Jeep Cherokee Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Jeep Cherokee as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

Jeep issued an emissions recall in late 2006 to update the powertrain control module (PCM) software on certain 1996 - 1998 vehicles. As part of the recall, the catalytic converter will also be inspected for damage and replaced as necessary. To see if your vehicle is included in the recall you can visit the Jeep website (owners' section) that allows owners to input their VIN number and check the recalls on their vehicle.

Ignition wire failures can cause a rough idle or intermittent engine misfire and there might not be a Check Engine light.

A loud buzzing or whining when the transmission is in reverse may be caused by a regulator valve in the transmission valve body. A revised valve was released that does not resonate. Careful diagnosis should be performed because other causes can create the noise.

Leaks at the front and/or rear differential pinion seal and from the transfer case are common. Leakage from the transfer case normally occurs at the case-mating surfaces and require removal of the transfer case to reseal.

Engine oil leaks from the valve cover gasket, oil pan gasket and timing cover gasket are common.

Poor connections of the ECU wires at the bulkhead can cause erratic RPMs and engine-stalling. The repair typically involves either bypassing the connector wires or cleaning and replacing spread terminals in the connector.

Due to warped front brake rotors or variations in the thickness of the rotors, brake pulsations may develop. The best method to reduce pulsations is to use an "On the Car" brake lathe (as long as the rotors are suitable for turning). "On the Car" equipment can correct variations (or "runout") in the rotor surfaces because it also corrects variations in other components (e.g. the hub).

The head gasket may seep oil externally. An updated head gasket is available that will prevent any more oil seepage.

The outer exhaust manifold studs can break and cause exhaust leaks, commonly noted as a ticking type noise. The outer studs, clamps, and nuts will need to be replaced and are now being tightened to a reduced torque value (20 Nm/180 in lbs).

The throttle position sensor (TPS) may fail causing intermittent drivability problems like hard starting, stalling, and/or hesitation when accelerating. A failed TPS will require replacement, proper diagnoses should always be performed before replacing any parts.

The throttle body may accumulate an oily, black residue in the bore and on the throttle plate causing hard starting or possibly stalling when coming to a stop. The throttle body should be cleaned during regular maintenance but do not spray cleaners directly on or at the throttle position sensor (TPS) as this can damage the sensor.

A minor brake pedal pulsation may be felt at highway speeds and can be caused by rough surfaces on the brake rotor. Low quality brake pads may deposit material onto the rotor surfaces causing variation on the brake rotor surfaces. The front brake pads may need replacement and the brake rotors should be machined or replaced, if necessary.

Be sure to verify starter replacement procedure before replacing the starter. A new starter replaced the older design and does not use a shim in the installation. Incorrect use of the shim can cause starter noise or may damage the starter.

Some models are susceptible to rear main oil seal failures in dirty or dusty conditions. As dirt and dust collect on the oil seal, the abrasion wears through the sealing surface. A rubber plug, installed above the starter, is being used in production that prevents the dust entry near the seal and extends the life of the seal. The plug is available from MOPAR and should be installed any time a rear main seal service is performed.

A ticking type noise may be noted from the engine area due to an exhaust manifold that has cracked where the pipes are welded; cracked manifolds should be replaced.