99 Jeep Wrangler Sahara-lifted and big, better gas mileage? Or, fix and sell?

My husband loves this car, and I feel like it’s got the most ‘intuitive’ or ‘natural’ feeling shifter arrangement for me. However, it eats gas, and since I’m going to go back to college and be driving 40 miles or so a day.

Sarah (Saharah…) gets about 11-13 mpg while I’m driving, although this depends on what quarter of the gas tank is full for some reason. Hubby says he can get it up to nearly 20-21 mpg because he’s better at shifting. Ok, maybe he’s better at shifting, but that’s a big difference.

EPA rating for the vehicle is 16 mpg-ish, last I checked. It’s got really old (sun-cracking) 12.5x33’s on it, and is lifted somewhere around 4 inches… Got it used last year, and the previous owner (as a high school male) seemed to care more about getting a stereo than say, the dashboard light, heater/vent system, or turn signals working. We’ve got some of that straightened out (a new bulb helped the dashboard!), but I’ve got to-do list with this vehicle. I’m on the fence whether I should try to figure out the few technical issues, and then try to sell it, or get new small tires (and probably smaller rims) to get the gas mileage up.

Any advice would help. Anyone else out there have a similar vehicle, what gas mileage are you getting?

I’ll probably be writing again to figure out the heater/vent situation (only get a slight breeze, and only if it’s on feet), and why the turn signals will sometimes stop working, then magically fix themselves.

Oh, yah. Found the Childton for Jeep Wranglers 1987-1994 at the library, but they don’t have the volume for 1999… is there a big difference?

Thanks for any help/advice.


Sorry folks for leaving out some cruicial stuff. Lemme see…
She is an ‘inline-6’, which my hubby says is super-durable. I like that.
She’s got a soft top (don’t know if that makes a difference to the drag).
Although it’s implied above, Sarah is a manual shifter.
Odometer reading 117428, and that makes her due for an oil change, and probably everything else I’m sure.

I’m leaning towards station wagon/mini-SUV’s as we have 2 large dogs. If I re-home Sarah, any suggestions? I like the looks of the Toyota Matrix (or maybe a Prius?), the older Subaru Foresters, and possibly the Outbacks. I just wish they’d make the rear windows bigger in some of them, I like seeing when I back up!!!
Thanks again.

If you are going back to college and driving 40 miles a day you need a small 2 wheel drive car, unless you have a very big bank account.

I would sell it and get something like a Mazda Protege, Hundai Elantra or Sonata, a late model Ford Focus, or a clean low mileage Chevy Cobalt. All these will cost you less per mile to operate.

The Sahara is not really a good commuter car and will easily tip over in emerency lane changes.

P.S. Forgot about your dogs. See if you can find a low mileage Ford Taurus Station wagon. Lots of room in the back. A 2 wheel drive Matrix would also be a good choice, as would a Mazda 3 Hatchback, and the new Hyundai Elantra Touring.

I would stay away from used Subaru vehcles; they will cost you as much or more than the Sahara as they age.

Lifting a vehicle and adding upsize tires kills mileage. But even in standard trim this wagon is terrible. 16-ish you say?

I too would suggest an economical commuter buggy. I commute 31 miles to work, and even at 26-28 mpg the cost of gas is killing me.

Nix the getting a smaller car unless the smaller car is free. The cost of a newer economy care will probably pay for your fuel throughout your college term.

Get 33x9.50r15 tires instead of the 12.5. Lots of useless meat there.

I’d expect 18+/- from that in a sensible commute. I can’t see how your shifting could alter it. It’s relatively numb.

My wife owns the same thing. We have the dual tops.

There will be parts for it when the sun runs out of hydrogen.

The engine, properly maintained, is easy for 250k miles. Neglected, it’s 250k miles with consumption.

Keep it and buy a $300 beater 2nd Gen NEON for your commute.

Hubby wants to do the keep the Jeep and get a cheapy commuter car… I’m thinking about that but that means more insurance and title and stuff. I guess it’s number crunching time! If it wasn’t snowy here most of the school year, I’d consider getting a little moped or similar. Thanks for all the great advice, I’m still listening. Has anyone else had high maintenance costs on Subarus? I’m also looking into the bus schedule and the cost of a monthly pass. I can always kill hours at the library or YMCA gym…

Thanks to everyone, we’ve come to a decision of sorts–Keep the Jeep, and get a bus pass for $30 a month… I just hope my classes can be squeezed between the hours of bus opperation! Anyway, now we’re tackling the issue with the heater… we’re thinking it might be the blower motor because we can’t hear anything when the vents are turned on, but the air conditioner still sounds like it turns on, and the fuse to the system is fine. I’ll start another conversation for that issue… thanks again!