1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0Liter from North America


Let the buyer beware. I should have checked here first or with Consumer Reports


It's a bad choice for snowy, freezing country because the door handle push button freezes, the rear door and rear window latches freeze and the remote entry won't work in below zero temps.

The defroster takes forever to clear the windshield.

The rear wiper blade is a dealer only item for $24.

Heat never gets to the back seat passengers. Neither does air conditioning. It should have had rear vents.

Sound system sounds good unless you're in the back seat. Rear door speakers only put out bass and can't hear the front speakers from the rear seat without blasting the driver.

The wipers always miss part of the windshield. I've replaced them, added tensioner to give them more pressure on the windshield, but at freeway speeds they lift off and miss in the middle. I use winter wipers with the rubber snow boots.

After starting the car, as soon as you apply the brakes a warning flashes "rear lamp failure" and lights up the rear lamps on the console display. We are using the correct bulbs and nothing is burnt out. The previous owner complained of the same problem and was told it might be a short in wiring or a faulty computer. Too expensive to have serviced, but it never stops flashing the warning.

There is 3 recalls on this. The shifter can slip out of park. The gas tank sensor can be faulty. The rotors should be replaced.

We had the first two recall items fixed at the dealer at no cost to us. They said that the computer records showed that the rotors had already been done.

Ever since we bought it, it's had a problem with shake and shimmy in the front end that only happens when you are braking as it finally slows to 45mph. Above and below 45 it has no problems. This problem was slight at first and now feels like the wheels will fall off when it happens. Other drivers seeing it say the wheels wobble violently and look like they will fall off.

We've had it to the dealer who could not find any problem, but suggested balancing and rotating the tires so we had them do that. We took it to a mechanic that said it was the track-bar and stabilizer rods so we had them replaced for $400. The extended warranty did not cover that. We got an alignment. We put new shocks on. Nothing has fixed it, it only gets worse and there is a slight clunk as something shifts when you turn right. There is no visible wear on steering and suspension parts, nothing that you can wiggle or shake loose.

Now I hear in the news that Dodge Durango wheels might be prone to fall off? Is this a related problem? Does anyone know why my Jeep shakes? We're afraid to drive it.

General Comments:

It rides like a Jeep. All the time. We have new shocks, leather seats and you feel every bump in the road. I can't take my parents in it (in their 70's) because every bump in the street jostles them.

The good news? Four wheel drive is great in the snow.

It's fun.

The undercoating and plastic side panels keep it from looking like all the other rusty cars in NY state.

Gas mileage is good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 3rd March, 2004

16th Aug 2004, 15:32

The shake you have in the front end.. I had.. took to the shop and had them replace the front axle you joints it will also make a clunk or wine when you go around corners.. another thing to have replace is the front steering stabalizer shock.. they are 14.00 bucks at napa.

Good luck.

21st Feb 2005, 21:20

I have an 88 Cherokee with the same problem. I replaced both steering arms, and the track bar. The problem didn't go away. It has 245,000 miles. I'm putting a transmission in it now, the original just stopped working finally. Any way the problem most likely is the control arm bushings. Really cheap fix. The control arms are only $12 and $18 dollars, from Quadratec. And next week I will be buying a 97 grand Cherokee Laredo with 128,000. I know the original owners of both of these jeeps and they both have good records. I know a few others with Cherokees and CJ's with 4.0liters all with over 200,000 miles.

19th Jun 2005, 12:42

I have had a 93 grand and a 97 Grand with the same problems. The wobbling while braking can be a faulty master brake cylinder. They are cheap and easy to replace if you do it yourself. Another problem is the horizontal stabilizer. These are not very expensive to fix and will solve the problem. This car is good if you can fix it yourself as the dealer will charge way too much.

16th Aug 2008, 12:51

OK, so you have to replace your rotor. Do it yourself because they're 25 bucks each and it is easy; you take off your tire, then your caliper, and the disk will come off. Then you need to replace a track bar bushing - 16 bucks. A checker that should work because mine did that.

1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 Liter from North America


A good all purpose utility vehicle


The front brake rotors were warped. Fixed by recall.

The passenger power seat fails to recline properly. This is caused by a stripped gear on the seat back. I haven't had this fixed yet.

The pneumatic actuator for the defroster failed at about 80,000 miles. I fixed this myself.

The Infinity Speakers blew out on the left side. I fixed this with a hot melt gun.

The overdrive solenoid on the transmission malfunctioned at about 98,000 miles. I replaced this myself.

General Comments:

I think this vehicle has given reliable service for the money spent (About $27,000).

I have read with great interest the other comments posted. I find it interesting that the problems are common.

I suppose the big difference for me is that I rarely take my vehicle to the dealer for service. A perfect example, when the vehicle displayed a "Check Engine" light, I took it to a local shop and had them plug in the computer to diagnose the problem. It clearly showed a defective overdrive solenoid. I took the vehicle to the dealer and asked for an estimate on the repair of that item. After a three hour wait and $40 estimate fee, I was told I would need a new transmission. I decided to buy the part at a local parts store and fix it myself.

Actual costs to make the repair - $160.

Suggested dealer cost for the repair - $3000.

In summary, I think the car is a very reliable, utility car. I feel that it is overpriced given the utilitarian ride and comfort level. Problems are easily solved if you know your way around a toolbox or have a good mechanic friend. The dealers are absolutely not to be trusted.

It should be noted that I don't trust any dealer, Jeep or otherwise.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th December, 2003

26th May 2004, 21:12

What were the symptoms when you had the transmission trouble?

7th Jun 2004, 10:26

My driver-side rear speaker just blew out... how did you fix yours with a hot glue gun? Thanks.

23rd Jan 2005, 14:24

When I read this post, it almost seemed as if I was reading about my own Jeep. My driver's side rear speaker has also blown out, my passenger seat's power seating doesn't work properply, and I have had the same problem with the "transmition." I just wish I knew how to fix some of this stuff like you do.

6th Feb 2005, 11:36

Utilitarian ride and comfort level? Wow. Come take a ride in my '64 Scout sometime. No radio, ac, power steering/brakes/anything, manual trans, etc. I'll show you utilitarian.