What to do with a 1995 Jeep Wrangler - runs great, but rusted out

We have a 1995 Jeep Wrangler. It runs great - starts right up. Single owner vehicle - and we’ve kept it well-maintained. EXCEPT for the frame. It is rusting out. To the point that we would need to completely replace the frame. That would cost over $2,000 using a used frame and then who knows when something else will go.

My husband and I are not mechanically inclined or have the tools to work on the jeep. So my question is - could we get more out of it by selling it as is? Or selling it in pieces? I’d love to sell it as is… but am afraid we’d end up selling it for less than the parts are worth.

Any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated!

If you are not mechanically inclined, sell it as is or for parts.

You always get more for cars like that when you part them out. I wouldn’t give you $50 for a Jeep with a rusted frame, but if I needed a starter, I might give you $30 for that, and you still have the rest of the mechanicals to sell.

That said, disassembling a car properly, and knowing what the parts are so that you can advertise them on craigslist, will be difficult for someone who is not mechanically inclined and has no tools.

If I were in your shoes, I’d sell it as a parts car. You might get as much as 2 grand for that.

There is a pretty strong enthusiast network out there for these vehicles and their parts. Your best price for selling it as is would come from a Jeep enthusiast. You might try trolling around on sites like jeepforum.com to find a buyer. If you are not mechanically inclined and have no tools, parting it out is not a good plan. Sell it whole and be done with it. Try listing it on Craigslist with photos and full disclosure about what’s wrong with it, state in the ad that you’re leaving the ad up for (set timeline) and are taking offers, highest offer takes the Jeep.

Unless you have the means or time, ability and equipment, I agree that you dump it in ways all three previous excellent posts have suggested. If not, you will fast become aware that repairing cars damaged by rust can be more expensive than ANY mechanical repairs you will ever do. If not done by experts, you could have a vehicle that not only was unsafe with rust damage to begin with, but unsafe when you finish. I would not drive the vehicle again with a rusted body regardless of how well the mechanics were maintained…that it starts easily is an invitation to continue using an unsafe vehicle.
Don’t expect much for it. The body condition trumps any good mechanical maintenance practices you have given it. The body may be more important to maintain then anything else, especially in rust areas.
Best of luck.

Who said you need to completely replace the frame? Second opinion time?

I was confused about that too.

Thank you all for your comments! We do not have the tools - or the knowledge to tear it apart and sell pieces. So as suggested we will try to sell it as is as a parts vehicle. Hopefully we’ll find the right buyer. I’ll take a look at the Jeep forums.

@ waterboy - we had it to 2 welders. Both said no way to repair. A couple years ago I asked a mechanic what I should be worried about as far as what will break next and how to avoid it. He said other than the maintenance we had been doing to “worry about whats underneath”, but didn’t elaborate. And I didn’t take it to heart… or even understand what he meant. If I had we MAY have been able to salvage the frame at that point. I wish I had understood him & pursued it then.

Thanks again for your help!

It’s unfortunate that owners are led to believe there is little they can do but watch their cars rust. The maintenance for rust prevention is easy and does not need special skills. You can triple or more the life expectancy of the body of nearly all cars with good body maintenance. Like a golf swing on a poor golfer, it only requires a change of attitude and a little education to fix and make better. The effort is minimal.

@dagosa - I know that now :slight_smile: Wish I had been told that 15 years ago. This is the only vehicle I’ve had last this long without other things failing. The Jeep has been a work-horse for us with minimal mechanical problems. We are very sad to see it go.

That’s OK. Something newer will be safer and more economical regardless and perhaps better suited to your needs. Besides, preventing rust doesn’t necessarily mean you will keep a car longer. But it will be safer in use and less expensive to say goodbye.

In Texas, NM, AZ, CA, or FL there are likely lots of Jeeps with crapped out motors, transmissions, and transfer cases that would love your old Jeep as a parts car. You may want to put it on ebay or craigslist to get a wider audience of potential buyers.