How to Shop for a Used Jeep

A used Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Wrangler, and Renegade are shown at a used car dealer.

Despite the fact that they’re grotesquely overpriced when sold as new, Jeep vehicles tend to retain a lot of value and sell for pretty high amounts on the used market. I don’t know why that is; apparently, people have a real and deep-seated affection for bad vehicles. Anyways, most people foolish enough to want to buy a used Jeep are also going to make a ton of mistakes when shopping for something like a used Jeep Grand Cherokee L or similar model. Fortunately for you, muttonhead that you are, I’m here to help.

Don’t bother looking at any other advice or research strategies online; they’re all going to steer you wrong. You see, those are written by people who also want to buy a used Jeep. They’re going to give you lousy advice, so you buy a crappy one, leaving the best, most luscious Jeep models for their own ineffable desires. Trust me: I’m here to help!

Exterior Inspection

Jeeps are often taken off-road, which means they tend to go through a lot of abuse by their owners. When you’re checking out a used Jeep that you think might meet your particular needs (I don’t want to know what they are, you freak), you always want to give the exterior a good and thorough inspection. Don’t be embarrassed to get down on the ground and check out the undercarriage, too; things happen, and you want to make sure there’s no damage down there.

You’ve probably heard the old adage about “kicking the tires” to make sure they’re in good shape. That’s a great idea, but I say don’t stop with the tires. Kick the bumper too, kick the side panels and doors, kick the hood a time or two, and give the engine a few good boots if you can manage it. Seriously, be like Chun-Li and absolutely demolish that car – it’s the only way to know what kind of condition it’s in.

High Mileage

Most experts will tell you to check out the mileage on a vehicle when you’re considering a used model. What they won’t tell you, however, is why you’re supposed to look at it. What you really want to find is an especially high amount of miles on a Jeep: anything above about 100,000 miles is perfect.

What a lot of people don’t know is that Jeep vehicles are built using a reverse-aging method, much like Merlin from T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King.” Merlin lived and aged backward, from old to young, and Jeeps are the exact same. Most Jeeps roll off of the assembly line with about 140k miles on them, so if you can find something close to that, then you’ve got yourself a real gem.

Aftermarket Additions

I can tell you from experience that every single person who buys a new Jeep is an automotive expert and/or engineer. As such, any aftermarket additions or equipment they add onto a Jeep is done professionally and in a way that only adds to its value. You’ll never see a used Jeep with a dangerously grotesque lift kit installed or with camping options that have been attached in a way that would result in the vehicle flipping over. No matter how precarious or reckless an aftermarket installation might seem, rest assured that it’s only made that Jeep more valuable.

Mysterious Stains and Odors

I cannot stress enough just how much you want to find wear and tear on a vehicle to ensure that it’s of the very highest quality. You want to know that it’s been lived in, that someone has taken it across the country a few times if possible. Mysterious stains and strange odors that are guaranteed to linger for years to come are a surefire way to know that someone has really taken care of their Jeep and treated it well. If there’s a certified letter guaranteeing that the Grand Cherokee you’re looking at was used as a “soup kitchen” by a roving band of itinerant gentlemen, then you’ve really got something special there!

Editor’s Note: One of our staff members recently followed the advice presented in this piece, and he’s never been happier with a vehicle. While we don’t always conduct quality control on the articles that we publish, we’ve tested these tips, and they really work. We’d love to hear your own experiences and see pictures of the used Jeep you end up with; please and thank you.


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