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