Repairing vs. Selling


I’m currently driving a 2000 Jeep Cherokee 4-door (with 4WD), with 180,000 miles. It works for driving around town, but I’m considering upgrading to a newer car with better mileage.

I took my car into the shop to do a vehicle inspection, and they found a couple of things that need to be done, but nothing major (a total of less than $1000 in repairs). Here’s a list of the repairs they suggested:

Fix a leaking valve cover gasket: $134 + tax
Fix a leaking oil filter adapter o-ring: $84 + tax
Fix a leaking front pinion seal: $109 + tax
Replace broken rear liftgate struts: $112 + tax
Fix rear hatch latch: $69 + tax
Service A/C System: $89 + tax
TOTAL: $597 + tax

Here’s my question: if I were to go ahead with these repairs, would I be likely to get my money back by selling the car? lists $2800-3800 for selling a 2000 Jeep Cherokee with ~180K miles. I’ve never sold a car, though, and I’m wondering if it’s worth putting $600 into the car.


Liftgate struts are cheap, here’s some for $14. Easy do-it-yourself.,carcode,1363384,parttype,1404

Snug down the valve cover bolts a little bit, maybe they’re just a little too loose.

Not sure, but this might be a rear hatch latch for $38,carcode,1363384,parttype,14240

Don’t put much money into this, you won’t get it back when you sell it. Although if $89 gets you from no AC to a working AC, that’s a good deal.

If you make these repairs, you will have less trouble selling it. In that sense, it is worth it. You may sell the Jeep for the same price if you don’t make the repairs, but it could take several weeks to sell it. If you make them, it could sell in a week or two. How much is that worth to you?

Get the AC working, that will pay off.

The broken latch on the lift gate might turn off some buyers, a fix will make it easier to sell.

Lift gate struts are sold at most auto parts stores and they might install them for free. Most struts are about as hard to change as a wiper blade.

I can’t really comment on the oil leaks, but most folks don’t expect a 2000 (12 year old) car to be totally leak free. If a leak leaves a puddle overnight, I’d fix a leak like that.

I believe that I would have the work done. A buyer will subract more than your cost when they see all the things that are wrong with the Cherokee. You could save some money by replacing the struts yourself but they can be a liittle tricky if you are not mechanically inclined. Jeep Cherokees still have a ready market and are easy to sell in most areas of the country. Jeep made a losing decision when they replaced the Cherokee with the Liberty.

Assuming the OP’s Cherokee is the 4.0, the repair list is all pretty typical–but pretty minor in the grand scheme. Just tightening down the valve cover bolts may slow down the leak up there. I recently tightened up all the bolts on the 4 liter on my Wrangler–valve cover, oil pan, and timing chain cover–and was surprised how loose some of them had gotten.

I agree with missleman; the Cherokee is my benchmark against which I compare all small SUVs. If i owned one I’d never let it go. Old, proven technology, strong engine with great longevity (219k on mine and counting), and easy/cheap to work on. And gas mileage isn’t very far off from current small SUVs. The Liberty’s gas mileage is only 1-2 better.

You won’t get any more money back repaired or not. Leaks are par for the course on a 2000 Jeep and built into the $2800-$3000 value.

If you are selling it yourself the liftgate struts and working AC make the job much easier.

@CCCommander35 I understand that a CRV, Toyota RAV4, Chevy Equinox or even Jeep Patrit are not off road worthy. However they have MPG that absolutely trumps a Cherokee/Liberty.

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

I’ll probably try to take care of the trunk on my own, and get the A/C serviced. But I’ll see how the leaks develop (currently, no gigantic oil trails following me around).

@raj, Yup, I should’ve qualified that by saying it was in comparison to similar 4x4 SUVs with similar capabilities, not car-based crossovers–which have much better gas mileage as they should. The availability of a small, durable, 4x4 low range SUV, not to mention with an available stick shift, is pretty well gone by now, hence my reminiscing about the Cherokee.

To the OP, I think you’re absolutely on the right track. The A/C and the liftgate are the only things most buyers will care about. A few oil drips here and there come with the territory…and as mentioned, built into the book value.

I agree as long as the vehicle isn’t going through a lot of oil contributed to the leaks leave it alone. Before tightening the bolts to the valve cover check the recommended torque. Valve covers have a low torque value to keep from warping the valve cover and the bolts may bottom out and break if tightened too much.

The a/c being in working order will greatly increase the chances of selling the Cherokee quickly if/when you get ready to sell it. Most people look at a non working a/c as being a huge expense and in many cases is, but if all it needs is having the system evacuated and recharged it will be much more comfortable while you continue to use it plus it will increase the likelihood of a quick sell without the buyer depreciating the value because of a non working a/c system.

Lift gate struts are usually pretty inexpensive and easy to replace by someone with minimal mechanical abilities. Repairing the lift gate latch might also be worth the extra expense since MOST people will come nearer noticing and be more concerned about functionality than an oil leak here and there, when in reality they should be more concerned with oil leaks. I’m not familiar with working on Jeep Cherokee’s, but is the lift gate latch something you could repair yourself? If so buy a new one or go to a salvage yard and buy a used one and repair it yourself.