2011-2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Problems

April 7, 2020
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Common 2011-2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Problems and Issues (And How To Fix Them)

2011-2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee problems such as fail-prone TIPM sensors, delaminating leather and cracked cylinder heads are usually found in early model years. The 2014-2017 V6 Grand Cherokee has a finicky 8-speed transmission and the 2013-2017 V8 is known for having a weak water pump. The newer WK2 Grand Cherokees had most of these problems ironed out.

The fourth generation Jeep Grand Cherokee had a long life entering dealerships as a 2011 and until replaced ten years later by the fifth generation starting in 2021.  

With ten years of being on the road, the common problems and issues found in 2011-2020 Jeep Grand Cherokees have become well known and documented. We dug through forums, websites and reviews to inform you on the WK2 Jeep Grand Cherokee. 

TIPM Sensor Problems

 The first year the Grand Cherokee hit the market was rough as it had some issues in need of addressing, most notably from its TIPM sensor. While 2012-2015 models had some of the same issues, the teething hit 2011s hardest.  

A TIPM sensor stands for "Totally Integrated Power Module." A TIPM's  job is to take commands from switches and modules inside the car and relay the signals to the correct locations. For example, if you turn your wipers on, that signal will be sent to the TIPM, which reads the information and sends power to your wipers.  

Now you might think "the wipers not working is annoying, but not too much of a problem." The TIPM also handles a slew of important functions to your car. 

If it fails you might experience your lights not working, the fuel pump not turning off, the vehicle stalling randomly, the starter not cranking, your radiator fans not turning on. You get the picture, a lot can go wrong. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee Recalls

Luckily for consumers, a lawsuit hit Chrysler due to the bad TIPMs. Chrysler settled the case and as a result, recalled all 2011-2013 Grand Cherokees to install more durable parts. They were also to reimburse owners some of the money spent on TIPM repairs for their vehicles.

Other big recalls include the fuel pump, the vanity light, the alternator, a brake booster shield and the power brake assist. 

If you're looking at or own a Grand Cherokee (2015 and earlier), ensure those recalls were done. If not, anything problematic on the car could be related to the sensor and is hopefully a cheap or free repair. 

Bubbling Leather And Misfires

Aside from the Grand Cherokee's problems solved by recalls, it has other issues to watch out for. The early models (2011-2014) have leather that likes to delaminate and bubble - newer models seem to have solved that problem. 

Misfire codes in those same early V6 models are also somewhat common. Notice I said codes and not misfires, as the reading is usually a sign the car will need new cylinder heads. Most Jeep dealerships should be familiar with this red heron by now and know what to do. 

Potentially Pricy Failures

Many Grand Cherokees come with air suspension as well - it's standard on the Trailhawk Elite, Summit and Overland trims and is an option for other models. The "Quadra-Lift" suspension will allow the user to raise and lower the car at their whim, which is great for a vehicle that's supposed to lead its class in off-road abilities. 

While it's neat technology and popular with owners, it can get expensive if it breaks. Owners don't report many problems with it, but it is worth checking out during a test drive or inspection. 

Transmission Problems

Another potentially expensive repair are the 8-speed transmissions found in 2014-2017 Grand Cherokees with the 3.6L V6. Owners report the transmission shuddering and "bumping" when coming to a stop and general hard shifting. If your Grand Cherokee starts to have these symptoms, expect to write a big check.

In 2018 they updated the troubled 845RE transmission to the 850RE, which seems to have ironed out most of the problems.  However, Chrysler released some software changes to address the transmission problems, so many of these reports could be from owners who were lacking these crucial updates. This problem is not particularly widespread, but should be a factor when you're in the market for a Grand Cherokee. 

V8 and Diesel Transmissions

Grand Cherokees with the V8 and diesel engines use a different, sturdier transmission that is much more reliable. If you need a justifiable reason to get the V8 version, this isn't a bad one. But the V8 has some of its own gremlins, such as its weak water pump that affects 2013-2017 models. Jeep realized this part was prone to failure and extended its warranty to seven years and unlimited-miles.

Don't Let These Problems Scare You

Hopefully this blog doesn't scare you off, as the WK2 Grand Cherokees' problems are small and they are great cars overall with many happy owners. But like everything else on the road they have some weaknesses and defects that should be watched out for. To ensure a Grand Cherokee is right for you look at our car buying guide and our used-car checklist to avoid a lemon.

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