1996 Jeep Cherokee 4 litre V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Needs to be updated


The rear-view mirror has fallen off three times.

The electrics are faulty and have caused various problems with the engine imobilliser and starter motor.

The car will sometimes not start for 20 minutes or so. The engine doesn't even turn over.

The radiator pump has has been replaced twice.

General Comments:

The car is wonderful to drive when its functioning properly.

It has performed extremely well in both the city and the country, especially on long distance drives.

It is comfortable and has ample luggage space. The rear seats are slightly cramped, but the front cabin is very spacious.

There have been many problems with the electrics and the engine that have been both costly and frustrating.

The car has been towed to the service centre 5 times in 3 months due to overheating and the electrical faults.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th January, 2006

13th Apr 2007, 14:36

Put this tranny in neutral, then start it.

18th Feb 2010, 06:27

Get your inhibitor switch fixed, that's what is causing it not to turn over in park. They gum up; the radiators commonly crap out because they are narrow and wide; it is something you will always have problems with!

1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0 from North America


Only in a Jeep!!


Head gasket leak. Cherokees are known for this, and the hood release was rusted and broken when I got it.

General Comments:

This is a great vehicle, the 4x4 is great and never got stuck so far, and I do take it off road almost every month. Keep in mind that if off road is your thing, get an auto tranny; it's more heavy duty than the 5 speed, and I can't tell you how many guys burn their clutches while off roading. Driving in the snow is no problem.

The 4.0L 6 cylinder has plenty of power for on and off road. Very reliable engine and bullet proof. They all leak oil and the headers will crack, but this is a known problem in the Jeep community.

Seats are not perfect, and aftermarket seats will be my choice. They are noisy after a few years, and the wires inside will bend flat.

Overall the best 4x4 I ever owned so far.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th June, 2005

24th Jul 2005, 17:58

With 220,000+ miles on my 1996 Cherokee 4.0 it has neither a oil leak, head gasket problem or a cracked header. They don't "all" do it.

10th Nov 2005, 14:18

Glad to hear you love your Cherokee!

Yes, they are great.

My 1996 Cherokee Country with the 4.0 H.O. has never had an exhaust leak (but it was reported as a common problem for the main seal leak on 1994 and prior models) and she has no oil leaks. She has 170,000 miles and perfect compression. Runs like new and very dependable.

Only problem I am experiencing, (there is a TSB out about it), is when I have to get on the brakes hard the front propeller shaft will rub against the exhaust pipe due to old bushings in the lower control arm.

When you fix your exhaust leak... have you considered the Banks Torque Tube Header?

7th Aug 2008, 15:52

My manifold was cracked when I bought mine. It was cracked right near the collector. I had my neighbor weld it back up. Still leaks a little but it sure beats spending $200 for a replacement or trying to find one on ebay.

23rd Sep 2010, 15:54

XJ fan here! The non-renix motors regularly crack at the exhaust manifold, and lots of older Cherokees leak a little. Well worth it.

1996 Jeep Cherokee Country 2WD 4.0L in-line 6 cylinder from North America


It is fun and reliable, so far


I bought the Cherokee used, knowing it had a couple of small oil leaks.

The day I bought it, the torque converter failed. I negotiated with the wholesale dealer, and he agreed to pay for the repair. However, his mechanic did not do a proper job of replacing the torque converter. Apparently there is a bushing that joins the converter to the crankshaft, and it was the bushing, not so much the converter itself, that was causing the problem. I had a transmission specialist fix this, plus install a new torque converter, and have had no problems since. It was $600, total, for that repair. I also had them install a remote transmission cooler because it is hot here in Texas, and I anticipate doing some towing in the future, and because I feared that the torque converter problem could have put some extra wear and tear on the transmission. The transmission itself is very strong, has never caused any problems. The transmission and converter have been fine for 17,000 miles now.

The oil pressure sending unit (a sensor) failed, apparently because a mechanic bashed it with a wrench while doing an oil change (the sending unit is located directly above the oil filter, so when wrenching the filter off, be careful Jeep owners). It cost me $12 for the new part, and I installed it myself. I now do my own oil changes, so this will not happen again. Note that, with a Jeep, you don't have to put it on a ramp or lift to change the oil! Just roll under there with a pan and drain the oil.

I repaired one of the two oil leaks (see first sentence). The valve cover was leaking, so I got a torque wrench and some RTV sealant, and resealed the valve cover. There are no more leaks from there.

The second oil leak was coming from the oil filter housing. This is a common Jeep 4.0L engine leak. I paid a mechanic ($50) to replace the O-rings ($3 for the O-rings) that are inside the filter housing. The housing no longer leaks.

General Comments:

I'm very impressed with the performance of the Jeep. It is very quick (for a truck, at least), and I've made some modifications to make it a little quicker--larger throttle body, and better exhaust in terms of quality and architecture. I did this to improve low-RPM throttle response, not because I wanted to break speed records.

Above all, I like the fact that the Jeep is simple to repair. I've never found any other vehicle to be so easy to repair at home, so it saves me money over other vehicles. I've found a lot of support in Internet forums (that is how I diagnosed and repaired the oil leaks, and the oil sending unit). I've learned more about vehicles with this machine than I ever expected to. I change all the fluids myself, I adjust things to improve performance, and I've learned what brands of parts I can trust to work. These are things I cannot do on my wife's Buick, nor could I do these things on my old Chevy (my previous car), at least not without special tools or a hydraulic lift.

I chose the 1996 model year because of the reviews on this survey site. I expect the Cherokee's drive train to hold up for many more miles. It seems like, once I fixed the few early problems, nothing else significant is likely to happen.

