Find Some Jeeps For Sale On Craigslist? Here’s My Experience… 5 Things To Watch Out For Before You Buy A Craigslist Jeep

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to yourself.

Before you start exploring Jeeps for sale on Craigslist, read this first!

Buying a car is a nerve-wracking experience — no matter how you do it. But the number of ways for things to go sideways when Craigslist is involved have been well-documented.

jeeps for sale on craigslist online - craigslist jeep

With so many used Jeeps out there, dismissing a huge market like Craigslist seems a foolish thing to do.

You can come away from a Craigslist Jeep transaction happy — I’ve done it before — and there’s no doubt the website would be out of business if all the sellers were shady.

I’ve also gone through some less-than-savory ordeals with vehicles purchased off Craigslist. I’ll share some of those stories now, in hopes that you can benefit from my mistakes.


#1 – Beware Of Craigslist Jeep Scams

While I’ve never personally fallen victim to one of these Craigslist car scams, I have absolutely spotted them! I’ve even seen people posting the names of online scammers — to prevent others from being scammed.

Spend enough time on Craigslist and you’ll develop an eye for it. And remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are some clues that maybe you’ve just entered the scam zone:

  • A price that’s way too low
  • Mileage that seems way too low
  • A photo that clearly doesn’t match supposed location (mountains in Miami)
  • A price that’s bizarre ($1,523)
  • Grammar that’s mangled beyond even the typical Craigslist norm
  • A personal e-mail address pasted into the main photo (nobody does that!)
  • An unbelievable listing that’s been active for only a few minutes (the scammiest listings tend to be the newest because they haven’t been flagged yet)

Here’s how to buy a car on Craigslist without getting scammed.


#2 – Be Cautious About The Jeep’s Mods

We’ve all come across that cherry specimen of the Jeep we want, in the color we want, with all the right mods already done. “It’s even got a snorkel, I never knew I wanted that, but now I’ve gotta have it!”

Stop the train. You have no idea who installed those mods and what their quality of work is like.

Plus, you can bet the seller has factored their value into the sales price. That means you’re paying extra for a Jeep that could be rife with mechanical gremlins, just waiting to come out and play.

I once bought a Jeep from a friend of a friend. Because we had a mutual acquaintance, I let my guard down about the fact that he’d installed new wheels and tires. After a quick test drive, I bought the Jeep, only to find out shortly thereafter that it had an awful rub and would need completely new wheels and tires to drive correctly. Needless to say, it was a mistake I learned from.

Another time, I was looking at a Jeep from a seller who listed everything he added with the price of what it cost him. At first I thought this was helpful — until I started doing my own research. The first thing I saw was that he installed a new gas tank, and this apparently cost him $300. A quick search found that it really only cost about $100 for the exact same part. And here he was acting like I was getting a good deal from it!

Here are the 10 most popular Jeep mods you should inspect closely.


#3 – Know What To Look For In A Jeep

As with any car, there are specific issues that are common in Jeeps.

And you’ve probably got a price range that you want to stay within and an idea of what your ideal Jeep would cost to own.

Try to reconcile these things by making a list of the issues you’ve got to avoid in your Craigslist Jeep purchase.

A good place to get educated on these types of issues is buyers’ guides. Fortunately, there are plenty of Jeep buyers’ guides out there for the Wrangler.

After my first bad experience, I got smart and studied up before going Jeep shopping the second time (years later).

You’ll come away knowing the difference between the Sport, Sahara and Rubicon trim levels, why 6-cylinder Jeeps are preferable to 4-cylinders, and much more.


#4 – Get A Mechanic To Inspect The Jeep First

I know enough about a Jeep to check and see whether the oil is fresh and it’s running decent rubber.

But when it comes to peace of mind, I can’t say enough about the benefit of getting a professional inspection by a good mechanic. Jeeps are not overcomplicated cars, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a shop to inspect the vehicle for you.

An inspection will range from $100 to 200, and it’s the best money you’ll ever spend on the Jeep. Consider it preventative maintenance — do not skip this step!

A mechanic can tear into things you just can’t when you go to look at the vehicle. They can:

  • See where fluids are splashing on things in your engine bay and tell you what it means
  • Comment on the integrity of driveline and suspension pieces
  • Make sure the computer system is functioning properly
  • And much more


#5 – Be A Sceptic When Exploring Jeeps For Sale On Craigslist

Jeeps are robust vehicles. I’ve enjoyed several of them. But one downside to purchasing a used Jeep is that of all vehicles — a Jeep is likely to have seen some trail time.

craigslist jeep for sale - has it been offroad much?

A Craigslist Jeep that was completely abused may have the cosmetic appearance of one that just got a dusting from some easy trail running recently. It’s very difficult to tell.

So you need to have your guard up when you buy a Jeep — on Craigslist or anywhere.

Here are 6 things to look for before buying a used Jeep.

My advice to you, as a Jeep buyer, is don’t forget you’ve got options. If someone won’t let you inspect a vehicle or you’re put off by the mods they’ve done, take your money elsewhere. Be uncompromising — there are tons of Jeeps for sale out there. Getting burned on Craigslist is a high price to pay for being impatient.

Happy hunting!


I'm an automotive journalist, YouTuber, and blogger who babbles about Jeeps, RVs, and other vehicles on the Internet. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my wife and 2 sons, working on our home & lawn, and watching the Pittsburgh Penguins.

4 thoughts on “Find Some Jeeps For Sale On Craigslist? Here’s My Experience… 5 Things To Watch Out For Before You Buy A Craigslist Jeep

  1. This write shouldn’t be listed just for cragslist as it’s been said that even dealerships have been fooled into buying used jeeps to place on their lots for resale. There are official jeep dealership who have been in business since the early days and know about jeeps. Then there is the user car dealerships that do not have an official jeep salesmen on site to verify that the jeep they are selling hasn’t been tampered with. Clearly when one buys a “used” vehicle, it’s not going to be a cream puff. The main thing anyone should look out for when it pertains to a jeep wrangler is that how has it been used or abused in this case. Simply servicing a jeep with no prior knowledge of the jeep’s options, these used car dealerships tend not to know what to look for. Here are a few things to look for when purchasing a used jeep. Check to see if it has any odd ball lift or modifications as these have been modified by the owners unless otherwise stated. Each jeep model year has a list of issues. Know the year and those issues which company that particular year. Here’s a for instances. The most common issue for the “TJ” jeep model is the straight 6 down pipes or manifold as these tend to develop a crack right at the 3×3 down pipes. These cracks can spread causing the weld to come lose. When this happens, the jeep’s engine will lose compression and back pressure. Thus performance will suffer. We’re not saying a “cream puff” isn’t out there, but be prepared for anything and if you’re unsure, take someone along with you who knows jeeps and knows what to look for.

    1. Yeah, and these scammers are even evolving and getting more creative. All beginners and even regular buyers should take extra careful dealing with offers that are too good to be true.

      1. This is why you should always have someone who knows the item you’re considering buying to help you out in dealing with the offers.

  2. This is clearly not limited to craigslist. people should be wary of their agent. It pays off when you do some background and credibility checking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts