2012 Jeep Wrangler engine problems: head has to be replaced

Head Has To Be Replaced

2012 Jeep Wrangler

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Jeep dealer.

CarComplaints.com Notes: Poor side crash test ratings from the IIHS are really no surprise.

7.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,800
Average Mileage:
31,400 miles
Total Complaints:
16 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace the heads (13 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. rebuild cylinder (1 reports)
  4. replace engine (1 reports)
2012 Jeep Wrangler engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Jeep Wrangler Owner Comments

problem #16

Jul 062015

Wrangler 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,282 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

After five years, the exact same vehicle is worth 10,000 more Canadian dollars. After regular maintenance and thousands of dollars of charges I think it's time to a buy made in China vehicle, at a China price to eliminate the headaches or at least afford the headaches.

Update from Aug 3, 2017: Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited 2012

Replaced the cylinder head. First of several problems. This was covered by Jeep.

- Gary R., Calgary, AB, Canada

problem #15

Jul 222016

Wrangler Rubicon Pentastar

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

45 days now in the dealership with a blown engine. According to case manager at Chrysler its not uncommon for the "power train" dept as she called it, to ask for multiple photos and samples of oil, etc to make sure its not a neglect issue or other, and that can take weeks back and forth with the dealership. I thought was such bs but after all this im semi-happy now that they are giving me a new engine(although not too happy). The initial problem was misfire in cylinder 2. The service rep calls me later after the diagnostic and tells me my engine is blown and has lost compression.WOW! only 55k and its blown? Ok so although that sucks i had some hope as I bought the jeep new with the Lifetime power train warranty and a Mopar added Careplus service warranty. I dont know how that all played out into them getting me a new engine.I did however contact Chrysler alot and was even about to have an attorney who is family (no cost) to write them a letter that we would pursue legal action with a DTPA especially since alot of the dealerships apparantley knew about the issue yet kept the jeeps on the lot instead of doing the right thing and fixing it then and there. Seems like they are selling them to get numbers up and then dealing with the problem later. looks good on paper until the customer comes back and is pissed to find out that its a known issue and also jump through all the hoops to get the repair approvedand WAIT 45 days and more with no loaner no rental for a chrysler derived issue.So im waiting for the engine to get to the dealership still and from there it takes a week, which will likely be more because we all know how that goes.My thing is this, the defective head is a KNOWN problem for Chrysler and anyone experiencing the issue should have it replaced promptly and be put in a rental instead of having to wait over 40 days.Im not too sure how long anyone else has taken but this is my experience.After all it is a manufacturing issue or design flaw or who knows but its not the owners fault.Hope this gave some hope and maybe you can cite this to try and get a new engine also. After all who knows how much damage the defective head caused to the rest of the engine.-Raymond Estrada

- Raymond E., El Paso, TX, USA

problem #14

Jun 212016

Wrangler

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

I was driving on the FDR in NYC during rush hour when my Jeep Wrangler started to shake violently, then it STALLED in the middle of the FDR ! There was someone behind me. Luckily he wasn't distracted and was able to brake in time and get into another lane. I was very lucky - there could have been a major crash. I was also lucky I did not have a heart attack.

Next I started the car up again and a few moments later the same thing happened. This happened several times before I got home. This was a pretty awful experience but next comes dealing with Chrysler corporation and their service (worse than a trip to motor vehicles and you all know what that's like).

The next morning I call service at the dealership I purchased my vehicle (the same dealership I sent several relatives to the same salesman all of who subsequently bought several cars - and that is recently) and told them the problem and was promptly told I could not get an appointment for 2 1/2 weeks. The woman I spoke to who was eating her breakfast loudly while reluctantly trying to talk to me had absolutely no sympathy and was even annoyed that I was interrupting her early morning breakfast. She simply said they were totally booked until mid July and there was nothing she could do for me before that.

I then called another dealership nearby (17 miles away) who had professional employees who took the time to listen to me and look everything up and even apologized for the incident. They could give me an appointment the next day. Yeah! However, have no fear - I am dealing with the Chrysler Corporation and they will surely find a way to screw this piece of good luck up. So now since my car is stalling in the middle of the highway while I drive I am not taking anymore chances with my life by driving to Route 4 in Paramus and as suggested by the professional service department in Paramus I call Chrysler roadside assistance. Well roadside assistance can only tow me a max of 13 miles. They of course DO NOT CARE that the closest dealership can't take me for 2 1/2 weeks and the one that is 4 extra miles away can take me tomorrow. So as I said, leave it to the mighty Chrysler corporation to screw things up.

