Buying a JK, need some help (Jeep newbie)

FriedaKroket

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Hye everyone,

Kinda new to this whole Jeep thing. I've been dreaming of a jeep for about 6 years now.
I'm 23 and finally have enough funds to buy a used JK and upgrade some parts if I like.

My question is, as a newbie,
- what do I look for when inspecting the used Jeep? What are things that are a big no-no when looking around ?
- what is considered too many 'miles' for a used jeep (as I still want to use it for years on).
- What mods are great to put on it after you've bought it? I was thinking about storage, the look of the JK, led lights, ..

Thanks a lot !
 
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BLACKJKU

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Just my opinion if your not into offroading and just want a daily driver don't buy one that's been offroading.

When figuring how many is to many miles figure how long you want to keep the Jeep and how many miles you think you'll put on the Jeep in a year.

You can put tons of money in these Jeeps it never ends, and there's tons of info on the internet on cheap things to make them yours.
 
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xackley

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When looking at the odometer, press and hold the trip reset button. It will display the hours the engine has run.
So
Miles/hours will let you know the average speed for the life of the jeep. Mine was 39.99 when I bought it, which let me know it spent most of its life on the highway, not in stop and go or trail. Mine also had highway tires and the bottom and body showed no sign of being off road.
As above, if has been modified, I would look elsewhere.
I would consider the jk I bought high mileage, 125000 miles, but it was really clean and I know I will never put more than a couple thousand mile in a year, and the price was adjusted correctly for that mileage.

You are in a Low Country, excuse my ignorance but how far and where would you have to go to find a road that needs 4 wheel drive. I think the wrangler is very good in snow, but have no idea what the winter is like in Belgium.

I guess what I am thinking about is how to decide on the tires you might want, I try to be realistic on how aggressive vs actual pavement time. Beware most of those youtube jeeps get trailered to a 4wd park and would be useless as a practical vehicle. The jeep as it came off the assembly line will handle 99% of any thing you will ever encounter, unless you go out looking to test its limits.

Don
 
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Chris

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- what do I look for when inspecting the used Jeep? What are things that are a big no-no when looking around ?
Hands down the number one thing to look for, is to inspect the underside of the Jeep thoroughly and look for any and all signs for rust. These things are very prone to rust, and if owned or driven in an area that uses salt on the roads, they will develop severe rust and rot out. You DO NOT want to buy a Jeep with rust unless you are ready to take-on a huge project, or you don't plan on owning it very long.

- what is considered too many 'miles' for a used jeep (as I still want to use it for years on).
Mileage doesn't matter. What does matter is how it was maintained. The smart thing to do is look for a JK that was very well kept and owned by someone who always garaged it and has an extensive set of maintenance records and receipts. That is the type of owner who took care of their vehicle.

- What mods are great to put on it after you've bought it? I was thinking about storage, the look of the JK, led lights, ..
It depends on what you want to do with it. Most people like to do something mild like a 2" lift and 33" tires.

My last piece of advice (and I can't stress this enough) is to look for a 2012-2018 JK. The earlier ones with the 3.8 engine are terrible. Having driven both extensively, I'm baffled that awful and underpowered 3.8 engine even made it into a Jeep to begin with. The 3.6 engine in the later model JKs is night and day better, and has nearly 100 HP more!
 

BLACKJKU

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I never really drove a stock 3.8 for but just a few miles so I wasn't really impressed with the power either.

But put a set of long tube headers/high flow cats and cat back exhaust on along with a Viper Throttle Body. A Hypertech Viper tune and Premium Fuel tune and a Pedal Commander it'll wake that sleepy 3.8 right up.
 
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Consider a private seller over a dealership. Because if the jeep has been run through the ringer or leased, these jeep owners have added and subtracted parts from the vehicle. In other words, are you willing to take on someone else mistakes?. As those who feel they are mechanics tend to do these installations themselves. Under carnage and engine compartment are your first areas to inspect. traces of mud in the engine compartment could mean this jeep has seen some off road, been used and abused. Lift up the carpeting.. check for rust etc. 100,000 k miles would be too much.

Have the shocks been upgraded or replaces as these can wear out or should be changed at the 50K mark. The list can go on so if you're new and unsure what to look for, best find someone who can help you look for that perfect jeep for you. Just remember, Not all used jeeps have been abused..
 

FloridaMan

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Get a 2012 or newer. Less than 80k miles. No tick noises from motor after its warmed up and decent drive. No under carriage damage or leaks. Buy a stock one. Modified ones usually have issues or incomplete builds which will give you a headache. Hard top is reliable. Soft top will give you issues and less security. Good luck on your search!
 
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BigDaddyinBigD

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When we bought our current JK, I was looking for some specific things:

Price < $15K - it’s primarily driven by my 16 y.o. daughter

Condition - clean vehicle, that has clearly been well maintained, no rust issues, no previous accidents, no dings/dents/major scratches, etc. Also, a clean engine/compartment, no leaks and no weird sounds from engine, drive train, etc. while idling and driving both local streets and on the freeway.

Prior owners - our Jeep had two previous owners. Some I looked at had 5 or 6 owners or were use by multiple rental car companies.

Style - I wanted a two door with a soft top. I’ve had a Jeep with a hard top and I know newer hard tops have options like partial panel removal. But generally speaking, without available garage space and a hoist and store setup, removing hard tops can be a beating. I wanted a completely stock Jeep (No mods) in one of 3 or 4 colors

Transmission - wanted an automatic

Dealer - I wanted to buy from a very reputable Jeep dealer who has completed a thorough inspection prior to putting it, on their lot. I also wanted a good trade-in price for the F150 we were trading. The dealer we worked with gave us $2,00O more than quoted by CarMAX and Give Me The VIN.

