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Hi jeepers: I am interested in buying my first jeep and was wondering if you'd be kind enough to advise me? I have been looking at buying one of these for several years, but the reviews regarding mechanical history and mpg have been major deterrents. However, I want something sturdy, high and manual, so I'm willing to reconsider. I really love the 2 door smaller and older jeeps (e.g. the 2003 sahara), but since I'm a woman, I don't really want the headache of car problems all the time. So perhaps the older jeep isn't the way to go? At the same time, I haven't hit the lottery yet :)
 

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Look for a TJ with service history & no rust. The 4.0 6 cylinder motors are as reliable as the day is long if taken care of. Maintenance free? No, but reliable? Yes. My 01 has been my DD for 6 years with 215k on the clock. I've replaced the clutch, radiator, brakes, & a few seals. However, that's no great departure from the 97 4runner I drove for almost a decade. Good luck & welcome.
 

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We start getting into electronics into 2000s. I think a 2003 TJ will be an OBD-II vehicle, so you must keep your oxygen sensors working and the like. Overall though, TJ is a solid advice IMHO. It's not like the CJ with carburated motor that had trouble starting if parked on an incline.

I didn't look at the TJ specifically, but for JK the TrueDelta reports about 2 times worse reliability than Toyota FJ across the pre-Pentastar model year. Now that may sound bad but we're talking about below-50 visit-per-100-per-year. For crying out loud a 1997 Civic is worse. After looking at the hard data, I bought a 2010 JK and had 1 issue under warranty; no issues thereafter whatsoever, and I have the 42RLE tranny that is supposed to be unreliable.

The key is to find an unmolested TJ, which was properly maintained, I think. That is the hard part and needs luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, guys! I saw a 2003 with 94,000 hardtop with rust from exhaust pipe all the way to the front of the engine (they offered to lift it for me so I can see under). The mechanic and the salesmen said this is not a big deal given we live in Chicago. Is that true? It's selling for $11, 990 not including taxes, etc. What do you think? The warranty will cost another $3,000. So then I got to thinking maybe I should just get a newer jeep, but they cost even more...and now I'm so confused!!! Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
rust defined

Define rust. Surface, metal rot, ect.

Umm, girl here so let me do my best to describe the rust...it looked rusty but solid, not like it was falling apart. It was dark enough that I traced it from tailpipe to the front of the truck. I touched the tailpipe part as it was going up and nothing really came off, not even little chips (which I kinda expected). Are you ROTFL. Wish I could find a jeeper locally who can just help me find one, and I'd pay for his service, of course. This way I don't have to rely on sales guys who really can't be trusted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, Shark

Wouldn't worry much about the exhaust, you need to be looking at the frame, specifically just in front of the rear tires where the control arms bolt to the frame, generally the worst spot for rust. Also lift the carpet and check footwells.

Thanks for your information, Shark! I'll look for this next go round; the one I wanted sold already so back to square one. Looking for the smallest one I can find!
 

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Umm, girl here so let me do my best to describe the rust...it looked rusty but solid, not like it was falling apart. It was dark enough that I traced it from tailpipe to the front of the truck. I touched the tailpipe part as it was going up and nothing really came off, not even little chips (which I kinda expected). Are you ROTFL. Wish I could find a jeeper locally who can just help me find one, and I'd pay for his service, of course. This way I don't have to rely on sales guys who really can't be trusted.
J22 - post in your local forum (towards bottom of the menu) you would like some help. I'm sure someone can show you what to look for. You are wise in asking for help in purchasing an older Jeep.
 

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May I suggest you find and hire an independent mechanic you can trust? I'm no mechanic myself and so that is the first step I'd take. Have him/her do a top to bottom exam of any used vehicle you're serious about buying. I think you'll find this is well worth the money spent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks!

Thank you, everyone, for your feedback. So, I found a jeep that I'm seriously considering buying next week. Can you please provide me with your thoughts before I actually buy it. I still can back out with a minor loss.

I'm considering a 2012 Sahara, 2 Door, 6 speed, burgundy including colored panels. It's got 19,000 miles and no accidents. I'm buying from Carmax, and will likely buy a warranty. It doesn't come with a soft top. It'll cost me $27,000 not including taxes, warranty, and junk fees. It's a lot for me and I'm kinda nervous.

I read reviews online specifically for the 2012 Sahara, and it's a mixed bag. Since you guys are the experts, I'd really appreciate your preliminary thoughts before I make the commitment.

The car comes in next week (I had to pay to bring it to my location), and then I'll test drive. I have driven the 2016s and I am in love with them!! I've been considering a jeep forever, but as I said earlier, the mechanical history (and me being a gal) have been deterrents. But, lately, I've been feeling like you only live once - so I'm leaping out on faith.....and your advice! :)
 

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jeepers22, it sounds great (maybe a little high $$$) but have you considered buying a new one?

A 2016 Sahara is $30,490 MSRP and $29,176 dealer invoice. If you join Tread Lightly and wait a month, you can buy it for 1% under invoice which is $28,884. You won't have to spend extra for a warranty either. And if you're financing it, you'll likely get a better interest rate on a new vehicle than a used one.

