Long-term update: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8

Long-term update: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8

Something rather weird happened with my 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee. After the starter motor blew out late last year, I got a brand new one fitted from the dealer. Then over the winter, my fuel consumption started dropping dramatically. As stated by the trip computer, it went from hovering above 17 litres/100 km down to as low as 15.5 litres/100 km, all without any change in driving style. One could attribute this to many other things, like winter weather or a dying trip computer, but neither can be proven definitively. This wasn’t my first winter with the Jeep, and the trip computer seems to be otherwise working fine. I’ll be keeping an eye on this, but it is rather weird that a new starter motor can improve fuel economy.

The Jeep has chugged along fine this year, except for the usual tail-lamp bulb sockets coming loose every now and then. It is getting rather frustrating having to open up the lamp units to stuff foil in and reposition them again and again. In my last attempt, I actually ended up blowing a fuse for the brake lights, rendering the brake lamps dead. The other lamps worked though, but without brake lights, a perfectly-working Jeep had to sit idle on the parking lot for a week before I found time to search and buy some fuses. I did take it out one Friday morning, and drove around on clear roads by manually turning on the regular lamps every time I braked, to give the illusion of braking rear lights. It was more ridiculous than it was dangerous. But hey, a BMW Z3 M cannot fit a suitcase.

Not even Emarat FastTrack and Yellow Hat had fuses in stock. I eventually got them at, of all places, Carrefour. The lights are working again.

I am thinking of picking up some new aftermarket tail-lamps and maybe even some aftermarket headlamps that both look stock. My current headlamps are severely fogged up now. Each unit will cost only Dhs 120 from Sharjah. An original dealer-sourced tail lamp will cost at least Dhs 650, and an original headlight goes for more than Dhs 1000. Screw the war on “fake” parts. As long as they are not marketed as genuine, some (but not all) of them can be perfectly good. The aftermarket rules.

But time is the issue, and it became time for the Jeepney’s latest service, but these little problems are so frustrating that I decided to donate it to a TV show. They put it to good use.

Original Mileage When Bought: 117,500 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 135,500 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 15.7 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 5
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 0

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 6655

Read all 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 long-term updates

What do you think?



  1. LOL … abt time you put the Grand to good use.
    Cheers Mate!

  2. Tail lamps are an issue in the grand cherokee.. The best fix for that will be removing the plugs and sockets and directly wiring new socket assemblies for the lamps and you solved the problem… The way they engineered the taillamp sockets is rubbish.. they come lose if not corrode on the long run…

  3. mash, did you calculate your fuel economy manually?

  4. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    ^Naah. Manually would be even more inaccurate. Anyway, seems to be going up again.

  5. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you let them do that to your Jeep. I hope you at least got another Jeep. I love that body style. What TV show was it?

  6. I’m getting my hands on a 1998 Grand Cherokee @ throwaway price which I intend to use on weekends.

    1) How good is it for moderate rock crawling.. In terms of Ability and Reliability?
    2) How easy is it to self-service?
    3) Where does it stand in terms of parts availability and cost?

  7. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    @Amro: That fuel tank “issue” has been in the media on and off for years now. Hardly a problem for me, because the proposed solution is to install the optional metal skidplates, which my car has standard.
    @Prasanth: The 1999 was problematic, and all issues were sorted by 2002. So probably not the best idea. Parts prices, read the long-term updates.

  8. Hi Mash,

    From your experience driving a Jeep, how would you rate it in terms of reliability, cost of operating and maintenance, and the after-sales and service?

    I’m new to town and thinking of buying whether a Jeep Commander, a Honda Pilot, or a Pathfinder.

    Great if you can help.


  9. Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

    ^You can read about the costs in all my updates. It is higher than average, but not too high either. I can vouch for the Grand Cherokee to be decently reliable, but I don’t know yet how a Commander will fare.

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