April 1

Jeep – Performance, Reliability and Maintenance

Auto Repair, Jeep


How are Jeep’s for performance, reliability and maintenance? With Bernie Pawlik, owner of Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver – 14 times voted best auto repair shop in Vancouver by their customers!

Mark: Good Morning. It’s Mark from top local lead generation. We’re here with Bernie Pawlik, he’s the owner of Pawlik Automotive; they’re an award winning shop in Vancouver. They’ve been voted best auto repair in Vancouver 14 times by the clients which is a pretty amazing kind of record. How are you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: Really good, very good.

Mark: So Jeeps are what we’re going to talk about today and they’re a very popular vehicle, sport utility and I assume you on a lot of them.

Bernie: Yes we do, yeah we work on a lot of them and we’ve worked on them for years. I tend to think of Jeep as being the original sport utility vehicle not the Jeep, Jeep but the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee altho I guess you could argue the suburban came first but that’s almost too big to be utilitarian it’s more beast than sport beast you could call it but the Cherokee is smaller and you know, a little sportier, more useful in that way. Jeeps interesting history, I mean they were originally an army vehicle and Jeeps actually stood for GP which means general purpose. They have always been popular with a certain crowd but when they started introducing some more mainstream models like the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee which goes back a few decades, the brand became very popular. There is an interesting corporate history with Jeep, they used to be a private company at one time making army vehicles and then they sold the vehicles to the general public, then they became a part of American Motors for a long time until Chrysler bought out American Motors and really the only thing of value at AMC at that time was the Jeep brand and they captured it and Chrysler has done really well with it.

Mark: So how are Jeeps, are they bullet proof like their reputation are they reliable? What goes wrong with them?

Bernie: Well I tend to think of Jeeps as so, so vehicles, you know, they definitely have issues, I mean where to start. First of all they’re all wheel drive trucks so they’re more complex and they need more service, you know the transfer cases, the extra front differential and this is true of all 4 wheel drive cars and trucks, you know, there’s extra service for more complexity but a lot of all-wheel drive and 4 wheel drive vehicles are pretty reliable like Subaru’s which we talked about a lot and work on a lot. The 4 wheel systems rarely cost a lot of extra but on Jeeps a lot more seems to go wrong with them. The original style Jeep is a fairly simple vehicle but they have a few issues that come to my mind kind of like oil leaks and more fluid changes and just the general wear and tear you get with a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Some Jeep engines have been really, really good, spectacular in fact, like the 4 litre, 6 cylinder straight 6 engine; it’s a really tough reliable engine. I’ve had a number of clients over the years who haven’t changed their oils as often as they should, quite frankly abused the engine and they just keep on going so I’ve only really seen one or two go bad so that’s a pretty impressive record. One of the push rod V8 engines too are really good, these are like the 318 and the 360, some are like the Dodge engines they’re just bullet proof reliable, really good, but there are some that aren’t so good. Those would be like the 3.7 litre, V6, the 4.7 litre V8 engine that you find in different models of Jeeps. 3.7 is very popular in the Liberty, you know they perform well but they’re prone to some expensive repairs. We’ve had some, it’s fairly common with the valve seats actually fall out, this is like an internal engine problem, it’s really expensive to fix and something that should never happen but it does. The timing chains also wear out prematurely and especially if you don’t change the oil enough, this is the kind of engine where you have to change the oil every 5,000 kilometers or you’re asking for trouble and there’s a lot of cars like that and people don’t know that and you won’t really know that until you find one that’s abused but anyways if you have one of these vehicles, change the oil religiously.

Jeeps also offered some kind of anemic 4 cylinder engines in some of their vehicles and I tend to avoid them although they have some more modern vehicles like the Jeep Compass, they come with 4 cylinders, they seem to be pretty good but the older traditional Jeep Jeeps or Cherokees with 4 cylinders I’d stay away from them, they’re just kind of wimpy, engines that don’t run too well. What else can I say here?

Other issues I’ve seen, Grand Cherokee, I think they’re built too complicatedly to be repaired, for easy repairs for example some Grand Cherokees to repair the radiator, it takes hours to pull the radiator out, they’ve got a complex fan arrangement and it just makes a job that could be five hundred dollars, it’s a thousand bucks and it’s just hard to talk to Jeep owners, hey you need a new radiator, it’s going to be a thousand bucks so, but there’s nothing you can do, just the way it’s built. So those are some of my thought on the repair side of things.

Mark: So Jeep has sold a few diesels recently, how are they?

Bernie: Some of them are good especially the Grand Cherokee. The Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel is basically a Mercedes 3 litre diesel, it’s the same Mercedes diesel you find in the ML 320, the R 320, it’s used in a lot of different platforms and they seem to share the same transmission as well so the drive train is partially Mercedes; it’s quite reliable, it is expensive to fix when things go wrong but overall, I mean, I’m kind of a big fan of German diesel engines, they’re well built, they’ve been around for a long time so it’s a good vehicle. We seem to work on a lot of them and generally they’re pretty good but they do have a few issues here and there. There’s also the Liberty uses a diesel as well, it’s not nearly as common and I was actually trying to figure out how makes the diesel engine and I can’t really tell who makes it. It’s not made by Jeep themselves, it’s not a Mercedes diesel, it’s a 4 cylinder, you know it’s a pretty good engine but I don’t like it as much as the Grand Cherokee diesel. It just seems a little unusual in its design and it’s a rare offering so parts are more difficult to get for it.

Mark: Any final thoughts on Jeeps?

Bernie: Well, Jeeps certainly have its following. Many people love Jeeps, they like the original style Jeeps, they seek them out, it’s the Wrangler I’m talking about, you know, it’s got it’s utilitarian look, it’s function and whatever people associate with the free fun loving remove the roof kind of lifestyle. It’s also a good off road vehicle as many Jeeps are so if you like to go off road; it’s a great vehicle for that. The Grand Cherokee, they’ve also created a very nice luxurious sport utility vehicle and that appeals to an entirely different crowd and personally I like the Grand Cherokees but I find a lot of them, they’re gas guzzlers, they almost optimize what’s wrong with the American car industry, you know, gas guzzlers, inefficient vehicles but I mean they are certainly nice and the overly complicated construction that I’ve seen in a few model years has kind of turned me off a bit of them, but they certainly are a great vehicle.

One positive thing I find about Jeeps, especially the original style the Wrangler type of Jeep is that they really hold their value and they last for a long time. There are not that many vehicles like that. Too many cars and trucks that people buy, it’ll be around for 10 to 15 years and they’re off to the scrap yard, you’ll never see them again but Jeeps they’ll stay around for a long time, kind of like convertibles and certain sports cars, they have along life span. So that’s it from me on Jeeps.

Mark: Thanks Bernie. My throat has let go so

Bernie: No problem. Thank you. I look forward to talking again soon.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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