Long-term update: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8

Long-term update: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8

So the Jeep has been running reasonably for the past year. I was also happy that I had a lifted vehicle with full-time all-wheel-drive during the recent rainy weather when many cars crashed and drowned. We have more or less kept up with maintenance, as we will list below. And then a problem started cropping up, with warning signs that we ignored until it was too late.

The last oil change was done at some point near 130,300 km, as we got the semi-synthetic oil replaced at some “Mobil” branded outlet for Dhs 140. I also got it externally detailed for Dhs 450 at some outfit, to remove cement spots and clear out some of the fogginess in the headlights, both of which afflicts anyone who owns a car in Dubai.


All this time, some of the tail-lamp bulbs sometimes quit working due to loose connections, and we keep opening up the rear lights to pile in some foil and connect everything again. And they work for a few days before becoming loose again. And then we open it up again and fix the connections. And they become loose again. And so on and so forth. I refuse to buy expensive new lamp units, since at least half of the important lights always work. I am still trying to devise a foolproof fix.

From around 130,000 km, the Jeep occasionally refused to start on the first few tries, simply making a clicking noise. However, it always did start eventually. We scoured the internet and realised it may be a starter motor on its way out.

You see, sometimes starter motors develop dead spots in the armature, characterised by a clicking sound when trying to start the car. The car may eventually start up after several tries. What happened was each time we turned the key, it makes the starter move a small amount until it moved away from the dead spot and then the car started, and would continue to start until the starter landed back on the dead spot again.

By around 132,000 km, the Jeep refused to start completely. Thanks to the full set of gauges in my Jeep, the built-in voltmeter told me my mid-2008 AC Delco battery had good charge.


So I called a tow truck, which was a free service from my credit-card provider, and the guy promptly tried to jump-start it. Failing that, he made me help him push the Jeep into position to put it up his truck. Expectedly, the 1800 kg Jeep refused to move, until we had three people pushing. I think I burst my appendix that day.

Due to time issues, I shipped it off to the nearest Jeep service centre. Interesting to note all the other customers there were either European or Arab. Two days later, I got a new starter motor and a bill for Dhs 2060. Still, not too bad in the reliability department for a 7-year-old Jeep, compared to a new Audi. You should hear how insanely quick the starter is now. And how light my credit card feels.

Original Mileage When Bought: 117,500 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 132,021 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 17.0 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 2510
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 140

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 6650

Read all 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 long-term updates

What do you think?



  1. Not bad for a 7 year old Jeep..But after reading this, I thank god that I got a Yaris 40Dhs for a full tank and I haven’t paid a single dirham since I got it, and its a second hand.

    P.S: I know its a 1.3 liter and that its a Toyota.

  2. Author

    Yeah, but I bought the Jeep for 38k.

  3. Did u ever change the tyres on ur jeep? How much do they cost? what size are they?

  4. Author

    Nope. 245 on 17-inch. I hear 2k.

  5. Gud u shld use it more often i think u drive it very rarely 3k in a year or so!!

  6. Mash what bout the Beemer..The last update i read on it you were planning on chaning and redoing things..have you started with them??

  7. Author

    some things need fixing on that stupid BMW. waiting for some developments.

  8. i think u bought a lemon

  9. Usual wear and tear. Irritating but expected on any sports car. It isn’t a daily driver. Any car which cannot be driven everyday doesn’t classify as a lemon.

  10. Mash, did you change the rear and front differential fluids when you bought the car, or do you keep checking them on regular basis instead?

  11. Author

    Did a major dealer service in the last update, where the fluids were apparently changed. I hope.

  12. That third picture.. of the Jeep sitting on a tow truck is a very familiar sight in the gulf!

  13. Author

    Better than having a new Toyota with transmission problems 🙂

  14. say yes to Honda’s then…….

  15. Author

    When Honda makes a V8 truck with a proper 4×4 system, luxury interior, and doesn’t look like Lego, sure why not.

  16. Haha.. and Jeep has a luxurious interior and no transmission problems???

    Get real Mashfique!

    Which model of Toyota by the way, is the one that you “claim” has transmission problems when brand new?