Roadside assistance tells me however that they can tow me to Ramsey which is 9 miles away. I don't have an appointment there but maybe I can get one so I call Ramsey service. They also have a very helpful service staff but unfortunately I cannot get an appointment there for 2 weeks. They explain to me that there is a recall and that is the reason for the long service wait. So now I have to decide whether to pay for towing myself to Paramus or get someone to help me in Nanuet where I purchased the car. I decided that since Nanuet has sold at least 5 cars due to my recommendations that at least they owe me a professional conversation on this matter. So I called the sales manager who then called the service manager who then could help me out in a timely manner. Yeah! Success! Wait, not yet. We are dealing with Chrysler Corporation don't forget!

Now I again call Chrysler roadside assistance who now tell me they can tow me to Ramsey (9 miles away) for free but not free to Nanuet (3 miles away) - Nanuet will cost me $72.00 I said "Are you kidding, you will tow me for free further away - Nanuet is only 3 miles away. They replied - This is what the computer said" Well you can't argue with a Chrysler Computer. So I said forget it and called the service manager in Nanuet. I got the same woman who is now eating her lunch, chewing in my ear! ( I have been on the phone now for about 3 hours - forget my job - I have no car) . I ask for the service manager and she promptly disconnects me.(after all now is lunch break- you know DMV types) I call back and get switched to the wrong persons voice mail. I call back again and someone more professional is able to switch me to the right person. I tell them the story and they suggest I call back because it didn't make sense that they won't tow me for free to the closest service center. Then I think is this some kind of omen - are they trying to tell me something. Perhaps I should have heeded the warning. But I call back Chrysler roadside assistance and this time the computer says they can send me to Nanuet for free. Those Chrysler computers are just completely inconsistent. Scary. Just like their cars! At least the scariness is consistent.

This gives me no comfort! Anyway back to the story - so now I will get towed in about 1 hour they say. It was closer to 2 hours by the time they got it over to the service center. But it did get there . Yeah. Baby steps of success! Now we get to the good stuff. So now it is about 3.30 in afternoon. Today is shot. They will start to look at car tomorrow. Tomorrow is Day 4. As promised, first thing Friday a.m. they run tests on the car and they come up with same conclusion my mechanic had - the left cylinder head was misfiring on #2. They will replace the cylinder head. Yeah! we found the problem and they will fix it possibly by the end of the day. It is Friday. I have had no car since almost getting killed on the FDR on Tuesday. I hope I have it for the weekend. But have no fear - Chrysler Corp is here! Unfortunately they were not able to finish the job on Friday. They will pick it up on Monday. On Monday, they replace the cylinder head. However, now instead of it misfiring on #2, it is misfiring on #'s 1, 3, and 4. Well I guess that new cylinder head is no good either. We have to try again tomorrow.

On Tuesday, they put in yet a 3rd cylinder head. Guess what! Now not only is all 4 cylinders misfiring, We also need new rings. There is gas everywhere. It must be cheap gas says the service center. My fault. Exxon/Mobil - Chrysler says your gas is cheap. Do you agree with them? It must be my fault and Exxon and Mobil's fault. Could not be Chryslers fault. Their problems are "design problems" A cracked engine is a "design problem" - great semantics. So I suggest that perhaps instead of replacing all engine parts 3 times each to see if it will work, perhaps we should just replace the whole engine that has a "design problem". Well they must have a Chrysler investigator take a look at the problem - sounds very official. And he/she must approve a new engine. You would think I had 150,000 miles on the car - it has 49,000 miles on it. These cars are supposed to last 200,000 or more miles.

So today is Wednesday - Day 9 without a car. I have asked repeatedly for a loaner or a rental paid for by Chrysler. All 15-20 or so of their loaners are out to people on recalls etc. I was told he doesn't have a car to give me but I could rent one at their discount of $40/day plus tax etc. I bought a car that I thought I could trust so I could not have it for going on 2 weeks now and climbing . And now we could wait 2 more weeks for an approval. And then they have to have a limited amount of mechanics that can do this job if approved work on it. That could take another week. So I should have no car for 5 weeks. How am I supposed to get to work. And I should spend $1,000 on a rental due to Chrysler's shoddy materials. This is why Americans buy foreign cars. They last longer than 4 years for $35,000 plus. Well this story is not over. Tune in later for the ongoing saga.

