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Old 06-27-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
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Almost buyers remorse...help please

I have always wanted a Jeep Wrangler. I admire the drivers when they go by. I'd love to get one for myself. My son just got his license, it is time to add a new vehicle in our family. My first instinct was to give him my Camry and to finally get the Jeep I have always wanted. Unfortunately, we live in Massachusetts, and driving in snow has to be part of the equation. The Camry is horrible in snow. I can't in good conscience hand a new driver the Camry...or as I call it: The Toboggan (I can't stop it or steer it, just point it in a direction and hope for the best). My solution is to get a Jeep, let him drive it, and occasionally "borrow" it for my own purposes when I can give him the Camry in return.

I am close to pulling the trigger on buying a TJ. I've read all about DW. I have found an 06 with just 18,000 miles on it, but not original tires. I am suspiscouis that perhaps the original owner experienced DW and tried this method to remedy it. He only says that he has felt a shimmy up front at highway speeds.

Now I am curious about how they handle in snow. My son is a hockey player and snow is not an excuse to miss a game or practice. He has to get there. Originally, I was thinking the 4WD would make this a safer experience, but now I am wondering.

My questions are:
1) how concerned should I be about potential DW, given that I have test driven it for an hour on the highway now, with nothing more than a shimmy from theleft front tire.

and

2) How does the Wrangler handle in snow?

I'm trying to figure out if this is a safe vehicle for my inexperienced driver. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Worst case, I'll have to buy him something safer, and put off my Jeep for another time.

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Old 06-27-2010, 05:05 PM   #2
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ok, don't worry about dw, its not that hard to fix.

secondly, wranglers are great in the snow, unstoppable.

but here's a better solution. no way am i giving a 16 yr old a nice jeep wrangler for their first vehicle. my boys will get dependable, but inexpensive first vehicles, and after a year if they prove responsible, and save some money, i'll match what they save so they can buy something they want.

my boys will be getting an xj (jeep cherokee) or an mj (comanche pick up) you can get these vehicles in dependable condition for 1500 or less. and they are every bit as good as a wrangler when it comes to everything accept the fun of no top.

sell the toboggan and use that money to buy a 1200 cherokee, and buy yourself a tj. when the kid proves responsible, go from there, and there's a huge following of building xj's, they are great jeeps, built as strong as a wrangler. i'm on my 3rd.

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Old 06-27-2010, 05:06 PM   #3
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Wranglers are magnificent in the snow! As long as there is some tread on the tires then they'll rip right through the stuff. Now for the DW, mine came from the front drivers wheel because it used to be the spare and it sat as the spare for so long it became lopsided. It took 6 oz. to balance it! I moved it to the rear and the DW is gone. Its not that big of a deal and most of the time it is caused by a faulty tire or loose linkage. If its not a tire, it'll be a little more tricky to find. Either way I say go for it!
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:08 PM   #4
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1) DW could be as simple as an unbalanced tire. Remedies are easy to fix, don't let that scare you. There is not another vehicle that has ever been built that is easier and cheaper to work on.

2)If no front locker (and you would know in sharp turns that its chirping the tires) then it handles like a snow-plowing-laugh-as-you-pass-poor-saps-stuck-in-the-ditch-monster.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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Thanks to both of you. I will look forward to getting more input.

Just to clarify though, my idea is basically to share the Jeep and Toboggan. If the Jeep got him through the snowy days, that would be great. He could drive the 136,000 mile Camry to school 2 miles away most days.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:38 PM   #6
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actually, I have a third question. How does the soft top hold up in the winter (given that we are in MA)? IS it recommended to buy a hard top, or just roll with the soft top year round?
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:40 PM   #7
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I wish i was your kid :P When i was 17 i got to "use" a 96 windstar, when i turned 18 (after totalling the breaks and tranny on the van as it was already warn) my rents purchased a 1999 zx2 escort, i had to pay them back, and all maitnance i had to do myself or pay for... Just bought an 03 TJ Sport, and rents just looked at me and said good luck (im 22). Just broke my front shock in 2 (dont ask how cause i dont know) and had to replace tranny mount, ujoints, and couple other things with no help...