    Good god man! No wonder your getting jacked over by your competitors. Your running a website voiced only by your personal opinion and you want others to dig into it. Having an overall view is whats needed to keep yourself afloat….

    ……. I’m just saying 😉

  17. Author

    I didn’t realise I was getting jacked over by my competitors.

  18. hahahahahahaha….. jacked over….

  19. Dr. Ankesh, Thanks for the link

    > buuuuut i still do not consider a 2003 model to be a new model of Toyota.

    🙂 Jacked Over > Ordinarily used to describe being Screwed Over in less harsh terms.

    > and I was refering to the past where certain dealerships didnt invite Mashfique to their events or were reluctant to give out their vehicles to him fearing that he’d rip open the guts of their test vehicles while he posts out on this website on how terrible they tasted
    > While his competitors were always playing safe and getting invites for writing up good stuff.

    A job well done Mashfique on this wonderful website, and it is a critics paradise 😉 but dare I say, go a little easy on : Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda . . . . . . . . 😀

  20. Listen Asad, i dont know if your a wheels fan or not, but we appreciate Mr.Mashfique’s work. He is unbiased and truthful unlike those other magazines..Tell me who else even bothers to run a simple 0-100 times for example to see if they’re upto manufacturer standards rather than just vomiting out whats on the brochure.

    Are the dealers biased of course they are, but thats the price you pay for doing the right thing and im sure if Mr.Mashfique had the funds those other mags have then im sure he’ll be publishing magazines right around as well.

    Ohh and guess what wheels does so badly that they gotta give it free with Gulf news cos no one else bothers to buy stuff like that, well no educated person who know a little bout cars at least. Ohhh and wait for it, they automatically get the widdest and biggest reader demographics..what a load of crap..

  21. Spyke.. i do read wheels, CAR and quite a few others but what interests me the most is Drive Arabia, I agree that if Mashfique had the funds he’d be doing very well and I hope he does one day.

    I’m not saying that Mashfique should bend down to those dealerships but to only go a little easy on them. Appreciation to good points goes a long way.

    By the way Spyke, curious to know why you would think that I might be a fan of Wheels and then blast them out into space, LOL and you know what, I think you read wheels as well otherwise you wouldnt know that the stuff they print out is crap…. I’m just saying 😀

  22. Lol..yeh i glance at them only cos we get them freee…hehe

  23. Right.. so like I was saying..
    That third picture.. of the Jeep sitting on a tow truck is a very familiar sight in the gulf!

    Just pulling your leg Mashfique! 😉

  24. Author

    Cool. Incidentally, anyone get on Shk Zayed road at 5:20 pm today? There was an ’06+ Accord, an ’06+ Santa Fe and some Mercedes van all waiting for towtrucks on the road, blocking traffic and causing a jam. Could happen to anybody, at the wrong time.

  25. yeah..i think between 2nd n 3rd i/c..returning from work..

  26. Hi Mashfique,

    Just a quick questions, if the services are done regulalrly with dealers and all check ups are done on a regular basis for car which is less than 3-4 years old or perhaps within 5 yers old; can we avoid these sudden break down on roads to an extent? or is it still unavoidable???

  27. Author

    Some things are avoidable with maintenance. Others are just design flaws. That’s why I don’t mind buying used cars. All the usual flaws with a specific car will already be experienced by previous owners and listed on the net.

  28. so these break down can be avoided…its not specific to just certain models of cars…rite? cos i always experienced bad times with Honda….may be cos of the bad agency which we have here in Bahrain…..or it can be the brand itself….???

  29. Author

    Specific problems with specific models, I’ve listed in the car guide for older models. Can’t be sure what your problems may have been caused by. As far as I know, Honda’s most unreliable model was the HR-V (unlisted) which had a useless CVT.

  30. bad jeep ever…. i only like wranglers..

  31. Author

    Wranglers are 10 times worse.

  32. ^ yet i see more wrangles on the roads…. lol

  33. i never liked the Cherokee, and i dont see any thing nice about the Grand Cherokee… but yeah, the wrangler is the car for me.. its open, its different, no one single manufacturer did something like it.. i mean there is no direct competitor, its one of those cars that represent youth….