The ride is stiff, like a sports car, but the steering is not as tight as a sports car. Since it is stiff, it is also bumpy, but bumpy is fun in a Jeep. If it gets to be annoying, I suppose I could replace the shock absorbers or the suspension with more forgiving parts.

The weight distribution in this two-wheel drive model is 52% front, 48% rear (a four-wheel drive model is probably 54/46), so it handles well, but has a high center of gravity because it is an SUV. Nevertheless, it doesn't feel as top-heavy as other SUV's I've test-driven. From what I've read, the Cherokee has a skid-pad maximum of 0.77g, which is quite good for an SUV (a Honda Civic, by way of comparison, has a skid-pad rating of a little over 0.80g). Lower-profile tires would probably improve the handling even more, but that would defeat the purpose of having a vehicle with high ground clearance.

Good-quality tires are important, I learned. The tires that normally come on the Cherokee from the dealership do not stick to the pavement well in rain or snow, though they are fine on dry pavement. I bought new tires, and traction improved dramatically, even though I have only two-wheel drive.

I have taken it off-road. I expected the ride to be even bumpier than on-road, but somehow it wasn't. The Jeep felt at home crawling over large bumps and generally following the shape of the terrain. It wasn't like hitting potholes in the city pavement. It was so much fun that I regret not buying a four-wheel drive Jeep. In fact, I will probably replace my wife's Buick with a four-wheel drive Jeep, soon.

I have leather seats. The driver's seat was worn down a little by the previous owner, whereas all the other seats look like they were never used. So the driver's seat could use some new padding or something, because there's virtually no lumbar support left. Instead of fixing the seat, I bought a special pad that fits over it, which I only use on long-distance trips. The other seats are perfectly comfortable, however, so I assume they were great when new. The driver's seat has power adjustment controls (6-way) that allow a great range of movement. The adjust-ability makes it easy for me to get comfortable during and before a long drive. I understand that people who take their Jeeps off-road don't like to have leather seats because they just suffer damage from the dirt and general hardship of the trails. But for my two-wheel drive city machine, I sure like the leather.

Gas mileage has been consistent at about 17 miles per gallon in city driving, and 20 miles per gallon on the highway. That is expensive, but in my estimation it is worth it for the reliability and fun of owning this Jeep. I get poor gas mileage when my tires are low on air, so I keep a close eye on them. And synthetic motor oil improved gas mileage by almost 1 mile per gallon, on average (I was getting 16.5 miles per gallon before, and now I'm getting 17.3, in average city driving).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th April, 2005

9th Mar 2006, 12:08

Hello, again. I am the writer of the review above, back with an update. I should point out, by the way, that this is a _1996_ Cherokee, not a 1995, as it seems to have been filed incorrectly in the system.

I'm still very pleased with my Jeep, now at 122,000 miles. I still have no new oil leaks to report, since the time I had the initial leaks fixed. No change in ride dynamics; still stiff & bumpy, but fun.

I did develop a leak from the radiator, which I soon learned has a plastic core. I tried to patch the plastic, but it didn't hold. So, I easily replaced the radiator myself, with an all-metal, 3-row radiator. The replacement took less than 45 minutes, & I didn't spill any coolant on the parking lot, because I put a drain pain under the radiator while I worked. All it took was a lot of unbolting and unhooking, then a lot of bolting things back down. The Jeep runs cooler with the larger radiator.

Another problem is, I've seen a decrease in gas mileage over time, now down to 15mpg city/18.5 mpg highway. Back when I was getting 17mpg in the city, I thought I could do better. I thought I'd improve gas mileage by trying to replace the O2 sensor. When I did that, the check engine light came on. I later found out that the ground wire (of the wiring harness, not the sensor) had broken loose where it was supposed to be attached to the engine block. It was probably broken before I installed the new sensor, but I'm not sure. Fixed that, check engine light went away. Gas mileage has not improved though. It appears to burn a great deal of gas at idle, possibly running rich, so I get terrible city mileage, but acceptable highway mileage. Some research has led me to believe that a sensor somewhere is misreading the air/fuel ratio. Right now, I don't have the time or money to track down which sensor it is, so I'll probably drive it the way it is.

Modifications added since my original review: 62mm bored throttle body, air intake manifold heat shield (the hot exhaust pipes are located right under the air intake, so the shield keeps the air cooler, resulting in a little bit more power), extra large oil filter, and a receiver-style trailer hitch. It is possible that the larger throttle body and the heat shield have contributed to the decrease in gas mileage, but the mileage actually seemed to decrease back when I tried to replace the O2 sensor, so the changes do not seem to correlate. I may try a different brand of O2 sensor, when I have the time and money.

18th May 2012, 20:12


I'm reading here to see if I can figure out what is causing my 96 Jeep Cherokee (standard trans) to randomly feel like the brakes are sticking, or something is holding it back when I accelerate from a stop. It acts this way, I give it more gas, but it takes its time and then seems to "pop" or "clunk", and then it accelerates the way it should.

I decided to make a comment because I've noticed several people have noted what their Jeeps' gas mileage is. My Jeep is stock and I can get just under 30 mpg if I keep the highway speed at 60 (and RPM is under 2,000.) This Jeep was a US Forest Service vehicle --- so, yes it is that goofy green!

19th May 2012, 19:56

Your gas mileage does seem low, especially since your Cherokee is a 2WD. The 4.0 engine is in my opinion one of the best engines ever built, but fuel economy isn't a strong point. Still, I would expect you to get better than even the 17-20mpg you were getting with a 2WD version - if it were a 4WD I would say that's close to normal, but if you're going to get mileage that low, you might as well have 4WD.