For a first vehical though... i would really really suggest something older... casue it will get dinged... and he will take it out to see "what it can do".... Every kid does :P
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:43 PM   #8
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I guess I haven't been too clear. My intent is that the Jeep is for me. But I can't have him drive the Toboggan on snowy days, hence I would let him take the Jeep on those days. I'm just not sure if that is a safe alternative.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:51 PM   #9
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The jeep would be a safe alternative. If the '06 is stock, no lift it should'nt be experiencing DW. A stock jeep is very capable in the snow. I would recommend an unlifted jeep (stock) for your purposes.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:01 PM   #10
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Not sure handing over an expensive Jeep to a 16 year old on snowy days is the best idea....unless he is one of the most responsible kids on the planet. I turned out alright, I guess at 49 years young, but if my parents gave me a Jeep to drive in the snow when I was his age, it would of came back on a tow truck. Short wheelbase Jeeps are also not the best thing on the hiway in the snow. Make sure whatever you get, it does not have any type of auto locking aftermarket diffs in it. It may swap ends on a snowy hiway with an inexperienced driver behind the wheel. JMHO.
Good luck to you and yours with whatever you decide. He is a lucky kid. My father was not so interested in my safety.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:05 PM   #11
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Welcome to the forum Bill! You'll love the TJ! The soft top will be fine in the MA winters.. Jeep heaters are remarkable.. And you already know it'll get you where you need to go in the snow... Shimmy may be related to many things, loose lugs, wheel out of round, bad tires... the list goes on, but any vehicle can experience that... and it's a pretty easy fix in any case. Look underneath it for signs of abuse off road and as long as it looks good, buy it and enjoy the heck out of it!
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:16 PM   #12
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Like inferno said, the soft top is just peachy in the winter, when you start to get moving you can just push up the middle of the top with your hand and that would clear most of it. One evening it rained pretty good and the next day it was bitterly cold. Needless to say I had a huge chunk of ice on top the jeep making the top sag a little bit (you'll notice this too WHEN you get your TJ) so I had the GF push it up from the inside and I shoved it off and there was no damage. Basically, they hold up well and stay warm. It takes a little longer to warm up then a regular car, but its a Jeep and there is nothing like it out there!
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:18 PM   #13
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It takes a little longer to warm up then a regular car, but its a Jeep and there is nothing like it out there!
See, I'd have to disagree with you there... But I went from a Suburban to a TJ, so the sheer volume of air I was trying to warm decreased dramatically... I guess it's all in your perspective!
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:23 PM   #14
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I'll have to second the amazing Jeep heater Inferno speaks of. If I start it and go, the Jeep is warm within a couple blocks from the house.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:26 PM   #15
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See, I'd have to disagree with you there... But I went from a Suburban to a TJ, so the sheer volume of air I was trying to warm decreased dramatically... I guess it's all in your perspective!
I see, I went from a regular cab sierra to my TJ. lol so volume in the truck was lacking
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:32 PM   #16
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I see, I went from a regular cab sierra to my TJ. lol so volume in the truck was lacking
LOL! See? Perspective! It's all good!
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:38 PM   #17
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First Hi and Welcome to the Forum. You have legitimate concerns. I would be more inclined to try and find a nice used all-wheel drive vehicle (subaru) for him as a starter. A nice sedan that will get him to practice safely. It is not because I feel that a Wrangler is unsafe at all but simply as mentioned above, he will want to push it. It is the nature of the Wrangler that makes one want to see what it can do. I realize that you want the Jeep for yourself, so have you considered trading the camry in on one. The Wrangler is a great daily driver other than that little mileage thing.
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:41 PM   #18
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Not sure handing over an expensive Jeep to a 16 year old on snowy days is the best idea....unless he is one of the most responsible kids on the planet. I turned out alright, I guess at 49 years young, but if my parents gave me a Jeep to drive in the snow when I was his age, it would of came back on a tow truck. Short wheelbase Jeeps are also not the best thing on the hiway in the snow. Make sure whatever you get, it does not have any type of auto locking aftermarket diffs in it. It may swap ends on a snowy hiway with an inexperienced driver behind the wheel. JMHO.
Good luck to you and yours with whatever you decide. He is a lucky kid. My father was not so interested in my safety.
i second all that.

and a 16 yr old needs to have a vehicle that is theirs, and they are responsible for. not switching back and forth. they will feel responsibility for neither vehicle. and putting a 16 yr old in an expensive jeep only on snow days doesn't make a lot of sense. teenagers do damage to things, it just happens in the learning process.

sell the toboggan, it sounds like the only factor causing a problem here.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:13 PM   #19
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I'll have to second the amazing Jeep heater Inferno speaks of. If I start it and go, the Jeep is warm within a couple blocks from the house.
I look forward to this winter. I live in the south and temps in the teens are super cold for us. Last winter it got in the single digits for a few weeks and I thought we'd all die. The Jeep I bought was sold locally and lived here all it's life, (as far as I can trace) but it was optioned with the block heater. It'll be warm from the start this winter!
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:25 PM   #20
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You guys are terrific. Thanks so much for all the input. Hoping to gather even more perspectives.

