The ten year run of the Jeep Liberty was fraught with setbacks and design flaws. Although some have claimed to achieve great longevity from their Libertys, it would seem to depend on which model you chose.
So how many miles can a Jeep Liberty last? Some models failing at the 50,000-mile mark and some reaching 300,000 miles and 15 years with no significant issues. The first generation 2002-2008 had the most problems, with 2006 being the worst. 2009-2012 Liberty’s fared better.
If you would like to know which Liberty models fared best, we have broken down the years and models for you to ensure that your Liberty will have a better chance of being one that lasts.
The Jeep Liberty
The jeep liberty was launched by DaimlerChrysler in 2002 to replace the long-standing, iconic Jeep Cherokee model. It was a revolutionary looking Jeep and was more compact than the Cherokee (XJ.) The liberty boasted an independent front suspension and rack and pinion steering. The response, however, was underwhelming. Complaints plagued this model from its launch and included:
- Very high gas consumption from the 3.7-liter V6 engine
- A clumsy and uncomfortable, jittery ride
- Noisy and uncomfortable interior
- Sloppy finishes
The relaunch in 2008 did little to improve these issues, and sales began tapering off considerably. The SUV remained cramped and noisy with clumsy handling and excessive fuel consumption. One consistent praise the Liberty managed to maintain was its off-road capabilities and ample towing power. These good points could not save liberty, and what some called the worst redesign in motor vehicle history was discontinued on August 16th, 2012.
Why was the Jeep Liberty discontinued?
There were a variety of factors that were behind the discontinuation of the Jeep Liberty. The standard reason was that the Liberty failed to meet the 2007 emissions standard for diesel engines in America, but other considerations had their play.
The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) was conducting investigations of burns and wounds from faulty airbag inflation and gas tank issues that had claimed lives. Libertys were recalled in the 2004-2007 range for control arms rusting and cracking and there were multiple complaints about differential leaks. The simulated crash test results also left some serious questions about Liberty’s structural integrity.
One of the biggest reasons was the post-2008 relaunch decline in sales when consumers found that the 2002-2007 models’ failures remained the same. The entire run of the Liberty was rife with complaints and user dissatisfaction.
Is the Jeep Liberty reliable?
The ten-year lifespan of the Jeep Liberty was rife with problems and safety concerns that cost lives. One of the models with the worst complaints was the 2006 version, and the least complaints were the 2009-2012 models. However, the second generation may still be a gamble, and you should seriously consider your options carefully.
Many owners of Libertys found that particularly the V6 models gave engine troubles at the 100k miles and needed repairs. Transmission issues, failing window controls, and airbag failures were rife and the ride uncomfortable.
Despite the window, sunroof, and corrosion failures, the Liberty still manages to hold its reputation for durability and reliability. Motor and Wheels found the Liberty Jeep has a high average lifespan of 10-15 years and from 150, 000 to 300,000 miles on the clock.
With high mileage vehicles, I would always suggest investing in a budget friendly vehicle code scanner. Older vehicles typically throw up a few fault codes, so with a scanner at least you know what these are and can search for the codes online. The great thing about these scanners is that you can reset most dashboard warning lights, and you may get lucky and the lights might not return. A great scanner that we have used in our workshop is the Foxwell NT301 OBD2 scanner. Its not the cheapest but definitely worth having if you have an older car and want to fault find yourself rather than paying for expensive auto shop diagnostics.
When considering if liberty for purchase, you should consider the models and their associated problems.
What Was the Best Year For Jeep Liberty?
2002 Jeep Liberty
The 2002 Liberty had problems from the start, with the NHTSA receiving multiple complaints about faulty seatbelt and airbag function. Airbags were set off for no reason or failed to deploy in accidents. There were also reports of liberty crashes turning into fires (55) and injuries and two deaths due to malfunction. The Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2002 liberty poor rear crash ratings and barely average overall crash test simulations scores.
2003 Jeep Liberty
The 2003 Liberty had issues with their lower ball joints in their front suspensions, causing the control arm to break. The same rear-end collision issue persisted along with window regulator issues.
2004 Jeep Liberty
The 2004 Liberty continued to have window and suspension issues. There was a recall of 239,000 regarding the rear lower control arm.
2005 Jeep Liberty
The 2005 model had problems with the gas tank overflowing when filling up. Suspension and window issues persist along with faulty control arms and rear impact fires. 250,000 Liberts were recalled due to automatic transmission cap plug fails.
2006 Jeep Liberty
The worst year of the Jeep liberty models. The widow problems persisted with windows falling through the door panel and smashing. Rear impact fire damages were prevalent, and lower ball joint issues continued. Recalls were made for overheating ventilators and AC blower horns. Rear crash safety concerns were again an issue.
2007 Jeep Liberty
An improvement on the 2006 but still issues of window regulators persist along with gas tank overflow. Recalls of previous years persist.
2008 Jeep Liberty
Along with the gas tank overflow, 2008 had issues with faulty TIPMs. These total integrated power modules (a form of the electronic brain) were riddled with problems and malfunctioned often. There were recalls of 62, 000 models for drive shaft issues that caused airbag deployment.
2009 Jeep liberty
A more successful model than the previous Libertys. There were still issues with fuel systems and TIPM issues, but this model was not too bad overall.
2010 Jeep Liberty
TIPM issues persist, and the overflowing gas tank is still a problem. There was a 20,000 vehicle recall for faulty brake boosters and hydraulic control unit issues.
2011 Jeep Liberty
Although the rear crash test ratings improved, the 2011 liberty still had overflowing fuel tanks and TIPM issues. There were two serious issues of the active headrest not deploying in a crash and malfunctioning head restraints not deploying, affecting 442,000 vehicles.
2012 Jeep Liberty
The final year of the Liberty still had problems. The TIPM was a disaster, and there were still airbag issues. Several hundred thousand vehicles were affected by the active headrest failure to deploy.
The Jeep Liberty is a mixed bag with many lemons inside, which all impact on how long the Jeep Liberty can last. Take care to thoroughly check your prospective Liberty for model-specific issues and do your homework. Some Jeep Libertys may last up to 15 years with care and regular services; you just need to make sure that it is the right one.
Check out our other Jeep reliability guides: