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Was I Smart to Pour Money Into My $300 Jeep?

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author photo by Tyler Hoover May 2017

After the hits I've recently taken by selling my 1978 Lincoln and killing my 1999 Porsche, I needed something good to happen. Thankfully, my 1998 Jeep Cherokee with 360,000 miles is perking me up. I bought this $300 wonder a few weeks ago, got it running for only $100 -- and I just finished spending a lot more cash to make it awesome. Was it worth it?

While a starter was the only thing I needed to get my Jeep running, there were plenty of other issues -- as you would expect on a car that's been traded in for scrap value. Thankfully, they were all minor. In my video, I document all the little problems getting addressed -- but to sum it up, it only cost $267 to fix them all. It's incredible how cheap parts are for these things, which is a totally welcome relief from the abuse I normally take with my German cars.

Where I really spent my money was making this Jeep a much more capable off-roader. Since the shocks were already ruined, I took the opportunity to order a 3-inch suspension lift kit. This allowed my Jeep to easily fit 31-inch off-road tires. Parts to get this all done cost $853, and labor was a very reasonable $247 to install everything.

Yes, I spent quadruple the initial purchase price lifting this thing -- but I don't think there's a better Jeep in the world for less than the $1,700 total I have invested. It should also be just as capable on the trails as other 4x4s worth much more, including perhaps a certain bright yellow Land Rover Defender worth about $70,000.

In the video, I might have called out the owner of this Defender for a challenge. He might be too scared to accept -- or too busy running an automotive website and crisscrossing the nation to drive supercars. Excuses, excuses.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Was I Smart to Pour Money Into My $300 Jeep? - Autotrader