Long-term update: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8
Every time I test a brand new luxury “crossover” 4×4, I realise just how brutish, noisy and unrefined my aging Jeep is. But then I remember that none of these new-fangled “crossover” thingies can even think about going off-road. And that should count for something. The 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee is chugging along rather decently in its 7th year.
It went in for its first proper service recently. It was my first time visiting a dealer service centre. Their people were friendly and respectable.
The Jeep went in for a major service, at around 125,500 km. I found the rates to be ridiculous for simply changing a bunch of fluids, but I wanted to get the 4×4 fully checked out at least once since I bought it.
It came out to around Dhs 2,300 in what amounted to a replacement of all fluids, including an engine flush. And that didn’t even include the brake fluid. And it takes 2 days. Or 3 in my case, since no one bothered to get back to me on a Thursday. Make that 4, with the Friday weekend.
The new fluids didn’t really change much. The transmission jolt from ‘P’ to ‘D’ is still there. So is the rear differential whine. Maybe the steering is slightly softer than before.
Since then, one rear-door lock finally crapped out, after a year of making squawking noises. I just hobbled along to Sharjah and bought an original new door-lock mechanism (apparently imported from the Abu Dhabi dealer at discount prices) for Dhs 225, and got an electrician friend to install it. The Dubai dealer had quoted me Dhs 400 overall, and they didn’t even have it in stock. I also threw in a new set of original wipers for Dhs 80.
So far, this Austrian-built Jeep has had minor, fixable and expected problems. I hear much worse things from owners of previous-gen Jeep Cherokees and brand-new Audi Q5 crossdressers, although the owners of these have the temporary pleasure of being covered under warranty.
Original Mileage When Bought: 117,500 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 129,700 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 16.8 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 250
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 2380
Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 4000