Is buying a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee worth it?

I plan on buying a Jeep this summer from a dealership for $5,995 with 98,000 miles on it. My question… is buying a car that is 20 years old, even if it is low mileage and a Jeep, asking for problems? I think I might have the car looked at by my uncle who is a mechanic to ensure it is in working order when I buy it but what about down the road? I plan on keeping the car for a few years.

Keep on good terms with that uncle… but first do some research before you decide what to buy. The asking price for this one seems way, way too high. What does this Jeep have that you want?

Jeeps are rugged, but not the most reliable. Add 20 years, and yes, you’re asking for problems. As you are with any 20-year old vehicle. But even more so with a Jeep.


I wouldn’t spend 6 grand on a 20 year old jeep (when I checked, I’m seeing prices between $1,800-$3,350 in my area)…it’s a 20 year old vehicle, almost old enough to legally drink. 20 year old vehicles are ok as a weekend ride, but not daily drivers. They aren’t reliable enough to be so, especially with a (likely) unknown service history

I have trouble with a dealer having something on their used lot for that long. Especially as overpriced as this seems to be.

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That price is high. I live near D.C., and the Limited 4WD with the V8 in clean condition is a little over $3800 at the dealer. Look on line and see if there are other, similar GCs available and what the seller wants. My guess is that they want a huge premium for low mileage, but Edmunds says the premium is about $800. When you do the web search, go a few hundred miles away. Since it’s a virtual trip, it won’t cost you more to shop on line for comparison prices. If you live in a big metropolitan area, you won’t have to check far to find several GCs for comparison.

I know someone at work that is sold on Jeeps. He’s had them for 30 years and won’t buy anything else. If this GC has been well maintained, it might work for you. Typical price for a prepurchase inspection is around $100. If you are close to your uncle, he might do it for free. If you aren’t real tight, buy him lunch and a couple beers for looking at it. That’ll be a lot less than $100. Since he is a relative, remember the value of a relationship. If there is something he misses when you buy a new ride, you might weigh the relationships value in your response.

My answer, based on what the others have said, is simple. No.

This particular model year of JGC is more reliable than most. Do you have access to service records? I would consider buying it if you can document maintainence and talk the price down a little.
The 6 cyl engine is better than the V8 in these.

This is kind of a silly discussion. The OP says they will buy this thing in the summer. The vehicle will be sold or sent to the auction before summer arrives.

I once considered buying a 2006 Jeep Liberty. The engine compartment looked spacious and easy to fix. It looked liked it was designed to accommodate the DYIer or the curbside mechanic. I couldn’t buy it because it was a little to high. It wouldn’t fit under my raised garage door. If you’re going to buy an old car, the kind that’s best is the one that’s easy to repair.

This dealer has had the JGC since last summer. Only problem that I’ve seen so far with it is that the back hatch doesn’t stay up. It’s an easy fix. Another thing is that the drivers seat is a bit tilted but again, easy fix. I want to talk him down to maybe $4000 if I can.

If this is a buy here pay here lot than look elsewhere. My good friend who had several used lots for years would never keep a vehicle overpriced for that long. This whole thing just does not add up. Even at 4000.00 it should not have those problems.

Why do you think that? I checked the 2003 Consumer Reports car issue and all year Grand Cherokees are worse or much worse than average. And the JGC is the only Jeep on the “Do not buy” list.

Avoid it!

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If you just want it for driving on the road, buy something else, but if you want a capable off roader the Grand Cherokee has the best road manners of any Jeep. They are less reliable and tippier than most cars but most capable off road vehicles are.

Consider yourself lucky, that you did NOT buy a Jeep Liberty

without going into any details, let’s just say it would have been one of the biggest mistakes of your life

At some point in the past I was toying with idea of Cherokee around the same year, having old inline-six 4.0 liter engine.

After looking to number of them, I decided I need to reassess my plans, as Jeep seem not to be stellar in reliability, especially at such an old age.

I ended up buying a 2006 Nissan Pathfinder, for the price quite close you want to pay for 1998 Jeep…
Condition-wise, I was able to find a one in much better condition and with much less problems I would see need an immediate fix… at least in what I’ve seen of Cherokes I was looking at.

I would say, 1998 is way too old to pay so much $$ for this trouble.

Go find something newer and for more reasonable price?

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Last year a customer traded in a 1998 Grand Cherokee, dark green exterior. It was in show room condition, a shame to let that vehicle be wholesaled but we don’t sell vehicles that old. I suspect the wholesale value was $1000 to $1500 but I would expect that the used car lot would be asking 2 to 3 times that.

Ten years ago when I worked at a Jeep dealer there were a half a dozen employees that drove first generation Grand Cherokees, they were able to buy average trade-ins for $1500 to $2000. These Jeeps were 10 to 12 years old and proven, Jeep owners don’t care about Consumer Reports ratings.

The vehicle is worth what someone will pay for it, most people here wouldn’t consider buying a used car, much less something old and unusual.

There’s no way I would pay 6 grand, or even 4 grand, for a 20 year old Jeep.

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At that asking price, they will have it on the lot six summers from now. If your u see problems now, it I should not in clean condition. I can’t imagine this GC is worth $3000, and then only if it is a loaded Limited model.