*If you’re dealing with a private seller or small used car dealer, I would strongly recommend taking it to a Jeep mechanic for an thorough inspection and getting a CarFax report before buying.

Ultimately, we bought a 2011 JK with 106,000 miles. That’s more mileage than I was looking for, but I looked at several other JKs in our price range, with lower miles, and none were as clean and well maintained as the one we bought. We keep our vehicles well maintained and I feel we can keep this for a number of years with no major issues. On a side note, our ‘07 Tahoe, which we bought new, now has 220,000 miles and still looks/drives great.

Good luck.
 
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JimNH

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I bought a 2008 with 150K - $10,500 in New Hampshire. I have had a great time going through it and doing some mechanical maintenance, but I had a mechanic check it out "stem to stern" and he said it was mechanically sound. I replaced the worn upholstery, cleaned the carpets, added weathertech floor mats, and put in brighter headlights - those were the few biggies. I also added some interior utility (footwell and console) LED lighting. We also got it with a hard top, so I bought a soft top. For everyday use, I think the 2007 to 2011 JK is a good value, and "modern" enough as Jeeps go. The 3.8 is not a speed demon, but plenty fast enough, even with the automatic transmission.
 
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BigDaddyinBigD

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Cool, please tell me about the new headlights. What brand, model, etc did you pick and why? How much did they cost? How hard is it to remove the old 9nes and put in the new ones?

Our 2011 JK has the original stock headlights and the glass has gotten quite foggy. I’ve checked some prices I getting them buffed out ($30 to $50 for the pair), but also been told I would be better off investing that money in new LED lights. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet, thought. Thanks. BD
 

JimNH

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Cool, please tell me about the new headlights. What brand, model, etc did you pick and why? How much did they cost? How hard is it to remove the old 9nes and put in the new ones?

Our 2011 JK has the original stock headlights and the glass has gotten quite foggy. I’ve checked some prices I getting them buffed out ($30 to $50 for the pair), but also been told I would be better off investing that money in new LED lights. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet, thought. Thanks. BD
When I get home I will! Limited internet until later today.
 

JimNH

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Cool, please tell me about the new headlights. What brand, model, etc did you pick and why? How much did they cost? How hard is it to remove the old 9nes and put in the new ones?

Our 2011 JK has the original stock headlights and the glass has gotten quite foggy. I’ve checked some prices I getting them buffed out ($30 to $50 for the pair), but also been told I would be better off investing that money in new LED lights. Haven’t pulled the trigger yet, thought. Thanks. BD
OK - home at last. Sorry for delay.

I bought the Sunpie LED headlights and fog lights with white halo's. I stayed away from the multicolored ones you program with a phone app - too much complication and too much to go wrong. Here is the link:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071HXRTLR/?tag=jkforum-20

I installed them and wired them using the supplied anti-flicker modules, but I made sure to use Penetrox or dielectric grease on all the connections. I also cut and spliced the halo connections to the existing turn signal wiring (don't use the squeeze over wire taps). I soldered and heat shrinked all my connections. the middle wire to the turn signals is the constant power and the outside wire with the stripe is the turn signal. I did not have to run anything back to the fuse panel.

The lights mount exactly where the existing lenses do - and they fit great. the only problem i had is that the plastic mounting ring on the passenger side had warped a bit with time and I needed to do a little surgery with an xacto knife to get the new light housing to fit 100% - no biggie there. The stock trim rings fix them in place.

After installation I needed to shine the lights onto my garage door and adjust the aim a wee bit, same with the fogs. pro tip - mark the height of the "spot" from the existing lights before disassembling and then use that to aim the new ones once installed.

See this video for instructions on installation (except, don't use the wire clip connectors like he does, IMHO...)


here is a pic of mine installed.

IMG_3888.jpg


Any other questions - please ask!

The only thing I have not done yet is install the halos for the fog lights...just did not get that far and my wife wanted here Jeep back - so that is next weekend I think. I have the wires all run and just taped off for now, but the halo wiring will go to the same place i used for the always-on halos for the headlights at the turn signals. I bought some 1/4" braided wire sleeving on amazon to dress up the install - worked great.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IT2KVLY/?tag=jkforum-20

Have fun! this is a great and easy project and so much better than the stock units. I considered just getting brighter bulbs and building a new harness directly to the battery, but by the time I added it all up, these were about the same $$ in the end.
 

JimNH

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went for my first night time drive with the new headlights and no one flashed me, so I guess I adjusted them OK. they work very well - as did the LED fogs. with the fogs and low beams on, you can see great with a good cut-off, and the high beams are very bright. 10/10 would recommend.
 

BigDaddyinBigD

2011 JK Owner
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Wow, great information! Thanks for taking the time to put all this together. It will definitely help me moving forward with LEDs! Be safe and thanks again.
 

JimNH

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I am also thinking about getting LED turn signals and LED rear lights as well - but there is not a real reason to do that - just 'cause I think they would be cool, and I would have to do it and hope my wife did not notice. She is tired of me taking apart and "breaking" her jeep without consulting her first.
 

MacGuyver

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I am also thinking about getting LED turn signals and LED rear lights as well - but there is not a real reason to do that - just 'cause I think they would be cool, and I would have to do it and hope my wife did not notice. She is tired of me taking apart and "breaking" her jeep without consulting her first.
Has anybody out there done this? My understanding is that after you install these and the resistor to avoid hyperflashing there is no way to know without looking if your blinkers are still working. So if one goes out you are unaware until someone gives you the finger. Or am I wrong?