CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Too much money spent on repairs?

I have a 96 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo which I bought over 2 yrs ago. At that time it had 46,000 miles on it and was a one owner vehicle. I paid 5,000.00 for it and have spent close to 9,000.00 to keep it running…At what point do I stop putting more money into it. ( Yes, I was very stupid and did not take it to be checked out by a Jeep Dealer before I bought it.)

Usually repairing is cheaper than purchasing. In hindsight in this case, that is probably not true. I would drive it, keep it up maintenance-wise, until a major repair requirement surfaces. I would also analyze my expenditures and establish a break point now, rather than later, as to when I junk the car if a repair costs more than $xxxx.

Without knowing what the $9K bought you, it is hard to provide any specific advice.

If you could provide some details as to what exactly has been repaired and the amount spent on certain repairs it may be determined that your vehicle is not as problematic as you think.

Overcharged for repairs, repairs actually were needed, are you including wear and tear, maintenance type items in this total,current mileage, etc could all make a difference in determining if the Jeep is really a pain in the neck or not.

the 9,000 bought me a new front end and the assorted pieces that go with it, new brake line, corroded wires, belts, radiator, water pump…those are some of the major expenses. Have done regular upkeep, new tires, oil changes etc. Didnt mention that the Jeep is awaiting another tow…not starting…again.
thanks for you input.

I see your post was added about the same time as mine.
You cannot count tires, oil changes, belts, etc, etc. if considering the vehicle a Lemon. That’s normal wear and tear you have to keep that up with any car.

“New front end” can mean a lot of things but based on a radiator, water pump, brake line, etc, etc. you have a long way to go until 9 grand.
Without knowing the exact details to be sure, my inclination is to think your Jeep is not the problem, but being sold some unneeded and overpriced items could be.

That vehicle should not need a front end rebuild unless it was a flood car (Hurrican Katrina for instance) and “corroded wires” can sometimes be translated to mean “we fixed something very easily but are charging you a bundle for repairing corroded wires”.

As to the current not starting, that’s impossible to make a guess on. Not cranking, dead battery, engine cranks over but does not start, etc, etc.
If it’s the former, maybe an aged battery and/or dirty cable ends. Again, that also falls into the “normal maintenance” category.

The good news is, that much of what you mention are one time expenses for a car (radiator, water pump, wire repair, brake lines), but as OK4450 mentioned, that doesn’t come close to showing $9K in repairs. I would expect the no start situation to not cost a lot to diagnose.

At this point I would also look at regular maintenance items (plugs, plug wires, filters), to make sure that those items are ruled out on the no start diagnosis. A weak battery or the corroded cable ends OK talks to can also cause no start problems in winter.

You really need a subscription to Consumer Reports. One look at the reliability ratings and you would not have gone anywhere near that wreck. You can sell it any time you want to. The Jeep Cherokee should never get to a mechanic to be checked out anyway. The whole shop would have made fun of you for a week. A Jeep dealer? That’s like having Midas check your brakes. You need four brake lines, four rotors, four calipers, four hoses and a master cylinder.

It is not how much you have spent, but rather how much more you may need to spend that is the question.  You may have now fixed everything that you are going to need to fix for a long time. I am no fortune teller so I can't tell you what will be coming.  However I don't believe your car is listed as one of the most reliable of cars. You also may find a good mechanic to go over it and give you a professional opinion of what you may expect in the future. 

The other writers have offered good advice.  As they have said don't confuse over charging, or maintenance items. But do consider the possibility of flood damage.

Thank you all for your input…just got the Jeep back from my mechanic…the ignition switch and cylinder needed to be replaced. Its the odd things that keep adding up. For now…will keep it running.