Dave, if I did sell the toboggan, I'd still want the Jeep for me, then I am left buying another car for my son. My other options would be to get him a used explorer or Rav 4, twhile I keep driving the toboggan.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:38 PM   #21
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Nah, buy the Jeep, let him get a job and drive the sled till the roads are bad, and by then he should have saved enough with the proceeds from selling the sled to get a good 4x4 of some sort, Cherokee's are great for kids. I'd love to get some for my kids, but stupid money keeps being a problem...
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Old 06-27-2010, 08:17 PM   #22
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BUY the Jeep..you guys will love it. He will be far better off driving the Jeep in snowy days than some Camry...or "dependable car"
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Old 06-27-2010, 08:28 PM   #23
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TJs in the snow are awesome. At 50 years old i have had alot of 4X4s and the TJ is one of the best i have ever had for snowy days. HOW EVER.... If the roads are slippery but not snow covered and you have the TJ in just 2 wheel drive it will take some getting used to on driving. The short wheel base is very tricky and will want to kick out if you don't know how to drive it. In 4 wheel drive it will drive just fine on slippery roads.
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Old 06-27-2010, 08:54 PM   #24
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Speaking to the safe side Wranglers, the are safe. I had a accident with a semi hitting my jeep, spinning it around and then another inpact with the trailer. Walked away just fine. Order another wrangler 3 days later. Also I don't care what kind of 1st car you give a teen, they will do something at some point(speeding, racing, etc.) that parents are not going to like.(even though most parents have done the exact same thing)
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:05 PM   #25
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You guys are terrific. Thanks so much for all the input. Hoping to gather even more perspectives.

Dave, if I did sell the toboggan, I'd still want the Jeep for me, then I am left buying another car for my son. My other options would be to get him a used explorer or Rav 4, twhile I keep driving the toboggan.
ya i totally understand that, i'm just saying sell the toboggan, and buy a cherokee or similar for the kid. then you buy your tj. essentially you would just be trading the toboggan for a better winter vehicle of equal value for the kid. as i said before, it seems that the toboggan is the only issue here, and you could get a decent 4x4 jeep for the same value.

just ideas to kick around. instead of keeping the car that sucks, lol.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:34 PM   #26
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All I can do at this point is to reiterate what has been said so far. The TJ is an awesome vehicle for all seasons, especially winter snow driving. I think you can both have good times maintaining and modifying the Jeep together.
Just go for it!!!

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Old 06-30-2010, 08:30 AM   #27
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Thanks everyone. I bought the Jeep. I'll be out there waving to you on the roads tomorrow. Look forward to being an active member here on the forum.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:50 AM   #28
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Congrats! Have fun. Now trade in the Camry for an older Grand Cherokee or Cherokee, should be a straight trade and let your son learn how to drive a 4wd without having to share your TJ. Win Win in my opinion.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:03 AM   #29
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Ok, so a word of advice from "Kristen the redhead car killer"s mom.

If you're going to let him drive the Jeep in the snow, take time NOW to get involved with a local Jeep club.
Go on some runs, and let him drive some of the time. You'll both have a good time, spend some quality father & son time, make some real memories and learn to LOVE your TJ more than anything else you own.
This way he will be familiar with the vehicle and not put behind the wheel in bad weather with sweaty palms and a bad case of nerves.

Don't go out wheelin by yourself. You never know when something is going to break, or someone is going to fall off of a rock and hurt themselves or worse.

If you google MA Jeep clubs, you should be able to find a group that's close to you and folks that share similar interests.

Have fun out there!
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:04 AM   #30
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Congrats! Have fun. Now trade in the Camry for an older Grand Cherokee or Cherokee, should be a straight trade and let your son learn how to drive a 4wd without having to share your TJ. Win Win in my opinion.
Great answer!!!

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