard, garage ceiling too low) and that it's too awkward for me to remove alone... even if I could remove it alone, I have no real place to store it.
I live in Phoenix AZ, and the jeep is not my daily driver, so to be honest having a hardtop is a PITA. Would much prefer a soft top.
Now, for a daily driver, that runs multiple errands while compiling essentials in the the vehicle at each stop, I cannot imagine wanting anything other than a hard top.

Q5) The salesman mentioned that one of the reasons Wranglers sometimes have poor drive-ability is because of user modifications; particularly jeeps with non-standard tires and/or lift kits. Is this accurate? I'm more than happy to stay away from lifted vehicles. I just want to know if this is really a factor.
The salesman is more right than wrong, especially considering your price point. Yes, a lifted Wrangler, even one that looks beaten to death and back can drive nicer/smoother/better than a stock one, but, that is not done on the cheap... and would be a very unlikely find at your price point.
Stick to bone stock rigs would be my advice... especially considering you are not interested in off roading, but, I'd have the same advice even if you were interested in getting dirty.

Q6) Will the Wrangler make me a 'chick magnet'?
Well, I'm 52 years old, bald with a grey beard, wear thick glasses, 5'-7" and 150lbs... and even i get winks/smiles and waves from attractive younger women... (when the Jeep is void of top and door)... even when my younger and attractive (IMO) wife is on board... she giggles and says, "I told you you've still got it"... LOL!
 
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My only regret is not getting into jeeps earlier in my life.
 
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