Reader Question: Keep Jeep?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Joe asks: My question regards a 2003 Jeep grand Cherokee. I bought it used a few years ago with 122,000 miles on it. For fun and for transportation to and from work. I only lived two miles from work, so I was putting very low miles on the vehicle. My life has since changed and now I find myself putting 1,000 to 1,200 miles per month on the vehicle. And it now has  132,000 miles on it. Going forward I do not want to spend a bunch of money on a different vehicle, but I also do not want to go broke putting money into a declining asset to keep it running. It’s running perfectly well right now. So, for the next for seeable future, Would it be worth it to me to just run the tires off of it and hope to get 200,000 to 300,000 miles on this beast and know that some money will have to be put into it, versus buying some other vehicle, used, or nearly new, and going that route? I really like the Jeep, it suits me for my weekend fun, camping trips doing a little bit of towing and etc. Specifically I was thinking about perhaps  getting a Toyota Tacoma because of their amazing reliability, but their prices even used are just crazy high? Thank you.

My reply: I’m assuming the Jeep is paid for. If yes – and given it’s proved itself to be reliable to date – my decision were I in your shoes would be to continue driving it. First, because you’re  not spending anything on it beyond fuel and so on. No massive outlay of cash – and no guaranteed monthly payment.

Second, because past is often prologue with vehicles. A vehicle you’ve owned for awhile that has been reliable will probably remain reliable. At some point, sure, you’ll have to spend money for something – maybe a water pump, maybe an O2 sensor (and so on). But these will be occasional payments.

Here’s my recommend: Put $200 in a “just in case” fund each month. Then when something comes up, use that money to pay for it. If it doesn’t come up, you will still have the money.

My bet is you will still have the money two years from now – or at least, most of it.

120,000-ish miles isn’t much these days; odds are very good you’ll get at least another 50,000 miles out of this Jeep before it needs something really expensive – and it may not.

And 50,000 miles from now, you will very likely be able to sell it for 80-85 percent of what it would sell for today – and then you can go shopping for a replacement.

That’s an almost free lunch!

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. If it’s got the 4.0 straight six, it’s supposed to run almost forever. I dunno yet – my 88 still has less than 90K.

    There is a “Cherokee forum” with all sorts of technical advice from guys who live and breathe those things. Can I share the link here ????


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