And if you find a leftover new 2015, you might be able to get it for around $27,500 or so. Cars.com has 581 new 2015 Wranglers available on its web site.

Getting a new Jeep vs. a four year old Jeep for a little more might be a better buy.
 

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Here's a new 2015 with a MSRP of $30,420 offered by dealer at $25,771. It would come with full factory warranty. It may not be exactly what you want, but gives you an example to help you decide if you really want to spend $27,000 + aftermarket warranty cost on a four year old Jeep.
https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/658116277/overview/

Here are the new 2015 Wranglers on Cars.com sorted by lowest price first.
https://www.cars.com/for-sale/searchresults.action/?zc=30013&rd=100000&stkTypId=28880&yrId=56007&mdId=22306&mkId=20021&sf1Nm=price&sf1Dir=ASC&sf2Nm=price&sf2Dir=DESC&page=1&perPage=50&searchSource=SORT
 

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Good luck with your search.Id let someone you trust thats good with vehicles to maybe check it out & maybe go for a ride with you.On the road test make sure the trans shifts good,notice how low the clutch is (clutch shouldent start to engage when the pedal is almost the way released) make sure its not all over the road,tracks decently.Just notice things on the road test that dont feel right.Some things might be normal but pay attention.Let the Jeep speak to you.Ok,Im getting weird now lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
jeepers22, it sounds great (maybe a little high $$$) but have you considered buying a new one?

A 2016 Sahara is $30,490 MSRP and $29,176 dealer invoice. If you join Tread Lightly and wait a month, you can buy it for 1% under invoice which is $28,884. You won't have to spend extra for a warranty either. And if you're financing it, you'll likely get a better interest rate on a new vehicle than a used one.

And if you find a leftover new 2015, you might be able to get it for around $27,500 or so. Cars.com has 581 new 2015 Wranglers available on its web site.

Getting a new Jeep vs. a four year old Jeep for a little more might be a better buy.

Thanks, Moto_italia! I really appreciate your input. I looked at the new ones and would love one of those, but with the bells and whistles of the sahara, the dealer quoted me $37,000. That was definitely way out of my range. I live in Chicago and you'd think they'd have leftover 2015s, but none in sight. I've been searching high and low for one. I'll look at cars.com too, thanks for that suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks!

Good luck with your search.Id let someone you trust thats good with vehicles to maybe check it out & maybe go for a ride with you.On the road test make sure the trans shifts good,notice how low the clutch is (clutch shouldent start to engage when the pedal is almost the way released) make sure its not all over the road,tracks decently.Just notice things on the road test that dont feel right.Some things might be normal but pay attention.Let the Jeep speak to you.Ok,Im getting weird now lol.
Thank you, 1jeeplvr! I appreciate the tip on clutch and generally letting the jeep speak to me :) I know what you mean. If I could find a jeeper who's a mechanic type also, I'd really appreciate taking them along, but no such luck. I will keep my eyes open nonetheless.

I feel like it's a bit overpriced, but it has low miles. I also hate carmax's policy of not negotiating prices, but then again, I like that everyone gets screwed the same (i.e. women aren't given a different price!) :)

It's all so confusing, and yet so exciting!! I can't wait to get into a jeep, and ride with the wind in my hair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you!

Here's a new 2015 with a MSRP of $30,420 offered by dealer at $25,771. It would come with full factory warranty. It may not be exactly what you want, but gives you an example to help you decide if you really want to spend $27,000 + aftermarket warranty cost on a four year old Jeep.
https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/658116277/overview/

Here are the new 2015 Wranglers on Cars.com sorted by lowest price first.
https://www.cars.com/for-sale/searchresults.action/?zc=30013&rd=100000&stkTypId=28880&yrId=56007&mdId=22306&mkId=20021&sf1Nm=price&sf1Dir=ASC&sf2Nm=price&sf2Dir=DESC&page=1&perPage=50&searchSource=SORT

Thank you, Moto Italia. I am going to go for it with the burgundy jeep; carmax sucks. I'll never buy or encourage anyone to buy from them again. I do want this particular color and it is a very clean car; I have also heard that their warranties are decent. Ah, I'm just exhausted from it all now.

I'll post pix for you guys; will pick it up on Sat. I now need storage bags for the panels and a soft top. More expenses I hadn't planned on, but obviously, a necessity. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Jeep Sahara 2012 - Burgundy (Girl Color! :)

Congrats jeepers22!! Can't wait to see pics and read about you new Jeep!!

Greetings Moto_Italia & Fellow Jeepers:

Sorry for the delay in getting these pix up. Came down with the flu, the day I was to pick up my jeep. Nothing stopped me though:)

The spare tire needs a cover, and I need storage bags for the freedom top. Eventually, I'd like a soft top too. The lights could definitely use more light!! LOL...so, I think I better find someone who's handy to help me figure things out. It's a different ride than what I'm used to (previously mostly sports cars!). However, I LOVE IT!! :iamhappy:

I also feel like people on the road are nicer and usually get out of the way....:bop: Do you guys find this to be true?
 

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