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880 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Back in Nov 2016, I purchased a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk which at the time had over 51k miles on it. As of this writing, and after 4 years of ownership, I am over 141k miles, and I'm happy to report my experience has been for the most part pretty good. To be clear, prior to buying this, I already knew of the early transmission issues, plus that it's usually a bad idea to buy the first year of a new generation of a vehicle. What could possibly go wrong?

...not much quite frankly.

Since my purchase, I have tracked every gas fill up, every part I've bought, every oil change, and any dealer, or mechanic visit for issues, or maintenance through a spreadsheet. Keep in mind I will not be including registrations, or insurance numbers for this.

Gas: $2425.18 (some cost includes gas station car washes)
Parts for Jeep: $1085.22 (Rotors/Pads Front & Rear, Oil + Filters, Tires + Mounting/Balancing, Wiper Blades, Air Filter)
Dealer Visit: $128.71 (fix leak in sun roof, and trans recall)

Operating Cost: $3639.11

Gas: $3742.61 (some cost includes gas station car washes)
Parts for Jeep: $299.39 (Oil + Filters, Wiper Blades, Rear Brake Pads, Spark Plugs, Car Washes)
Dealer Visit: Bad Oil Filter Housing, covered under PT Warranty

Operating Cost: $4042.00

Gas: $3494.55 (some cost includes gas station car washes)
Parts for Jeep: $401.83 (Oil + Filters, Cabin + Air Filter, Wiper Blades, Battery, Driver Side Seat Plastic Cover, Headlight Bulbs, Cellphone Holder,)
Mechanic Visit (Maintenance as a result of Coolant Leak): $1492.97 (Serpentine Belt, Tensioners, Crossover Pipe, Idler Pulley, Coolant Flush, Water Pump, Thermostat, and Gaskets)

Operating Cost: $5389.35

Gas: $1781.10 (some cost includes gas station car washes)
Parts for Jeep: $1858.64 (Oil + Filters, Laptop Mount, Front Seat Covers, Rotors/Pads front & rear, Sway Bar End Links, Rear Brake Carrier Brackets, Tires + Mounting/Balancing)
Dealer Visit: $399.95 (Transmission Recall, tire rotation + alignment)

Operating Cost: $4039.45

To break it down between gas, and parts + labor (if my math is correct):
Total Gas: $11,443.44
Parts + Labor: $5,666.72

Total Operating Cost after 4 years: $17,110.16

The only real issue I've had was a crack in the Oil Filter Housing, which I'm sure many of you know are prone to leaking over time because they're all plastic. That was replaced at 98k miles just before my Powertrain warranty went out, so no payment was necessary. Other than that, it's been mostly routine maintenance, plus all the gas for driving.

That's not to say everything works right now though...

4Low does not engage due to what the Dealer said was an "internal failure" of the PTU, and would require a new unit. I opted not to replace it last year as it would've cost me $2300 parts & labor (an Indie Mechanic could probably do it for 1500 all in I would think). Despite this, all other drive modes work as intended, so I haven't had much of a reason to replace it yet. Maybe once 4WD actually fails, then I'll get it replaced.

The auto Liftgate also no longer works as the motor is burned out according to the dealer also. That though, I plan on replacing this winter myself as the motor strut is a couple hundred bucks (they quoted me over $500 parts & labor), plus a new gas strut I'll get as well.

The only other thing that is "broken" is the dial that turns the headlights on/off. One time when I was exiting the Jeep, my knee hit the dial, and pushed it into the dash. I was able to retrieve it, and it still works, although it could be pushed inward again. Only the wiring has been holding it up, so I'll replace that probably at some point.

Overall, I've been very happy with my Jeep, and it's proved extremely useful. I've towed a few times with it, gone off the beaten path on jobs, pulled out cars, and tree stumps, hauled lots of equipment, and items. It's been a very dependable vehicle, and I'm glad to own it. It's pretty much all stock minus a few interior additions such as seat covers, a laptop mount, cellphone holder, and a dualcam dashcam (the dashcam was an Xmas gift hence why not included in total cost).

It doesn't do everything great though. The transmission is finicky as the early models are, the bluetooth function can be weird at times as the steering wheel next/prev track buttons don't always work, and I wish cargo space was better. I've had to make some concessions when hauling stuff (I wish I could mount the spare tire on the rear hatch like you can with the new Land Rover Defender, or the earlier Toyota RAV4's, but alas).

One thing I'll point out is since this is a work vehicle on top of being my daily driver, I do get reimbursed mileage when on the job. Since I bought the Jeep, I've received over $22k in expenses for mileage, and as a result has paid for everything, including all gas since I've owned it.

As for this year, I'll be hitting 150k miles, and that would be a good time to replace some worn out suspension components such as shocks, and control arms. I'll also replace the Front Brake carrier brackets as those are quite rusted out, and the guide pins do not move like they should. Engine and Transmission thus far are holding up quite well, so not much to complain on that front. I'll probably be hitting over 160k or so by the end of this year.

