Jeep Wrangler Identification

1987-1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ

1997-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ

2007-2011 Jeep Wrangler JK

Wrangler Identification

Many Jeep owners know they own a Wrangler, but aren’t aware if their Wrangler is a YJ, TJ, or JK. This articles purpose is to help Jeep Wrangler owners and enthusiasts to properly identify the different Jeep Wrangler models. The most obvious way to know the difference between the different Jeep Wrangler models is by the different year ranges. Jeep Wrangler YJ’s were manufactured between 1987-1995, Jeep Wrangler TJ’s were manufactured between 1997-2006, and Jeep Wrangler JK’s were manufactured from 2007 to present. There is no such thing as a 1996 Jeep Wrangler. If you purchased a Jeep Wrangler in 1996, it is most likely an early release of a 1997 model TJ.

Wrangler YJ

The Jeep Wrangler YJ replaced the Jeep CJ in 1987. The new design featured a wider wheelbase, slightly less ground clearance, and additional comfort amenities. The Wrangler YJ also came with leaf spring suspensions similar to the CJs except with wider leaf springs and Jeep parts track and sway bars to assist with handling. YJs are most identifiable by their rectangular shaped headlights which were a first for Jeep Wranglers and were met with much controversy from hardcore Jeep enthusiasts. Aside from the new Jeep parts grill design, the rest of the YJs body was very similar to the CJ, allowing many aftermarket Jeep parts and Jeep accessories to be interchangeable with little or no modification.

Wrangler TJ

The Wrangler TJ replaced the Jeep Wrangler YJ in the spring of 1996 being released as a 1997 model. The Wrangler TJ replaced previous Wrangler’s leaf spring suspensions with a coil spring suspension for a softer ride and better handling. Jeep also returned to the iconic round Jeep parts headlights when designing the Wrangler TJ.

Wrangler JK

In 2007 the Jeep Wrangler JK was introduced with a totally redesigned body and was slightly larger than the Wrangler TJ. For the first time in Wrangler history, a 4 door version was now available known as the Unlimited. The 4.0HO inline 6 power plant was replaced with a 3.8L V6 engine. The Jeep Wrangler JK comes with plastic front fenders, grill, and a 5 link Jeep parts coil spring suspension. This Wrangler JK is the most refined Wrangler model to date with power windows, locks, optional navigation, a three piece modular hardtop option, and side air bags.

Wrangler Models and Trim Levels

Here is a brief breakdown of the different Jeep Wrangler models:

1987-1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ - The Jeep Wrangler YJ’s featured rounded fenders, one piece windshield assembly, factory roll-bar, and half or full hard doors. The Wrangler YJ looked very similar to the design of the Jeep CJ7 except for its wider frame and front end styling consisting of rectangular headlights, turn signals, and a square shaped front grill.

Trim Levels Included:
  • Laredo
  • Sahara
  • Islander
  • Renegade

1997-2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ - The Jeep Wrangler TJ featured round headlights, turn signal lights mounted on the front fenders, a spare tire with brake light center mounted on the tailgate, and a coil spring suspension adopted from the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Wrangler TJ was the first Wrangler model to feature Jeep parts coil springs on all four corners.

2004-2006 Wrangler TJ Unlimited: 10” longer wheel base

Trim Levels Included:
  • Wrangler X
  • Sport
  • Sahara
  • Rubicon

2007-2010 Jeep Wrangler JK - The Jeep Wrangler line was completely re-designed with the release of the Wrangler JK. The Wrangler JK featured a 3.8L V6 power plant with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, plastic front grill, fenders, and a Jeep parts coil spring 5 link suspension, giving this new Wrangler improved ride quality when compared to earlier model Wranglers. The Wrangler JK is available in both 2 and 4 door models.

2007-2010 Wrangler JK Unlimited (4-Door): 20.6” Longer Wheel Base

Trim Levels Include:
  • Wrangler X
  • Wrangler X – S Package
  • Sahara
  • Rubicon

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