really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,790 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Jeep Wrangler electrical problems

electrical problem

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1998 Jeep Wrangler Owner Comments

problem #20

Mar 042016


  • 124,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Jeep Wrangler. While driving at an unknown speed, the speedometer failed to display the speed intermittently. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 124,000.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #19

Jul 012010

Wrangler 4WD 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
All of a sudden the speedometer and tachometer go dead, and the airbag and engine light come on. Seems to happen during the summer months. I have to hit the dash a couple of times and everything starts working again. Doesn't happen in the winter when it's cold. It's a little unnerving when the speedometer stops working.

- Colville , WA, USA

problem #18

Mar 082014

Wrangler 4WD 6-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
I was driving and running the heater and noticed a burning smell. I immediately shut down the HVAC unit and smell subsided. I pulled the HVAC head unit out and had a vacuum line and it's insulation melted. This could have caused a fire. The heat and ac now only work on the highest setting.

- Yukon, OK, USA

problem #17

Nov 042012


  • 138,000 miles


I have had numerous times that my gauges just stop working and then one day I went to drive it and I had no turn signals or brake lights. It is in the mechanic shop as we speak. They have found the electrical connector under the left side of the dash has completely melted and all the wires have fused together. I was very lucky that it didn't catch on fire. Now the other problem is finding the part my mechanic has tried everywhere to fin it. So now my Jeep is just sitting in the shop going on three days now until a part can be found. Why is there no recall on this as I see on here and other sites that it is dangerous and many have had the same issues??

- Camano Island, WA, USA

problem #16

Nov 212011

Wrangler 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
Purchased my Jeep new in 1998 and I only drove it about 5000 miles per year..in about 2009 I began to have some trouble with the gauges/speedometer..they would stop functioning for periods of time...in about 2010 I there was an odor coming from the vents when I used my heater or ac..each time I took it to the dealer where I purchased the vehicle and the last time I had it checked was the end of September 2011. On November 21, 2011 I was driving to the grocery store with the heater on and smoke started coming out of the vents..I turned off the heater & blower & then saw fire coming out from under the dash on the passenger side. I stopped & tried to put out the flames with my jacket. A lady stopped to help & called 911. While waiting for the fire department (just a few minutes) and I was sitting in the lady's car...I watched my Jeep start moving to the right (even though the ignition was turned off & the Jeep was in gear)...it went into a grass field, burst into flames and was a total loss. I only had minor burns on my fingers & hands (from trying to put out the fire). I am extremely upset!

- Everest, KS, USA

problem #15

Jun 152011


  • 75,000 miles
Ac controls and resistor wiring harness has melted cant get replacement parts from a dealer or salvage yards what am I supposed to do. I think the Jeep Wrangler needs to atleast make a replacement part or fix it on a recall.

- Arkansas, AR, USA

problem #14

Mar 102011

Wrangler 4WD 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


Intermittently airbag light comes on RPM and speedometer gauges fail sometimes all gauges fail.... sometimes when I honk my horn they "come back up"... this has been going on for years... very dangerous because I do not know how fast I am going... took it to the mechanic replaced my ignition switch...2 days ago and last night the problem appeared again.. doesn't matter what speed I am going gauges will fail.

- Springfield, OR, USA

problem #13

Aug 152009


  • 29,250 miles
Instrument cluster goes out - speedometer and tach, or all other gauges go out, airbag light comes on. Appears to be many documented cases of this same failure with the wiring harness/instrument cluster problem since 1998. Numerous service bulletins but no recalls! what can be done to prevent the problem and is there a recall for this?

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #12

Aug 152008


  • 70,600 miles
Instrument cluster/gauges intermittently stop functioning while driving and the airbag light also comes on. There is no warning, just a shut down of all gauges. I have read several reports of this same problem occurring on this same year and model of Wrangler. I have also read that the airbag will not function when this problem occurs. This appears to be a wide spread problem and a serious safety hazard. What would be the reason that there has been no recall to correct this?

- South Jordan, UT, USA

problem #11

Mar 082006

Wrangler 4WD 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 90,000 miles
My gauges on the dashboard consistently go to "0" while driving my 1998 Jeep Wrangler. My speedometer, tachometer, battery status, oil, and engine temp all go to the left and the red airbag light comes on. This especially occurs while driving over bumps. It is a huge safety concern because I never know how fast I am going, when I need gas, or if my air bag will deploy in my face or if it will deploy in the event of an accident. There have been so many other reports concerning this same issue that it is incumbent on the government or Jeep/Chrysler to rectify this situation!

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #10

Nov 012005

Wrangler 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,950 miles


When cold or damp or raining and with light throttle the engine stumbles/shuts off. The tachometer and speedometer register nothing. This is very frightening when amidst heavy traffic at 55 or 65 mph. I searched the web and found other instances of the same problem, but no recall"?? and no cure??" for this very unsafe condition.