I could go on, and on, but I think that's good enough for now. I might revisit this again when I hit 5 years, and see how things go. Until then, Happy Motoring, JCC! :cool:

880 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I figured I'd take the opportunity to also give some insight on operating costs, because I believe it is grossly overlooked when folks decide on a vehicle, especially on automotive sites.

What tends to happen is they favor reliability more than anything, and usually this means the likes of Toyota, and Lexus are brought up. Two great examples of this are the Toyota 4Runner, and the Lexus GX460/470 (Not counting the Land Cruiser as it's an entirely different class). If we take the EPA's own numbers for the purposes of this comparison, things get very interesting when you factor in fuel costs.

Prior to getting my Jeep, I had considered a 2005-2008 4Runner, as well as a current gen 4Runner. And just for the sake of comparison, we can include the GX460 from 2013, 2008 GX470 as it's about the same age as the Cherokee (I'm using 2013 because it's before the Predator face facelift).

According to the EPA via Fueleconomy.gov, annual fuel costs for the 4Runner, GX460 & 470, and the Cherokee are as follows as of this post:

2008 Toyota 4Runner V6: $1900/year (Regular Fuel)
2008 Toyota 4Runner V8: $2150/year (Regular Fuel)
2014 Toyota 4Runner V6: $1800/year (Regular Fuel)
2013 Lexus GX460 V8: $2500/year (Premium Fuel)
2008 Lexus GX470 V8: $2800/year (Premium Fuel)
2014 Jeep Cherokee TH V6: $1600/year (Regular Fuel)

Using these figures, we can get a general estimate how much extra fuel we're going to use compared to the Cherokee over the course of a few years (assuming I drove the exact same miles as before with each respective vehicle).

08 4Runner V6: 18.75% more in fuel
08 4Runner V8: 34.38% more in fuel
14 4Runner V6: 12.5% more in fuel
13 GX460 V8: 56.25% more in fuel
08 GX470 V8: 75% more in fuel

Based on this, and how much I did spend on fuel (for the sake of argument, even though the gas cost does include gas station car washes, we'll assume gas only). Assuming the same $11,443.44 spent for gas only:

08 4Runner V6: $11,443.44 x 1.1875 = $13,889.09
08 4Runner V8: $11,443.44 x 1.3438 = $15,377.69
14 4Runner V6: $11,443.44 x 1.125 = $12,873.87
13 GX460 V8: $11,443.44 x 1.5625 = $17,880.38
08 GX470 V8: $11443.44 x 1.75 = $20,026.02

Now, I know immediately what you're thinking, "Shoulder, those vehicles are known for their reliability and durability, and thus don't require as much maintenance." And you'd be right, although even if you drive the same 90k miles with any of these cars, you're still bound to things like Oil changes, filters, wiper blades, brakes, tires, and even at times preventive maintenance such as belts and tensioners, and other fluid flushes. And if you do make modifications, or add things like dashcams, seat covers, or anything else to make driving it more of a leisure, prices are not always that different.

What I'm getting at here is the money you would've saved on maintenance, depending on the vehicle, might in fact be offset with the additional fuel used. Keep in mind, I've limited this selection to these vehicles because they are sought after due to their reliability, and dependability, and for my use case, would've been good contenders had I not got the Cherokee. And there's even the psychological aspect as well: Does the vehicle guarantee it'll start up every time I start it, and not break down? For some, that assurance of the vehicle starting up every time, and always ready to go can be enough for some to justify the additional cost in fuel. There are even other long-term reliability factors once you get up into the 200-300, or even 400k mile ranges over the course of 10-15 years of car ownership.

I've also not even factored in the purchase cost of each vehicle either. What I paid for the Cherokee, I could've easily have bought a last-gen 4Runner for cheaper, and the additional money saved could've been used for gas. Although, the longer you drive each vehicle, the savings at purchase shrink over time as you put the miles on it. In the end, it's not a clear cut case to suggest one vehicle is going to be better than the other, but even quantifying some aspects of it such as fuel because it's one of the few things you cannot control much can be a factor. Over the years, there have been similar comparisons with gas vs. diesel pick-ups, and what long-term costs there are. Usually it comes down to whether you haul/tow a lot or not. If you tow/haul a lot, or all the time, diesel tends to make more sense. And if you tow maybe a few times a year, or hardly do so, then gas might save you some money. Again, not always a definitive answer, but some insight to think about.

In the end, I'm not hoping to provide that much of a persuasive case, but even considering how cheap gas in the US is currently, it certainly won't stay that way. For some, not crying with your wallet every time you fill up can also be enough for some folks. Others though, they just want to only fill it up, and never have to touch it, so more power to them.

Of course, am always looking for more insight from others, so if you do have a thought, do share. Lord knows I am no expert on these things. :ROFLMAO:
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