2012 Jeep Wrangler: keep or sell?

My 2012 Jeep Wrangler was taken in the dealership due to over heating. The told me the thermostat and Heater Core were changed, under warranty. After driving it out of town, 150 miles, it overheated again. I realized the main hose from the radiator to the engine came off. I visually inspected the hose and sumized the dealership did not reattach the hose properly. I reattached myself, attempted to refill the coolant assuming this would be an easy fix to a problem the dealership caused.
Upon filling to manufactures specs, and running the engine I quickly realized the thermostat was not opening.
Took it back to the dealership, explained the problem, they made the so-called repairs and I picked up the vehicle.
The next day the vehicle overheated again after driving approximately 25 miles. Checked coolant levels, no coolant, no coolant leaking.
I returned it to the dealership, they called and informed me the heads needed to be replaced and were on order.
My question is, after they change the heads, what else should they do before I pick up again believing everything if fine and the engine is not going to be affected.
I love my Jeep, but as it’s for my 16 year old daughter, I’m not sure if I should keep the vehicle, or look at selling?
With the heads changed, will this fix the problem and or should I expect future problems related the the motor itself?

I would say changing heads should solve the problem. Well, this problem. I personally would not expect a Jeep to be trouble free for the long haul. You can decide if is reliable enough for local use for you 16 year old.

Thanks, for the response. I’m going back and forth on deciding to keep it, but your response definitely helps.

Jeep owners I know aren’t too crazy about Jeep’s reliability. I’d get rid of it, not something I’d want my new driver using, anyway.


I’m guessing you have the 3.6L Pentastar engine. The early years had problems with the cylinder heads. The replacements are supposed to have a new design that fixes the problem.

The 2012 Wrangler has a much worse than average record for “Engine, Major” reliability and the same for overall reliability – Consumer Reports April 2019 issue.

That reminds me of a story (bear with me, it’s worth it).

My mother was bringing me a car that I was buying from my grandmother. It overheated on the way, she stopped and had it checked, and nobody could find the cause. It overheated again, she stopped at another shop, and they gave the car a clean bill of health. So my mother drove on, and when the car overheated a third time, she decided to keep driving. She ruined the engine, and felt so guilty about it that she paid for a rebuilt engine to be installed.

It overheated again, and this time, I figured it out myself. Coolant was flowing through the radiator, but looking inside it, through the filler hole and hose connections, I could see that the passages through the fins were clogged. Coolant was flowing around the cooing fins, so it wasn’t being cooled as it passed through the radiator. I replaced the radiator and it never overheated again.

The point of the story is that, even after they replace the heads, they still need to find out why it was overheating, and I wouldn’t take any chances. If you’re still on the fence, dump it.

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Thanks, for the input and story. I’m still leaning towards dumping it sooner than later.

Suggest to remove the thermostat, put it in a pan of water and heat it up on the stove. Make sure it opens at the correct water temperature (180-190 deg F) , and opens fully, to the correct opening dimension. I’ve seen new-from-the-box thermostats fail this test. Used thermostats thought to be good b/c they open often don’t open to the full opening spec dimension.

Sometimes folks think they can eliminate the thermostat as a cause of overheating by temporarily removing it, believing if it overheats w/o a thermostat, the thermostat isn’t the cause. This isn’t a valid test. Modern auto cooling systems will often overheat if the thermostat is removed. With no thermostat, too much of the coolant can be routed through the radiator and not enough to the engine.

I would check the water pump also.