I would do the following:
- Run the VIN through Jeep's website to see if there are any outstanding recalls. I think the only recall for the Hemi-engined models was to reprogram the computer so that the foglights shut off with the headlights when shutting off the engine while the headlights are in full auto mode. The site is at the following link, and the spot to enter the VIN is in the lower left hand side. http://www.jeep.com/owners/index.html
- With the build date in hand (found on the driver's door jamb I think), look over the following site for TSBs that might affect your Jeep, then keep those in mind when you drive it this weekend to see if anything there is an issue with yours. Link is here: http://www.wkjeeps.com/wk_tsb.htm
- Common things to look for (that are covered under TSBs/recalls/satisfaction notices):
- fogs not shutting off as described above. Easy to check. Turn the headlights on to full auto mode, turn on the fogs, then shut the engine off. If your fogs are still on, your Jeep has not been reprogrammed.
- Delayed engagement of the transmission when the Jeep is stone cold. Easy to check. With the Jeep totally cold (left overnight is best), jump in, start the engine, and immediately put it in gear and step on the gas. If the revs rise and you sort of oooooooze forward, then the TSB has not been done. It doesn't hurt anything, and idling for 20-30 seconds will allow the torque converter to refill with fluid, so it's not a big deal. The repair is a relatively simple matter of replacing a couple of filters in the transmission...on some early build WKs, the anti-drainback valve in one of the filters is faulty and allows transmission fluid to drain out of the torque converter. Covered under a TSB.
- Check your radio reception. Some early build WKs have lousy radio reception...during assembly, some brass shavings got into an antennae connector and can screw up reception. The fix is installing some tape over the offending connector in the antennae wiring. Covered under a TSB.
- Check for a smelly AC unit, particularly after shutting the AC off but with the fan still on. Covered under a TSB...they basically set off a disinfectant/deoderizer bomb inside the vehicle and allow the AC to run for a long time on several different settings to try to kill any bacteria in the system.
- listen for a clicking in the steering wheel. The plastic part in the steering column that turns off your turn signals can get rough and cause a clicking sound. Covered under a TSB. Annoying yes, serious no.
None of those are serious, and all are covered under a TSB.
About the only other things that I can think of that are not covered by TSBs (yet) but some owners have noticed are the following:
- a surging under light(ish) throttle and moderate revs. Mine used to do this every now and then, but hasn't done it in several thousand miles...I've got about 13,400 miles now, and it stopped doing it around 7-8,000 miles. I kinda just chalk it up to a break-in thing.
- a slightly loose feeling in the front end accompanied by a little bit of a clunk over some bumps. Others here have found the outer sway bar link bushings to be the culprit...I guess the bushings just loosen up a bit. $18 part.
I think most here (myself included) have found it to be a reliable vehicle...some of the very early build models had some minor issues (described above), but nothing that would leave you stranded and cost you a boatload of money to fix. Mine is a very early build (October 2004), and has been very solid, reliable, and enjoyable.
Hope that helps.