Jeep Wrangler: Why buy it used, and what to look out for

Where Can I Find the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car's unique features, specifications and manufacturer.

The VIN can be found in a couple of places including on the car's registration label (1), on the compliance plate in the engine bay (2) or on the passenger side windshield (3), or on one of the door posts (where the door latches when it is closed) (4). See the image below:

Look for the VIN in these other locations:

  • Insurance card/Insurance policy
  • Vehicle title and registration certificate


Classic off-road vehicles that make ideal project cars, Jeep Wranglers are fun and reliable SUVs. Their removable top also makes them perfect for the Australian climate.

There are several options for second-hand car buyers after a used Jeep Wrangler in Australia. The JK (2007-present), TJ (1997-2006) and YJ (1986-1995) are all available Down Under, and can be modified to fit your needs and fulfil your off-road dreams. Several limited editions have also been released over the years, like the Jeep Wrangler Freedom that's taken for a test drive in the video below:

Now let's dive into why you should consider buying a used Wrangler and what to look out for before making that purchase!

Why buy a used Jeep Wrangler?

If you're holding out for the Jeep Wrangler ute, to be released in Australia in 2019, we understand why you might want to buy new. However, there are several reasons to buy a used Jeep Wrangler instead:

  • Savings: A 2017 Wrangler retails from $31,790.1 But a 1996 model will be priced between $4,840 and $9,570. Expect to pay between $8,140 and $14,410 for a 2006 model.2
  • Modifications and upgrades: The Jeep Wrangler is a fantastic project car, and Jeep owners often modify their vehicles. If you buy used, you can get a vehicle with some excellent upgrades without forking out a lot more money. Think big wheels, vibrant colours, and advanced safety features.
  • Special editions: Buying used means you can get your hands on special edition models from previous years. If you're keen to own something like the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Call of Duty, the 2012 Special Ops Edition, or the 2010 Mountain Edition, buying used is your best bet.

What should you keep an eye out for when buying a used Jeep Wrangler?

As with any second-hand vehicle purchase, there are things to be mindful of. We've got a few pointers to help stop you landing a lemon. If you're unsure how to check them yourself, take a trusted mechanic along to help.

Rust can build up on painted surfaces of a Jeep Wrangler, so inspect these areas closely before you buy.Before buying a used Jeep Wrangler, inspect floorboards and painted surfaces for rust.
  • Signs of excessive roof leaks: While a bit of leakage isn't too much to worry about, keep an eye out for damp carpets and rust on painted surfaces or floorboards.3
  • Faulty transmission: Your Jeep's transmission needs to be in good working order, whether it's an automatic or manual drive. If there are any cracks in the bellhousing or transfer case, these can be signs of a faulty transmission.4
  • Engine concerns: It's vital to inspect the engine before deciding to part with your money. Fuel or oil leaks are bad signs, as are cracks in the exhaust manifold or rattling sounds coming from the catalytic converters.5

Purchasing a car history report is also essential before you buy. A physical inspection will alert you to any mechanical issues, but only a thorough overview of the vehicle's history will indicate whether the odometer has been wound back, or if the car's been written-off or stolen in the past. Our car history report will give you a comprehensive rundown of the reported history of the Jeep Wrangler you're interested in so you can purchase with peace of mind.

1 Jeep Wrangler Pricing & Specs. Accessed January 2017.

2 Jeep Wrangler Pricing & Specs. Accessed January 2017.

3 Buying Used: Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-2012). Accessed January 2017.

4 eBay. Tips for Buying a Used Jeep Wrangler. Accessed January 2017.

5 eBay. Tips for Buying a Used Jeep Wrangler. Accessed January 2017.

View a sample report >