I have a 2000 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L with about 180,000 miles on it. I’m currently in the middle of a road trip, and today my car’s been stuttering as I’ve started it up. After the car sits idle for a while, it stutters as I turn the key (“chug-chug-chug-chug-chu-chu-chu-chu-fail” is about how it goes). When I take the keys out and put them in again for another shot, it manages to start on the second or third try.
It runs OK once the engine gets going, and after I’ve been driving for a while I can turn it off and on again, without any problem. My main questions are: (1) Is this likely an issue with the starter, alternator, or something completely different? and (2) just how serious is it? If I can get the car running can I make it another ~1500 miles, or should I try to find a dealership before making it back home?
Thanks for your help.