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A grey 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is shown off-roading on a rocky path after leaving a Certified Pre-Owned Jeep dealership.

Are CPO Wranglers the Right Way to Go For Entry-Level Off-Roading?

Off-roading is not a recreational activity for everyone. Some people love it, some people fear it, and some people are fascinated by it. If you’re interested in dipping your toes into a little off-road adventure, then there is a whole world of knowledge at your fingertips just waiting to be explored. There’s a lot to cover on the subject matter, but today the topic is specifically about the pros and cons of buying a used Jeep Wrangler from a Certified Pre-Owned Jeep dealership if you’re an entry-level off-road enthusiast.

If you’re considering getting into off-roading, rock climbing, trail trekking, or dirt racing, there are some things to consider when it comes to picking the right vehicle for the job. Are you wondering if Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Wranglers or similar Jeeps are the right way to go for an entry-level enthusiast? The short answer is yes. The long answer has a lot more information attached to it that you can scope out below, and you should definitely give it a look-over before you race off to a Jeep dealership near you.

What Is a Certified Pre-Owned Jeep?

Not every Certified Pre-Owned process is the same, just as not every warranty program offered by different manufacturers is the same. Different dealerships may offer different bonus perks, and it’s important to make sure that you have the right kind of information when you decide to take the plunge and buy a CPO Jeep. All that being said, what is a Certified Pre-Owned Jeep, and what do you get with the factory warranty coverage?

Well, Jeep’s certified program includes a 7-year limited powertrain warranty that’s good for up to 100,000 miles worth of travel. This particular coverage includes the engine, transmission, and the driveline. Jeep’s CPO program also includes a 3-month or 3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty, as well as an optional certified upgrade program for additional powertrain and bumper-to-bumper coverage. You get a complimentary CARFAX vehicle history report, and all certified vehicles have to be five years or newer and have fewer than 75,000 miles on them. All vehicles classified as CPO also can’t have any frame damage and must have a clean title, perfect for those who need a fresh Wrangler to trash around on hills and bang against rocks.

A red 2020 Jeep Wrangler is shown parked on top of a mountain trail.

Benefits Of the 125-Point CPO Inspection

The Jeep Certified Pre-Owned program includes a 125-point inspection process for every vehicle sold as CPO. How does this help with purchasing a used Wrangler? Well, if you’re considering buying one for the purpose of exploring your off-road interests, it’s extremely important that all of the vital powertrain, suspension, and driveline components are intact and fully operable.

The 125-point inspection covers all the basic mechanics, fluids, maintenance, and appearance of the vehicle. This includes ensuring the battery is load tested, the throttle linkage is operational, the brakes work as intended, the power steering is aligned, and the transfer case and transmission function like new. These tests are all essential, especially for a Wrangler that you plan to use for off-roading purposes.

Even more important than the basic functionality inspection are some of the more specific items: such as checks of the transfer case fluid and the front and rear differential fluid, plus an inspection of the CV joints, struts, and shocks. Why is all of this important? Because you will be putting all of those parts through a real beating when you go off-road, and it’s important that they’re inspected, reconditioned, and fully operational for when it’s time for you to take your CPO Wrangler to a dirt park or backcountry trail.

Warranty Coverage That Benefits an Off-Road Wrangler

Maybe you’re looking at Wrangler Sport, Rubicon, or Sahara, and you want to try your hand at off-roading. What’s the benefit of getting a CPO Wrangler other than the inspection, reconditioning, and the CARFAX report? Well, the warranty coverage. The 7-year limited powertrain coverage goes a long way for even an off-road Wrangler.

Having the driveline, transfer case, and engine all covered by the warranty gives you a lot of extra security and confidence with buying a used Wrangler from a Certified Pre-Owned Jeep dealership. What’s more is that with the additional limited bumper-to-bumper coverage, you get more safety and security in the purchase of a used Wrangler. If you feel that isn’t enough, the extended warranty upgrade options offer you that extra layer of protection.

Make no mistake about it; off-road vehicles will take a beating. Having the warranty coverage to compensate for the kind of mechanical failures you might be likely to experience as you navigate the world of off-roading for the very first time is a real boon. It cuts down on the expenses, and it adds to the overall security you can expect when it comes time to get the vehicle serviced. However, remember that the warranty only covers mechanical defects–if you push your Wrangler beyond its capabilities, the warranty will not cover the damage.

A yellow 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is shown from a high angle parked in a forest.

Should You Still Consider a Non-CPO Wrangler?

If you have an opportunity to get your hands on a used Wrangler, no matter what the trim is, for a very low price, go for it. If you’re curious about exploring off-roading and want a vehicle to test out rock-climbing, trail-trekking, or water-fording, then even a base-model used Wrangler can help you get your feet wet. However, if you’re the kind of enthusiast who wants a little more guarantees from their purchase, it makes sense to go the CPO route. You get the warranty protection and the confidence of the vehicle having been inspected and reconditioned.

If you buy a standard used Wrangler, there’s really no telling what the condition of the driveline, axles, differential, or suspension is in. All it takes is the wrong hill or the wrong mound to snap a worn tie-rod, damage the transfer case, bend a sway bar, or cause differential problems. If you don’t have any kind of coverage, then all the costs fall squarely on your shoulders…or, more accurately, your wallet.

The benefit of buying a non-CPO used Wrangler is that you can get it for cheap, and it’s certainly worth it if you want a good off-road vehicle. It can even be a better route for those who know exactly what they want and who may be looking for a pet project that they know will require attention and care. But if you’re looking for something with more of a security blanket for your purchase, it might be wiser to play it safe with a Certified Pre-Owned Wrangler.

Safety and Security In a CPO Wrangler

There’s really no downside for newbie off-road enthusiasts to hit up a Certified Pre-Owned Jeep dealership to get a used Wrangler. You get the warranty coverage, you get the safeguards of the powertrain protection, and you even get limited bumper-to-bumper and roadside assistance coverage. If anything goes wrong, you have a safety net underneath you.

You don’t really lose anything opting for a CPO Wrangler, especially if it’s your first Wrangler. If you’re a neophyte in the world of off-roading, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Of course, you could also just buy new and get the coverage and warranties that way. But there’s a lot more financial investment attached to buying a brand new vehicle. If you’re working with a budget or are looking for a second car for a little off-roading on the side, but also want some guarantees in case you run your poor Wrangler through the gauntlet, a CPO Wrangler is a good way to go.

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