- Luann L., Pearl River, NY, USA

problem #13

Feb 182016

Wrangler Unlimited 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,673 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I purchased my jeep wrangler in 2012 brand new . My first new vehicle ever. It is a right hand right jeep Gecko Green awesome color . I was so in love. I am a rural route mail carrier in Iowa. It made my job so much easier. WELL at 23,673 miles the engine light came on . I was very concerned so to the dealership we went. AND a new head was going to have to be replaced. # 6, # 2 , # 4 cylinder was misfiring. Code P0306 was found. I entered the dealership on 2/6/13 and did not get mt jeep back until 3/19/13 WOW 51 days later. Then as time went on all of my idiot lights came on, the traction light, engine light several others. My wiring harness needed to be replaced again and again with a total of 4 times. The real reason WHY was never explained to me. I was told once that a mouse got on my engine and chewed on the wire. I said REALLY, I think that the mouse walks on two legs and carries a wrench. I was working six day a week at that time No way in heck that mouse had any time to do that. A LIE . One of many that I am receiving from this dealership . So after many times returning to this dealership that problem was fixed FINALLY!!! So before the jeep reached 100,000 miles I thought I should get a extended warranty on the jeep and Chrysler would not even consider me for any warranty. If I wanted a warranty it was going to cost me around $4,000 to $5,000. I called Chrysler Service Department and got a case number and the battle was on . After weeks of discussion I received 3 warranties, engine, transmission, and electrical, four years unlimited miles. I thought GREAT! So now I have had my jeep for four years I have 148,540 miles now the jeep . I have a head problem again. I get my jeep serviced every 3,000 miles give or take a few. I believe in preventive maintenance and that did not help. So the jeep is back into the dealership again. It has been in there for 8 days now . Went in on 2/12/2106 at 3:30 as of 2/19/2016 a inspector showed up to look at the head but it was not the way he wanted it - to be able to take pictures of it -so I am waiting again . I am now doing a lot of research on this problem. Let me added that before the jeep- I drove a 1989 bronco II for 3 years with over 100,000 when I purchased it and NEVER had a engine issue. Then I purchased a 1996 GMC jimmy with over a 100,000 miles and NEVER had engine problem and drove that until transmision went out at 206,000 miles. Then I purchased a 2000 pretty blue Chevy Blazer with 27,000 miles and still driving it on mail route today at 185,000 and NEVER had the any troubles with the engine. UNBELIEVABLE 16 years !!! ALL of the miles on the blazer are mail route miles. I never had another vehicle drive. SO WHY I am having to replace TWO heads on A 2012 Jeep ???? So if any one out there can explain WHY- to me- PLEASE do. I need some advise on what I should do about this . I am still making a $563.00 a month payment on a very unreliable vehicle. I purchased a brand new vehicle to be dependable and it is not- at all. Down time kills me. At least I fought for a warranty and it is not completely coming out of my pocket. But what I want is a dependable vehicle.

From what the dealership is telling me it will be another week before I will or might get my jeep back . Two weeks for a head replaced ? Because it is a warranty job? Have to go through all the hoops??? I have drove used vehicles for 16 years of my job and had less major problems with them then I have had with my BRAND NEW JEEP. Thanks for reading -

- Sherry K., Chelsea, IA, USA

problem #12

Aug 012015

Wrangler Unlimited 3.2L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 63,231 miles

MIL has been off/on for under 3 weeks. I've spent >$600 at 2 separate places w/o a fix. Code initially read, thermostat and misfire in coil #4...had both replaced; still MIL indicates misfire in #4 and multiple misfires..get it fixed. MIL now on indicating bad head. WTF! I heard the 2012 JKUs had a recall on the 3.2L V6 for this. True? If not, any legitimate knowledge on estimated cost to repair?

Thanks,

Jerry

- 1eight09, Prattville, AL, USA

problem #11

Aug 172015

Wrangler Rubicon 3.6L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 27,725 miles

I'm concerned that my dealership is only rebuilding the #2 cylinder (cylinder sleeve, piston rings, etc) as the fix. I'm hoping this is an actual fix and this issue doesn't crop up again later. Most others here report their dealership replaced the entire left head.

- Scott H., Duvall, WA, USA

problem #10

Apr 152015

Wrangler Rubicon 3.6L

  • Manual transmission
  • 24,053 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Vehicle with less than 25,000 miles should not have an engine problem. Engine light came on, checked the book and it indicated it might be a gas cap problem. However, when taken to check the code, it is a misfire on cylinder #4.

