The (Real) Cost of Owning a Jeep: 5 Hidden Expenses to Consider
There’s no doubt that owning a Jeep can be a lot of fun, but it can wind up being expensive fun, especially if you’re not careful.
Owning a Jeep, like any other vehicle, comes with its costs, and we’re not just talking about the purchase price or monthly installments. We’re talking about operating costs (and those that appear over and above these). Sure, various websites will provide average annual costs associated with car ownership, but what are the (real) costs of owning a Jeep Wrangler or Gladiator?
In this blog, we take a deeper look and shed some light on some of the unexpected, hidden costs of owning a Jeep so that you can prepare accordingly or, better yet, be proactive about it and save money where you can.
5 Unexpected Costs Associated with Owning a Jeep
Besides the expected on-the-road costs, fuel costs, cleaning, and value costs, first-time Jeep owners are bound to see the typical cost of owning a vehicle quickly become…atypical. Here are the top 5 costs most aspiring Jeep owners may not be expecting (but should be):
1. Regular Windshield Replacements
Whenever we talk to Jeep owners about their least favorite parts of Jeep ownership, this one is bound to come up. The iconic flat, vertical windshield on Jeep Wranglers & now Gladiators is pretty much guaranteed to break. While some lucky souls out there have made it through their first year crack-free, there are all too many stories of off-road warriors having to replace 2-3 windshields per year (yikes!). Back in the days before all the new safety features that most new vehicles come with, this may not have been so bad, but nowadays even Jeep owners are spending $1000+ per windshield to replace! And that doesn’t even take into account those who opt for Gorilla Glass at the dealership!
How to Avoid It: Avoiding windshield damage completely may not be possible - it’s an unfortunate cost to own the #1 off-road vehicle. BUT there are some things you can do about it. In 2023 you can find windshield protection film products that are cost-effective, and can be installed on your own. ExoShield ULTRA for example is a DIY windshield protection film kit made especially for your Jeep’s windshield, and costs $199. While the film won’t last forever, you can expect to get a year or 2 out of it before having to replace the film - meaning your overall cost to protect your windshield is likely a lot less than all those replacements!
For the best protection, you can even combine Gorilla Glass with ExoShield. Some owners love this option because their gorilla glass is so expensive to replace, it’s even more worthwhile to add a protective layer to make the more expensive glass last longer.
Paying auto insurance sucks; it’s just a fact of life. We have all pretty much accepted that what we pay for car insurance is bound to increase year over year.. However, what happens when accidents happen, and the insurance company doesn’t cover the damage? Even something as small as multiple windshield replacements (see our first point!) can drive up your premiums over time if you’re using insurance to pay for these repairs. It’s important to be aware of exactly the type of coverage you’re getting, not to mention the fact that insurance companies will often find ways to avoid paying out for damage.
3. Expensive Replacement Parts
The average cost of owning a Jeep is mostly the sum of its parts. Literally. Jeep drivers can anticipate what parts they will likely need to replace and might be keen to do their research to find the best deals for this engine part or this tire. Unlike many “typical” SUV owners, half the fun of Jeep ownership is making it your own - and that means spending money on various new parts and accessories. And there is certainly no shortage of options for Jeep accessories! Especially if you’re turning your Jeep into a true off-road warrior, the upgrades you’re likely to make won’t be cheap!
Worth it? Yes! Wallet-friendly? Maybe not so much.
How to Avoid It: It’s easy to get carried away when you first drive your Jeep off the lot, but take some time to do the research and really find the accessories that you need to do anything in your Jeep. Take stock of the parts that will help you enjoy your vehicle the way YOU want to. Avoiding the arms race of mods will help you save a lot of money in the long run without compromising your Jeep-owning experience!
4. Maintenance And Repair Costs
Don’t get us wrong - we love our Jeeps, but the statistics don’t lie! The average annual repair costs for a Jeep are actually statistically higher than those of any other compact SUVs. This appears to be not so much a higher frequency of things breaking (which is a good thing!) but the issues they do face tend to be more severe than other vehicles.
This may have something to do with the conditions most Jeep owners find themselves in with their vehicle, but either way - it may not be a dealbreaker, but be prepared to pay more in annual maintenance once you’re committed to the Jeep life!
How to Avoid It: Visit any Jeep forum and you’ll notice the unusually high number of DIY-ers in there. Learning to take on basic care and maintenance for your Jeep will mean you spend less time in a shop, and more time with your Jeep! This is a great way to keep repair costs down, and will also come in handy for when you’re out on the trails and something goes wrong!
5. Higher Fuel Costs
While we would be bummed if Jeep changed up the classic Wrangler design, the reality is that it’s not exactly the most aerodynamic or efficient SUV on the road…
Fuel consumption for your Wrangler or Gladiator, while improving, is still likely going to be higher than your average SUV owner. While the average fuel economy for most modern SUVs is around 29 mpg, the Wrangler is more like 20 mpg.
How to Avoid It: If you do a lot of long-distance driving and are worried about fuel consumption but LOVE the Wrangler, Jeep has actually got you covered! There’s a reason the Jeep Wrangler 4xe was the top selling PHEV in America last year! If you’re concerned about fuel consumption whether it’s for your wallet or the planet, the 4xe could be a great option for you!
While ownership costs may be a little higher than expected, the Jeep community is hands-down one of the best around. If you ask us, the benefits outweigh the costs, especially when you take a few simple steps to keep your costs down!
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