The Jeep Wrangler JL DIY Fluid and Brake Inspection, along with the 3.6L DIY oil change and tire rotation are regular maintenance tasks that any Jeep Wrangler JL owner, with the 3.6L engine, can perform themselves, and save a lot of money every year by doing so. The CheaperJeeperTV Jeep Wrangler Maintenance Schedule video and article illustrates this, and highlights other possible DIY maintenance items that can also be done by the keen Jeep owner. This article below will quickly outline the basic steps on how to perform these routine maintenance tasks, for those considering the significant savings potential. The significant savings and the pride that comes from looking after your own jeep make it worth it.
DISCLAIMER: Any and all content provided on this site and YouTube channel is Cheaper JeeperTV’s opinion and for educational and discussion purposes only. Seek a professional’s advice where appropriate for your vehicle.
Cost Breakdown Illustrating Savings from the DIY 8k Maintenance Service
An FCA certified dealer will charge $167 for the every 8,000 kilometer( 5,000 miles) maintenance service. As stated, this is essentially an oil change, tire rotation and brake inspection. You can do this work easily yourself for ~$41(CDN) in total, just by buying the oil and filter on sale, and doing the labour yourself. That is a savings of $126. If you drive ~ 24,000km (15,000 miles) per year, that would mean three 8,000 km services, so you would be saving over $378 (CDN) in one year, which would be $3,780 over a 10 year period of ownership. That’s a significant amount of money left over for you to buy…maybe something for your Jeep?
The next series of articles will describe the steps involved in the performance of this regular 8k service.
PART 3 of 3:
Jeep Wrangler JL DIY Fluid & Brake Inspection
Amateur Tips and Instructions (As seen on CheaperJeeperTV)
Materials required to do a Jeep Wrangler JL DIY Fluid & Brake Inspection.
There will be no tools or parts required to inspect the fluids & brakes
Why Do the Jeep Wrangler JL DIY Fluid and Brake Inspection
The purpose of doing the Jeep Wrangler JL DIY fluid and brake inspection every 8,000 kms is to determine if certain systems are functioning properly. It will also help to determine when or if any other type of service might be required. With a bit of background, you can do the inspections yourself to determine if say a brake service is necessary, and save yourself the cost of the inspection. Most of the times a service won’t be required, and you will have saved yourself the money for each inspection.
The fluids that you should regularly inspect in your engine compartment are;
- oil level
- power steering fluid
- windshield washer fluid
- brake fluid, and
- coolant or radiator fluid
It’s best to inspect the fluid levels on a level surface. Not everyone’s driveway is level, so if you do your inspections in the driveway, make sure you take the angle into account when observing the levels.
The oil level is something that is easily determined by way of observing the dipstick. Simply pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert, then pull it out again to observe the level. The oil level should be located between the minimum and maximum mark on the dipstick.
Should you observe oil levels below the minimum mark, you should have a mechanic investigate this situation further.
The Power Steering Fluid
Although the Jeep Wrangler JL has electric assist steering, there is still a motor that requires lubrication fluid. The fluid level should be checked when the engine is cold, and should fall between the minimum and maximum mark on the reservoir. The minimum and maximum marks should appear on the front of the reservoir. On my 2018, it is actually on the back. I have the max tow package which comes with a larger battery, so perhaps they have to mount it differently on that battery bracket, or maybe FCA was just using up old reservoir stock from the prior Pentastar engine.
Should you inspect the power steering reservoir and observe the fluid is below the minimum level, you should have a mechanic investigate the situation further.
Windshield Washer Fluid
The windshield washer fluid reservoir is a white semi transparent plastic reservoir through which you can observe the fluid level. Always make an effort to keep this reservoir topped off to help keep your windshield clear and have a safe view.
The brake fluid level can be observed through the semi transparent plastic brake fluid reservoir. The min and max marks are embossed on the reservoir and can be difficult to see. They are highlighted on the image below.
The level should never go below the minimum level. As brake pads wear thinner, and the caliper piston is extended more, more brake fluid occupies the caliper cylinders, and the brake fluid level in the reservoir will get lower. A low brake fluid reading could indicate wear of the brake pads, or a leak in the brake system. If the brake fluid level is nearing the minimum mark, you should have a mechanic investigate this further.
Coolant or Radiator Fluid
The radiator fluid overflow reservoir is how you can check your Jeep’s coolant level. It is a semi transparent clear plastic reservoir with hard to see max and min marks embossed on the front of it. They are highlighted in the image below.
When the engine is cold, the fluid level may rest at the minimum level. If it’s running warm, it may rest at the max level. Should you observe low coolant levels below the minimum mark, you should have a mechanic investigate this further.
So that’s most of what is involved in the fluid levels inspection. Let’s nnow look at how to so the brake inspection.
Essentially, if you are in the middle of rotating your tires, it just takes a quick glance at your brake system to inspect the brakes. You essentially just want to check that;
- the brake pads still have enough material on them,
- the brake pades are wearing evenly,
- the rotor is not showing any unusual signs of wear, and that
- there are no brake fluid leaks at the brake line or brake caliper cylinder.
The images below is of the driver’s side rear brakes on a Jeep Wrangler Sahara JL. An opening in the calliper, highlined by the coloured dashed lined circle, is where you can inspect the condition of the brakes. The image on the right highlights the different components of the brake caliper system that are to be inspected.
The image below is intended to illustrate the conditions of the brake components when you inspect them. In proper functioning brakes, you will see ample brake pad material, wearing relatively evenly, with no leaking of brake fluid evident. Brakes that will require a service will show minimal brake pad remaining, or severely uneven wear, or possible brake fluid leaks evident upon inspection.
Essentially that is all that is involved in a brake inspection. This is clearly something you can do yourself when rotating your tires. Some people include the extra step of disassembling the brake pads, cleaning them, and lubricating the calliper pins and other components. If this is of interest for you, stay tuned to CheaperJeeperTV, as a minor brake “service” video will be available soon.
CONCLUSION: Jeep Wrangler JL DIY Fluid and Brake Inspection
So hopefully you can see that the three main components of the maintenance items that should be performed every 8,000kms(5,000 miles) are things that you can do yourself, and save a significant amount of money doing so.
- The oil change on the 3.6L Pentastar is a very easy engine to work on. The easy access of the oil filter, and the 0W20 Full Synthetic oil which can be found regularly for almost 50% off, simply encourages you to do this job yourself, and save a lot of money.
- The tire rotations, a necessary item for the large tires on the Jeep Wrangler, will ensure your tires wear evenly, perform better and last longer, saving you even more money.
- Since you’ll have the tires off, you might as well inspect the brakes, and fluid levels while you’re at it, and be confident of the operation of your Jeep’s brake and other systems.
When the time comes that an actual repair must be done at the shop, you will be confident in what is actually required, as you will have inspected your Jeep’s systems regularly and know what is going on. Oh…and did I say you will save a lot of money as well?
I hope you enjoyed the every 8,000 km maintenance service articles. Please also feel free to check out the corresponding videos on CheaperJeeperTV for more highlights and tips.