Jeep 4x4's: High value, long lasting 4WD's
*Published online on 1 Dec 2011 at PerformanceJeepChrysler

I parked next to a twin Jeep Cherokee Sport at the hardware store. I was feeling proud that day because my 1996 Sport with its 4.0 liter, 6 cylinder workhorse was about to hit 240,000 on the odometer. We both jumped out of our vehicles at the same time, and as I swung around the back of the vehicle, I glanced at his Jeep with the fancier rims and shinier paint, and said, 240,000 and still running strong. He looked at me and said, 285,000, running strong and I beat the heck out of it every day. I hung my head and ducked into the store.

I really had no reason to hang my head. The black beast, as I call it, has completed a lot of hard work for me over the years on the farm, and also hauls my 14-foot trailer with two or three all-terrain vehicles with ease to my cabin up north.

I purchased my Sport in 2000 after contacting my mechanic. My first question to him was: Which SUV do you see the least in your shop, or in other words, which has the least amount of repair bills. At that time, he recommended the Jeep Cherokee. And fortunately, I haven’t had to ask him that question since.

It doesn’t take much research on the internet to realize that the Jeep 4.0 Liter has an excellent track record of going and going. Reaching 200,000 miles is the norm, not the exception. And topping 300,000 is common. Change oil and have periodic maintenance done every 3,000 miles and the 4.0 is liable to outlast the seats and the steering wheel. And the long-term maintenance is minimal, too.

The 4.0 provides all the tow torque you are going to need. One downfall of the older model Jeep Cherokees, up until around 2000-01, is how low they ride. It makes it hard to connect the trailer. I put in air shocks to rise up the back end on trips. That was a mistake because I broke off the air intake tip three times backing into my trailers, and one other time I ripped off the air line in deep snow. My next option might be to add a Skyjacker or Tuff country Jeep Add-a-leaf kit. There are other options. But, on the positive side, the compactness of the older model Jeeps makes it a match for just about any all-terrain vehicle. If you can get there on a four-wheeler, you can get there in a Jeep.

I have owned a Jeep for half of my time on the road. While I was in service, I bought a 1979 Jeep Wrangler, CJ5 as it was called during those years. It had the 304 V8, and was more toy than cruiser with 33-inch mud tires, soft top, headers and cherry bomb mufflers. The only issue I had with it – in those years, the heater didn’t work that well. But I sure wish I still had that one today.

Russ Victorian is a freelance writer. For more information, go to


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