Can't find recall information through Jeep, but found a Jeep forum where there are multiple complaints on the same problem. This should be a recall! Bought this vehicle with 22,000 miles and have put only 2,000 miles on it since purchase. Light came on several months after purchase.

- mamisalami, Pecos, NM, USA

problem #9

Jul 092014

Wrangler Sport 3.6L V6 Pentastar

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,500 miles

Engine has had a ticking for some time and is progressively getting louder.

Chrysler has announced warranty extension to all VIN#s affected by the known issue. Extended warranty covers engine up to 150K Miles and is in specific response to the "head replacement" issue.

My vehicle has an aftermarket exhaust and it not as noticeable but most folks report progressively worse MPG until the CEL "Check Engine Light" is thrown.

My local dealer knows the problem but will not perform the repair UNTIL the CEL is thrown (Chrysler won't reimburse them)... SO until then I pay more and more $$ for gas due to poor MPG. Basically all Jeeps w/ 3.6L engine that are affected with this problem are ticking (pun intended) time-bombs.

Ideally, I want to get it fixed and taken care of when they have the part (which can be rare) and when I can live without my vehicle for some time. Chrysler care and dealer confirms it WILL need repair at some point but the plan to to wait till last possible moment.

My luck it will happen at the most in opportune time and the part to repair it won't be available.

- stuckinpnw, Lake Forest Park, WA, USA

problem #8

Oct 102014

Wrangler Sport Unlimited Pentastar

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles

2nd time head has to be replaced, we love the car but it is aggravating not having a reliable Jeep.

- bobmirf, Staten Island, NY, US

problem #7

Aug 072014

Wrangler Unlimited 3.6L

  • Manual transmission
  • 28,325 miles

Full disclosure, this is a rebuilt title so I understand there is no warranty on the vehicle.

For the last 1000 miles the Jeep has been running a little rougher than usual and the CEL would come on and then go out in about a day. This last week the light came on and stayed on so I checked the code P0302 - Misfire Cylinder #2. I looked the issue up on the web and nearly every 2012 Wrangler with P0302 needed the left head replaced. I was worried as I realize there was no warranty on the car. As I dig deeper into it I find that this is not an isolated case and is in fact a manufacturing defect that has affected several 3.6L engines across many platforms. So much so that they issued an extended warranty to cover the left cylinder head. This alone tells you it is a known issue/defect. The only reason it is not a recall is that they determined there is no safety issue with it. You ask me extending the warranty on the head itself is just one rung below recall without all the cost.

I go to my dealer, tell them the issue and they confirm it needs a new head. We discuss that it is a rebuild title and that it would cost $1800 to repair. Dealer was great and tried to talk to Jeep for me but was told no warranty. They gave me the number so I could contact customer service. The person on the phone was pleasant but I could tell her hands were tied and she had to tow the company line. I asked to talk to her supervisor who again was pleasant and went along company requirements but said they could not help. I asked if there was anyone I could talk to above customer service and she said yes but she would not escalate it I had no options but to pay to have work done.

Look, I completely understand why Jeep cannot warranty a rebuilt vehicle. My issue is not with this, I have replaced an axle seal myself as I know there was no warranty. All I am asking is that they stand behind their product, not the warranty. They have a known factory defect that has affected a large population of vehicles. That defect would be there whether the Jeep had been rear ended or not. There is overwhelming evidence this is an issue. Stand behind your product. At the very least let me talk to someone that can look at the situation and make a decision. I have had a courtesy repair on my 2012 Challenger on an issue that was not normally covered on the factory warranty or the lifetime warranty I purchased. This could have been done or at least meet me halfway. Lea Ann in customer service wouldn’t even let me talk to anyone else about it and there is no way I can find to get above her to talk with someone.

I am a diehard Mopar fan. With only 2 exceptions when I was young and dumb in high school I have only ever owned Mopar products. I have a 2012 Challenger I purchased new, the Jeep, Ram truck and a convertible road runner. Always thought Ma’ Mopar would stand behind their products better.

My case number is: 25458935

- mb69rrconv, Mulvane, KS, USA

problem #6

Mar 282014

Wrangler Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,001 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Check engine light came on so I took to dealer and he acted like no big deal. Don't worry it is covered under warranty. We will have it in about a week. Now after almost 2 weeks I am told the head is on back-order. Don't worry it will not cost you anything. Well I am on my second week in a rental car at $175 a week?? Not very good customer service!

