1997 Jeep Cherokee in Mexico

I live in Mexico and one of my friends is considering trading her 1990 Ford pickup for a 1997 Jeep Cherokee with 204K miles. She asked my opinion, but since I have been driving a 1997 Hyundai Accent since…er…since I bought it in 1997, I really don’t know what to tell her. The Jeep rides better than the pickup and it’s more comfortable, but 204K is a lot of miles. How can we tell if it’s going to last?

Keep in mind that since this is Mexico we are not likely to get a detailed history of maintenance and repairs, or really any history at all, so anything I need to know I will have to find out by looking at it. Does anyone know how to tell if the timing belt has been changed? Is there a dipstick for that?

Oh, and the seller and my friend all only speak Spanish, and I don’t really speak much Spanish at all, so whatever advice I get here, I will have to attempt to translate, so if you know the Spanish for “timing belt” that would be greatly appreciated.

Banda de Tiempo. And the Jeep engine utilizes a timing chain, not a timing belt.


How many miles are on the pickup? And it’d be a straight trade? Is it a Grand Cherokee or a Cherokee Classic? Auto or Manual (both)?

All things being equal, unless they need the extra room, I’d stick with the known commodity, the Ford.