- Plymouth, PA, USA

problem #9

Aug 082003

Wrangler 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Electrical system failure.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #8

Jul 222003


  • miles
Consumer stated the fuel tank had a cracked which caused fluid to leak out. The dealer was notified. The fuel tank had leaked since the owner purchased the vehicle at 39K miles. The fuel tank overflowed when filled in hot weather. Both the fuel tank nut replacement tank were difficult to obtain due to shortage. The tachometer and speedometer had become inoperative. The service dealer found a poor connection behind the cluster. The throttle sensor did not have a good seal in which moisture had gotten into it. The fuel tank corroded badly and the new tank nut was useless. The consumer replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, and the gas tank. The consumer requested reimbursement. Also the water pump serpentine belt, and battery were replaced.

- Arroyo Grande, CA, USA

problem #7

Mar 012001

Wrangler 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles
1998 Jeep Wrangler 4.0L, exhaust manifold crack at 30,000 miles. Jeep/Chrysler refused to fix, stating only catalytic converter covered under warranty. Crack occurred in a weld joining the two pipe, almost 3/4 of the way around the pipe, causing cosiderable noise, and loss of power. Guages fail periodically, but come back on there own, after a few minutes. Air conditioner drains onto floor inside vehicle on long drives and can even short out the radio. The steering column also sqeals like an old door when its cold outside.

- Bryan, TX, USA

problem #6

May 102003

Wrangler 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 83,000 miles
After parking our 1998 Wrangler at the hospital to visit my mother my car was reported on fire. The firemen stated and wrote a report it was an electrical fire. The Wrangler is totaled and the insurance company will not pay the vehicle off. We are short $3,000 of the pay off. My immediate concern is I was glad I was not driving at the time of the fire and did this happen to other owners of a Wrangler. This car is only going into 5 years old and has had the rear end replaced at our expense and the gauges go on and off and this was fixed once. What caused this electrical fire? I want Jeep to respond to why this happened.

- Cedar Glen, CA, USA

problem #5

Mar 292003

Wrangler 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
I have had numerous problems with my Jeep Wrangler 1998. This is a partial list I sent to Chrysler: I bought my Jeep with just 3600 miles on it from a dealer in 1999. From day one I started experiencing problems. Many of them I returned to the service department. Some they were able to fix, others, after many return trips, they were 'unable to duplicate the problem'. 1. gauges would stop working while driving - I brought the vehicle in 5 times before they were able to duplicate and finally fix the problem. 2. this was also true of the blinkers that not always worked - or worked all at the same time. 3. my hazards still do not work every time. 4. the air conditioner goes out when driving, very uncomfortable when it is hot and raining. 5. the sound bar has never worked properly - first it would only come in some times - now never. 6. headers are cracked - bad. They have been welded several times. When I went to have them welded it was found they were welded before my purchase - at 3600 mil! they are still cracked, welding does not hold. I can not get anyone to replace them because even exhaust specialists say it is too cumbersome. The dealer charges way more than I have considering the number of repairs and the price of gas - at 12 mpg. 7. drivers seat belt locks tightly with any amount of pressure on the brakes - it has now gotten to the point it locks just while driving. 8. windows - the zippers broke almost immediately - I paid alot to have these replaced. The back window now has a cut in it and is very difficult to see through. 9. the top has never quite fit right; it has always leaked and been extremely noisy - more so than anyone else's that I know. It has also come apart at the seams. The dealership has not been of any help. They wanted to charge outrageous amounts just for diagnostics, even when I had the best warranty. I've also had problems with the door molding coming out immediately, grinding in the steering wheel, grinding while trying to put it in reverse and more.

- Jacksonville, AR, USA

problem #4

Jul 011998

Wrangler 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Electrical system failed. Nlm

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 042000

Wrangler 4WD

  • miles
Started vehicle after it had sat for 13 hours. Vehicle started without a problem, but a pop/crackling sound was heard at start-up. The radio was turned on and it immediatley powered down and clock went blank. All the gauges on the instrument panel read "0". the headlights, foglights, instrument panel lights work. The interior light does not work. All fuses for radio, instrument panel and interior light are not blown. This is the first incident of any problems with the vehicle.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #2

Nov 151998

Wrangler 4WD

  • miles
Electrical system and cruise control.

- Burbank, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 021998

Wrangler 4WD

  • miles
I have recently purchased a new Jeep Wrangler sahara. Since the 8000 mile mark, my airbag light constantly comes on and all my dash gauges drop to 0. this happens when I am driving all the time. I have taken it in four times to get it fixed but Jeep has failed to fix the problem. I asked them if this means that if there is an accident, the airbag won't deploy because the computer already thinks it has. They walk around the subject saying that this has been a commonly reported failure in the new Jeep, yet I have seen no recall information on it. They told me they received a number of bad electrical harnesses that control the airbag from their Mexico plant and even the new replacement parts are failing. I worry that my airbag will not work when the time comes and they refuse to replace the vehicle even though it is under warrenty and is being fixed for the fourth time for the exact same problem. I have written the factory and received no response and now the dealership avoids answering my questions. Can you help?

- Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

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