Jeeps have been a part of my life since I was a kid; my parents had them when I was growing up so my love for the brand came at a young age. We used to take our weekend outings in our Jeeps and at other times I would just join my dad and we would head to the mountains or to the dunes and go wheeling for something to do. Well, I didn’t know then but the Jeep vehicle and brand would become something that I would not only use as an entertainment outlet, it would also become a brand that I would end up building a lifestyle and career around.
Having now owned several Jeeps over a thirty year period I knew that when it came to picking an SUV that would be dependable while living in Arizona a Jeep would be the only choice for me. My search began in 2005 and in a short time I was able to locate a 1996 Grand Cherokee Laredo with the 5.2 V-8 motor. With close to 95,000 miles and a price tag of $4,500 it met my needs and expectations of what I would get at that price. Knowing it had what most would consider “high mileage” I planned to use it for hauling people around in the mountains and high desert areas while working as a real estate agent I planned to use it and literally throw it away when I was done. If nothing else I could turn it into another one of my wheeling rigs or simply haul it off and figure it had served its purpose.
Knowing my intentions for the Jeep I basically kept up on regular maintenance but didn’t pamper nor baby it in any way since I knew I would get my money out of it and dispose of it or sell it when it had served its purpose. As time went by and the miles stacked up I was impressed with how well the Jeep held up under what I threw at it, how it kept running smoothly, dependably and comfortably. Soon the miles surpassed 150,000, then 200,000 and recently I watched the odometer roll over a quarter of a million miles and the Jeep is still running strong. I have no hesitation to climb into it and head to any part of the country knowing and trusting that it will take me where I’m headed without fail.
As the miles stacked up and the Jeep was getting the use that it does there have been a few repairs that have been needed along the way. A CV axle, the drive-line needed rebuilt after the u-joints had enough wear and a track bar but all of my repairs have been of the “wear parts” nature. A few other things that one would expect to have to replace on a vehicle with that many miles were the brakes, tires and a windshield or two but other than that has just been regular maintenance. The Grand Cherokee still looks much like it did when it rolled off the production line with the exception of a CD player and tinted windows other than that it is bone stock proving that it was built to be used and built to last.
I intend to keep driving my Jeep and keep up on the regular maintenance and see just how far it will go. This Jeep is just one of the many reasons that drives me to continuously stay a fan of the brand. I highly recommend it as a reliable vehicle for anyone who wants a well rounded SUV that can be relied upon year around in all weather conditions and just about any type of terrain you would want or expect a 4 wheel drive to be able to handle.
Now that I think about it; it might be time for a face lift for this Jeep, including a small lift and some new wheels and tires… making it ready for the next 100,000 miles.