If you’re in the market for a used Jeep it can be a bit of a challenge to find one that has been well-taken care of and not been driven carelessly. It is important that you look under the hood and even crawl underneath the Jeep. Even if you are not experienced in knowing what to look for, certain problems can be easily noticed by the naked eye.
When looking at pre-owned Jeeps you should give the Jeep a thorough looking over. Don’t take the word of the seller as the truth. You should look for any dirt and debris that has become lodged in the fender-wells and behind the tires. If you notice any giant lumps of mud, dirt or clay stuck on certain parts of the Jeep, the chances that it has been taken off-roading at some point are relatively good. Purchasing a Jeep that has been used off-roading isn’t always a problem, however, vehicles that have been used off-road tend to experience more damage than those that have primarily only been used for highway driving. It’s important that you know what you’re getting into before purchasing a used Jeep.
Another area that you should inspect is any removable tops or doors. Jeep Wranglers have a wide array of parts that can be taken off, look closely at these areas to ensure that they are clean and in good condition. If the Jeep has a soft top you will want to look closely at the seals and zippers to ensure that they are in the acceptable shape for a Jeep of that year. If the top appears to be in good condition it is a sign that the Jeep has been well taken care of. After inspecting the top of the Jeep you should then proceed to the underside of the body. While there you will want to keep your eyes open for rust or any damage that may have been caused by driving over larger than normal objects such as rocks. If there is a large amount of rust on the underside of the Jeep it is a sign that it has not been properly cared for or cleaned properly after off-roading excursions.
You can also ask the owner for any maintenance records. If the seller is unable to provide them you can always ask for the name of their mechanic to ensure that the Jeep has had regular maintenance. If a seller cannot provide you with any records of maintenance, odds are they probably didn’t keep it up. The next step in the inspection process is to take the Jeep for a test drive. During this process you should speed up and then stop quickly, test it at a variety of different speeds and give it a thorough test drive. At this time you should pay particular attention to any strange odors, noises or anything else that doesn’t seem right. If you notice a musty smell it could mean that the Jeep experienced a leak at one time. If you hear strange sounds coming from the engine it could mean that there may be costly trouble looming ahead.
After the test drive if you feel that it is in relatively good shape your next step would be to take the Jeep to your mechanic for an inspection. Your mechanic will be able to provide you an idea of the overall mechanical condition of the Jeep and if they notice any problems that you may have missed. Your mechanic can easily notice if the Jeep has been well cared for. You can also ask them if they feel that the Jeep has been abused and driven hard off-road. Once your mechanic inspects the Jeep you will have a better idea if that particular Jeep is right for you.