Jeep Wrangler Automatic Transmission Shifting Problems

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The Jeep Wrangler model is an iconic model in the Jeep family but it has not been without its fair share of problems. We are going to look into the Jeep Wrangler automatic transmission shifting problems to see what causes them and the possible remedies.

Over the years, there have been issues that Jeep owners have experienced with some of them leading to Jeep recalls.

A Jeep’s transmission is expected to last between 120,000 to 180,000 miles before you need to change it. Transmission issues will occur based on the year of your Jeep Wrangler.

You need to have your Wrangler looked at as soon as you notice transmission issues before you cause further damage to it.

How long the transmission on your Wrangler lasts has a lot to do with your driving style. Having said that, there are also issues to do with some of the components being that have been used during the manufacturing of the different Wrangler generations.

Why is My Jeep Wrangler Not Shifting?

A common issue with Jeep automatic transmission has to do with it failing to shift into gear or violent, jerky shifts when moving from one gear to another.

This is a complaint which has been reported on a lot of Jeep forums. When this happens, it’s usually due to an issue with the transmission or shifting linkage.

Another cause of this may be low levels of transmission fluid. In this case, the remedy is very simple. All you need to do is replace the transmission fluid and you’re good to go.

On the other hand, if the problem is due to a transmission fault, you’ll need to have it looked at. Your Jeep may continue to drive but without shifting into the next gear.

When this happens, you want to make sure that you take a look at it if you have the mechanical aptitude or have a professional mechanic or transmission specialist look at it.

Any delay in having the problem remedied may lead to greater problems further down the road. The transmission is made out of many expensive parts and when you fail to deal with an issue, it may lead to another component in the transmission being compromised leading to a much more expensive repair job.

What Are The Signs That Your Transmission is Going Out?

There are a number of signs that you will see when your transmission is going out. Each sign depends on the nature of the fault you are experiencing.

The most common of these is loss of power especially on inclines. You will notice that your Wrangler will struggle when going up slopes. This is a sure sign that you need to have your transmission looked at.

In other instances, you may see smoke coming out of the transmission area or experience a burning smell. Your Jeep may continue to drive after this but you are only doing further damage by this.

Take it to a qualified mechanic or specialist at the earliest convenience. Another indicator are grinding gears. When your transmission is not functioning properly, the gears will grind between shifts.

This is less common in automatic transmission Jeeps but not unheard of. When your transmission fluid starts leaking, it is another indicator that your Jeep has or is about to have transmission issues.

How Long Does a Jeep Wrangler Transmission Last?

It’s really hard to give an accurate representation of this as there are so many variables. How you drive your Jeep and the conditions it is exposed to all play a part.

If you are not the first owner of the Jeep, you may inherit one from a good or bad driver. All these factor come into play when it comes to the big picture.

Transmission issues with the Jeep Wrangler have partly been due to user negligence as well as faulty components at the manufacturing stage.

This makes it difficult to gauge how long it should last. Having said that, ball park figure of how long you can expect your Jeep Wrangler transmission to last before replacing it is between 120,000 to 180,000 miles.

How to Fix Jeep Wrangler Transmission Problem

Depending on the year of manufacture of your Jeep Wrangler, you will need to deal with the transmission issues in different ways.

A faulty transmission presents a number of hazards which include the possibility of an engine stalling. Fuel economy is also greatly increased and so it the possibility of a fire hazard due to transmission fluid leaking.

A faulty transmission is definitely more than just an annoyance. It needs to be treated with the relevant level of seriousness.

The number of transmission issues require different approaches to remedy them. The most expensive route would to do a complete a transmission replacement and this costs at least $1,000. Most issues though will require a few hours of labor while others will require replacement of faulty parts.


If you own a Jeep Wrangler or are considering getting one, just be aware transmission issues are a common occurrence which you need to cater for.

While a good number of them require simple remedies like changing transmission fluid or making mechanical adjustments, other times you may need to dig a little deeper into your pockets in order to get the issue sorted.

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A master of organization, Brian helps keep everything running smoothly for Your Jeep Guide.

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Cory loves his XJ and frequently thrashes it through the hills. He’s constantly fixing something.

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