jeep maintenance
DIY Auto Repair

DIY Jeep Maintenance – How to Avoid Costly Repairs

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is as grand as you can get, and having sold a whopping 240,696 units in 2017 proves that. In March 2018 alone, there were over 19.6 thousand new proud owners of this SUV.

The Grand Cherokee is only one of Jeep’s best-sellers, though. There’s the Cherokee, Compass, and Wrangler too – they all contribute to Jeep’s continued year over year sales increase. The 2018 Wrangler even took home the prestigious Residual Value Award!

All these display the brand’s reliability, power, and authority in the car market. That doesn’t mean you don’t need Jeep maintenance anymore though. Remember, it’s still a machine, and for a machine’s gears to keep turning, it needs some greasing.

The good news is, you don’t have to pay a mechanic for each maintenance job. So, here’s a guide on the easiest DIY Jeep upkeep tasks you can give a go.

1. Replace Your Windshield Wipers

Your Jeep’s windshield wipers are the only thing clearing your line of sight when it rains or snows. Or when winged creatures decide to drop a bomb in front of you.

Now, consider the average precipitation in the U.S. (except Alaska and Hawaii), which is about 767 mm every year. That’s a lot of work for your wipers! That’s why you need to have them checked or better yet, have them replaced every six months.

Besides, changing them – on your own – takes only about 15 minutes. You don’t even need any special tools! You only need to check your Jeep service repair manual to find out the exact type of wipers you need.

Depending on where you live though, weather conditions may require you to replace them more often. Also, factor in fall and winter seasons when scheduling your wiper replacement.

2. Battery Upkeep

Although you don’t need to be the next MacGyver to show your Jeep’s battery some TLC, you still want to play it safe. So, before doing anything with this under-the-hood component, make sure it’s completely disconnected. That starts with taking off the negative node.

From there, run a visual inspection. See any white residue? If so, then it’s time you clean it.

Getting rid of those crunchy bits before they become bigger helps make it easier to fire up your engine. It also reduces the risk of your battery life draining sooner than later.

You only need a clean rag, a couple of wire brushes, wrenches for the connectors, and a high-quality corrosion removal solution. The entire process won’t take you more than 30 minutes, so why not do it now?

A friendly reminder: there are obvious differences between a battery that only needs cleaning and one that needs changing. If you notice swelling, weird smells coming out of it, or bubbling liquid seeping out, those are signs you already need a battery replacement.

3. Change Old Spark Plugs

Another money-saving DIY Jeep maintenance task that’ll make you proud is changing those old spark plugs. It takes patience, but all in all, it’s a pretty straightforward job.

First, make sure you have the right number of spark plugs. Refer to your Jeep’s manual in case you’re unsure. Also check the manual for the correct plug gap size, since the part supplier will need this when you buy the replacements.

To give you an idea though, you’d need either four, six, or eight of these plugs. That’s based on the number of cylinders your engine has.

Pro tip: unhook the spark plugs one at a time. Clean the cylinder you took out the plug from, and then replace it with the new one. Remember, there’s a cylinder sequence order you need to follow, and failure to do that can turn your DIY project into a nightmare.

Average completion time of this project is about 30 minutes. If you have an eight-cylinder engine though, expect to work on it a bit longer. That’s why you need a good ratchet and wrench set, so you’ll have an easier time loosening those plugs.

4. Swap in a New Air Filter

Without an air filter, dirt, debris, and other foreign objects can make their way into your engine. But a dirty or worn filter won’t benefit your Jeep either. It can affect gas mileage, fuel efficiency, and overall engine performance.

The good news is, replacing your Jeep’s air filter is a cinch. Say you have a Cherokee. The first thing to do is to check your Jeep Cherokee’s manual to locate the specific area where the filter is.

Once you know where to look, take the cover off the filter box. Remove the old filter. Before putting the new one in, make sure you clean the box first.

Using gentle pressure, slide the new filter in. Depending on your Jeep’s make, you may hear a click as the new filter slides and secures into place. Put the lid back on, and voila, you’re done!

The rule of thumb when it comes to air filter replacements is to schedule one every 12,000 miles. But since we’re talking about Jeeps here, you don’t have to change it until after 30,000 miles. Of course, if you often drive on littered or dirt roads, you’d have to take that into consideration too.

Granted, air filters for Jeep vehicles cost more than the average. But considering that you only need a replacement every three years, that’s one expense you shouldn’t mind shelling out money for. Plus, the job itself will only take you 10-15 minutes tops.

5. Oil and Oil Filter Change

Much thanks to Jeeps being high off the ground, changing your ride’s oil can be even easier than with other cars. That’s right – you won’t even need to jack it up to give your Jeep an oil flush and change. Plus, changing the oil in these beasts is simple.

First, check your manual for info on where the oil pan is. Once you know where that it is, get under your car and look for the drain plug.

Before taking out the plug, make sure you have something to catch the old oil with. A catch basin will do the trick. Let it all out!

Since you’re already flushing out the old oil, it’s also a good time to replace the old filter. Remove the worn filter and swap in the new one.

Put the drain plug (the same one you took off to drain the oil) back into place. Splash some fresh oil on the filter’s gasket before screwing it tight.

All that’s left for you to do now is to top up with fresh engine oil. Easy, right?

Master These Jeep Maintenance Basics to Bring Ownership Costs Down

Jeep maintenance, whether for a Cherokee, a Grand Cherokee, or a Wrangler, doesn’t always have to involve a pro mechanic. So long as you have your owner’s manual, the basic tools, and you follow these instructions, you can save on your Jeep ownership costs.

Best of all, you can avoid those expensive repair costs while enjoying your ride’s smooth and problem-free driving/handling.

Of course, these aren’t the only DIY tasks you can try. So, make sure you check out our other helpful posts for more insider tips!