99 Grand Cherokee fix or dump?



My 99 Grand Cherokee (V-8) has 280,000 miles (all mine). Just spent $1700 on new oil pan, bearings, muffler, tailpipe, brakepads.

NOW he needs a new rear differential and radiator = $2500.

Mechanic tells me that engine and transmission (both original) are good for another 100,000 miles. I drive 35,000/year. Should I spend the $2500 or give up and buy a new Jeep?


If you are just going to get another Jeep, then you probably ought to fix this one. At your rate of mileage your mechanic thinks you’ll get another 3 years out of it (100/35) approximately. Where else are you going to get 3 years of vehicle use for $2500? A new Jeep will cost that much in payments in less than one year. Clearly you like having a Jeep, or you would not have said you are thinking of buying another one, and it is virtually always cheaper to fix what you have than to buy new(er).

Now, if you said you were tired of this car and wanted something different, I’d say you might want to consider a new(er) car. I’d recommend a nice mid to large sedan for that kind of mileage per year. Do you really need 4WD? But, really, if you like Jeep then fix what you have.


Agree, fix the Jeep if the body & paint are still OK. After 3 years, gas prices will be up sharply; then you can go for the frugal mid size sedan, so the fuel costs won’t kill you.

I also agree.  Fixing is almost always the cheaper option.  Consider that if it needs that new differential and radiator, then as it is not worth all that much as either a sale or trade.  

Those kind of repairs are not easy to predict. and having a string of them does not mean you will have more, in fact it really means you are likely to have fewer.  

If you like it, keep it,  but start putting the money you would be spending on payments away to put towards your next one, whenever you do need one.


It’s done. Economically toasted. Not true of course, but it’s going to be a non-driver a lot more often.


Purchase a hybrid. The extra $$ that you will get from not feeding it to the pump would be worth it.35,000 mi a year @ 17 mpg is 6,176.46 a year in fuel. hybrid @ 45 mpg 2,333,34 per year in fuel $3/per gal. That’s a savings of 3,843.12 per year. Sounds like its time to buy a hot tub!


I say keep it but price the repair around. 2500 sounds a bit much for a radiator and differential repair.
I suppose the diff. repair could get pricy if it was being rebuilt from one end to the other including a new ring/pinion gear.

If the vehicle were mine I would find a differential from a reputable salvage yard. Some yards will even do an installation for a nominal fee and guarantee the whole thing.
Differentials around here run about 150-450 complete and depending on year, etc.; plus labor.


The OP has given no indication that a hybrid will be worth the extra money. Lots of brake time is required for a payback on hybrids. 35 K/year is a lot and might well be mostly on non stop interstate or primary highway so there is no benefit to a hybrid beyond Gee wiz.


Agree. Enough Grand Cherokees crash each year to present a good supply of used running gear. If you had a Range Rover, on the other hand, a second mortgage on your house would be in order.


Thanks all, for your input. For reference: We live on a mountain, with a killer driveway and 100" of snow per year. We drive Jeeps. Wouldn’t even consider replacing him with a car.