In a previous post I listed some pros and cons of buying a Jeep already modified by the dealership, versus buying a base model Jeep and building it into your ideal off-road machine. In that article I hinted at some areas of concern when buying a modded rig off the lot, but I think I was pretty kind. In the last few months, however, all that has changed.
Over the past nine months my husband’s Jeep (bought modded at the dealership, complete with the whole nine yards of warranty to include all the mods) has experienced issue after issue with the cheap mods that were installed pre-sale. He’s taken it back to the dealership for work several times, been told he has to drive it himself to the mod company to fix the mods (and he has, several times, but the mods keep failing!), but the biggest concern is that, in its current condition, it’s an unsafe vehicle to drive at high speeds on the Interstate.
[UPDATE 4/29/2017 - Video has kindly been removed as the dealership has fixed all of the following issues!]
Dealer’s choice of aftermarket fender liners is terrible! The DV8 liners make a whole lot of noise, have not been securely fastened despite several trips to the dealer-contracted modification company, and have badly scratched the Jeep shock tower.
Sway bar connector bolt disconnected twice (the last time while driving on the Interstate and the connector fell off completely as my husband almost lost control of his Jeep). He chose to put on JKS Quicker Disconnects instead, which are trail-ready and safer due to locking pin connections instead of bolts.
“Firewall” area missing factory nuts. This causes more noise because the “firewall” is not secured.
There appears to be a Jeep factory design flaw in the uncovered holes behind each front wheel. These open areas collect debris kicked up by the tires and, in the case of salt, can easily result in lasting damage to the body of the Jeep. Since Jeep contracted with the U.S. Army to provide vehicles for military use I hope these design holes are fixed to assist with rig longevity.
Dealer's choice of aftermarket fenders is low quality and not trail ready. They started rusting after only a couple months and the tube design also collects debris. Additionally, these fenders are solid which can result in body damage upon impact (instead of flexing like other fenders).
In short, if dealerships are going to sell “trail ready” modified Jeeps brand new off the lot, they should make sure the mods are actually safe, usable on trail, and good quality. Sure, they provide a warranty but that’s only resulted in a lot of trips back and forth to get the cheap mods fixed and re-fixed.
Do it right the first time.
Thanks for reading, and Happy Trails!
Update, August 2017: for a year we've fought with our bought rig like a partner in a dysfunctional relationship. Read more in Part 3, and the final conclusion with evidence to prove that buying a dealer-modified Jeep with warranty is actually way costlier than buying a stock vehicle and building it yourself – plus you run a big safety risk by driving cheap dealer mods.