  34. hey..
    i own a merc.a160 2002…i bought it a year back trust me its a very under-estimated car in dubai..
    wonder why they stopped selling it here.. though the latest model is too damn good…
    i would want to start a similar blog for my car..
    i want the people to kno the true potential of the car… and with a 8 year old car giving me 450km in 70dhs… ++ for the reliability and fuel consumption..
    please let me know if i can start a blog about it..

  35. mash
    finally wat did u do fr ur lights
    i find this a problem in most of the jeep cherokkes
    either 1 of the two rear lights
    are not working since i have noticed in most of the cherokke

  36. Author

    Playing with loose connection every month. Not figured out a permanent fix yet.

  37. And what about the fogged-up headlights?? Whats the remedy for that? I mean how to get those cleaned? Or can they even be cleaned to good taste? I hate to see them on my SUV everyday.

  38. looking for jeep grand cherokee 2003-2006
    any advice about price performance is it a good choice to take jeep as 4wd or suggesting another type rathar than jeep?

  39. i am very big fan of Jeep Cherokee! despite its aesthetic in the interior!
    Mash do u think, is it wise for a student to buy this Cherokee exact same model,
    I have a 1.8 Toyota, and hence I m not used to consider maintenance costs. 😛

  40. Author

    ^Read all the reports. All maintenance costs mentioned for last 3 years.

  41. Old or new have both their ups and downs. In the end of the day i see many dealers here and lots of drivers don’t pay much attention or give importance to maintenance..
    People get the illusion that if they pay extra and get a new car they are on the safe side not realizing that they are paying double if not triple by chipping in for the dealer servicing and the bank loans.. Also the fact that even new cars have problems or issues and get recalled… My mother owned a ’06 opel astra which is gently driven from home to work or the mall on weekends and such; the car barely goes into traffic… During the 3 year warranty i had to leave the car for 2-3 days at the dealer everytime I get it serviced or fixed… Once for brakepads, once towed it for a dead battery, fixing noisy from suspension and one major timing belt and fluid change service which they charged plenty for… After the warranty in a few months i had a check engine light on and had to replace ignition coils, a prematurely worn out timing belt bearing (which i didn’t do at the dealership cuz they quoted me for 5-8 parts that have nothing to do with the problem at all) and later another battery…
    The car will not breakdown if properly maintained and you will have to pay on maintenance even if you own a new one hence ditching it for the mechanics or the dealer for a day or two and paying extra for the fact its only a car fresh from the assembly line..
    Some car makers are vicious as they don’t have a maintenance and repair section in their car manuals (these sections mention the proper maintenance and inspection intervals for the car and can be relied on when fixing it outside the dealer which is cheaper of course)… The only good part about the new car is the luxury of the fact its fresh, new and prevents you from the headache of roaming around to find a proper clean used car which is somehow difficult to spot here…
    Btw, the family car which is a ’02 Grand Cherokee I6 which we owned for 8 years now… The running costs are quite cheap on this car. It has a glitch or 2 that are common on American cars but runs well…

  42. man i really hope u all the luck with your jeep
    my family had 3 jeeps 2 used with less than 40k miles and one is new , the new was really good but the two used we spend around 500 dollars monthly to keep them running , they break down only when ur alone in isolated place 🙁 the three cars were

    cherokee 1998 it was a great car
    cherokee 1997 used its always towed to a garage replaced engine twice
    grand cherokee 2002 was the worst of them it usually stops in front of the house 3 months yearly cause of the axle problems replaced them 5 times …..

    i dont get it when they say they are reliable cars in the US but not here whats the difference other than the weather
    i wanted one but im really happy with my 4wd chevy tahoe 2007

  43. Another point of note for Grand cherokee owners with weak Air conditioning is that the recirculation door motor always breaks at some point and just hangs down, this means that it will always bring outside air, regardless of recirc switch position. I checked and found it was broken. I temporarily fixed the door in closed position (recirc) and now it blows cold air, thank God.
    (You may also have problems with your blend doors.)

    Hope this helps someone.

    A cooler Andy!

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