- kimbosold1, Pelham, AL, USA

problem #5

Aug 012013

Wrangler

  • Manual transmission
  • 40,000 miles

The engine light went on. I brought the jeep into the dealer. They ran the car on their diagnostic machine and reset the engine light and told me to pick it up. They didn't do a thing and evaded what was wrong with the car.

- Diane H., Conway, NH, USA

problem #4

Aug 122013

Wrangler Rubicon 4 Door 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,598 miles

On Monday, August 12, 2013, I drove my 2012 Jeep Rubicon 4D, to get gas. As I arrived, I heard a beep and then saw that my "engine" light was on. I then filled up and zipped over to the Jeep dealership, located in Poway, California. Once I parked in "Service" (at 3:30) the female service writer would not come out, so I went in and explained that I had gone to get gas and the "engine" light came on. She said this may occur due to the gas cap. I then clarified that I had not yet put gas in the vehicle. I was basically asked to return the following day, so I made an appointment. Dropped of the vehicle by 0730 hours. One hour later a different female service writer let me know that a Cylinder Head needed to be replaced. I was told this would take about two days, so I opted to leave it for the repair. I was then provided a ride home, without an offer for a rental.

Reflecting back, I bought my Jeep (loaded with leather) in late January 2012. The Midway Dealership absolutely stated there were no problems. In November 2012 during a regular oil change, at Rancho Jeep in San Diego, Richard, a service writer, said Jeep has a problem with the cylinder heads in the 3.6 engine, like mine. There was no issue noted at the time.

In late July 2013, Poway Jeep did an oil change for me. A few days later, I heard a ticking noise from the engine and thought it might need oil, so I checked the dip-stick and the oil level was fine. I went on a one-week trip to Utah and within a few days of returning, that's when the engine light went on.

There has been no notifications from Jeep regarding this issue. In fact, I had to ask Poway Jeep if there were any recalls and was told that a transmission line needed to be replaced. Why is Jeep not notifying the customer of these issues? I did not move and my numbers are all the same.

I believe the Jeep administration has known about the defective cylinder heads for quite a while but have not made notifications directly to the consumer because this has to do with cost. Shame on Jeep for taking advantage of the "little guy." I paid a lot of money for my well-taken-care-of vehicle, but Jeep seems to care only about their bottom line. I am on foot now while my 2012 Jeep is in the shop for repairs. In my opinion, Jeep lied to everybody who bought a vehicle with a defective engine and I do not appreciate this.

- Tim W., San Diego, CA, USA

problem #3

Jun 042013

Wrangler Rubicon 3.6L

  • Manual transmission
  • 15,000 miles

Bought 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon a month after I had it I heard a ticking on the driverside of the motor at the drive thru.. I had the same problem were the dealer won't fix until a light or warning shows up.. Guess they don't care if your stranded somewhere. After I had taken the two piece part of the top off and it had rained and this thing was like NOAH'S ARK drivers side floor completley soaked and the latches all leaked onto my nav screen. I told the service guy he could keep the napkin I had jammed up there to prevent my nav from getting ruined..I new I should have kept my Nissan Pro 4x.. Had to take in twice for the top leaking and the dealer left my floor soaked so I had to bring it back again so they could rip the carpet out..

- loudogg77, Wonder Lake, IL, USA

problem #2

Jan 012013

Wrangler Rubicon 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,500 miles

Jeep is expecting the local techs to rebuild my engine and expect that the consumer to be OK with this. I expect that they give a retail trade on this or replace the entire engine. This was a purchase that I wanted to keep forever, I'll never purchase another Jeep.

- Robert H., Independence, KY, US

problem #1

Jun 212012

Wrangler Sport 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,500 miles

I purchased a new vehicle and make payments on a new vehicle just to find out that the manufacturer had a problem with the factory in Mexico and it made over 600 vehicles with garbage in the head, so all the vin numbers built in a two week period in that plant have to have the left head removed and replaced. I am pissed that i have to have a dealership strip my engine down and replace the head and then put it back together correctly. most of the techs at dealerships are kids. how do I know that they didn't go out and smoke a joint before they take my jeep apart, how do I know if they aren't on drugs. or have the experience to strip a vehicle down and rebuild it. then I find out that the dealerships were aware of the problem and they even had vin numbers but they still left the effected vehicles on the lot to be sold and I bought one the next month after the manufacturer informed all the dealerships. What am I suppose to do? I have to let them tear apart my jeep and trust they will put it together properly. I am not comfortable with that. don't buy a jeep

- Marita H., San Leon, TX, USA

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