Home Chapters T@b Travel Trailer (April 2006 - July 2008)

Amazing $13k tires increase fuel economy by 50%!!!

Jeep needs four new shoes.

And though I had planned on waiting until California to buy them for her, the spinout and unrepairable flat from last week have accelerated the timetable dramatically.

She also needs an alignment, and an oil change. And likely soon a new battery, and some repair work on the battery cable.

Even the spare tire has dry rot and needs to be replaced.

She’s really not doing all that bad for a 2002 model with 86k miles on her, but suddenly I am contemplating throwing a significant amount of money into an older vehicle that may have other lurking repairs that could prove costly sooner rather than later. Her transmission is a bit quirky, for instance…

And I think Jeep has been trying to tell me that she is ready for a rest. Just this morning when I was headed out to buy the new tires – she decided not to start. (I was able to fix it, but – *ugh*)

While I was out fixing the balky Jeep, Cherie did some speculative net sleuthing – trying to track down an elusive Jeep Liberty CRD turbo-diesel. The diesel Liberty has gotten some rave reviews, including being called “the environmentalist’s SUV” thanks to its relatively amazing fuel economy. But Jeep only offered the diesel option in the US for the 2005 and 2006 model year, and they are pretty rare. Cherie was only able to find a handful for sale in all of Texas, mostly 2005 models with high mileage.

Almost all of them were far away.

All but one that is, which she found listed on Austin’s Craigslist. A 2006, with only 16k miles. Equipped with exactly the specs we want. Being sold by a dealer just 40 minutes away. A dealer willing to take a trade in. Offered for less than blue book, and way less than what some private parties we found were selling older diesel Jeeps for.

It even had a factory tow package, and would be ready to take on towing our Tab without needing a hitch put on.

It was as if the perfect vehicle was just sitting there waiting for us. It was even my favorite dark green color that I had commented on just the day before!

2006 Jeep Liberty

So rather than going out to buy new tires, Cherie and I spent the afternoon checking out a new Jeep.

Jeep v2 is in many ways almost identical to our current gasoline powered 2002 Jeep Liberty, but she does have a few major advantages over Jeep v1:

  • Anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, rollover protection, and a few other new electronic tricks to keep all four wheel where they belong…
  • Full time 4WD. (Jeep v1 has “part-time” support only…)
  • Increased towing capacity. (5000lbs vs 2000lbs)
  • Side airbags. (Jeep v1 only has front…)
  • Sunroof!
  • Fog lamps.
  • Remote unlock integrated into the key itself. (No more big fob to carry around!)
  • Compass & Trip Computer.
  • Steering wheel radio controls.
  • More comfortable seats.
  • Larger fuel tank! (20g vs 17g)
  • Near mint condition, and still under warranty for another 20k miles!

Oh, and best of all – she’ll get 25% to 50% better fuel economy, especially while towing. And considering that diesel is significantly cheaper than gas, that improved economy will really add up fast!

She can also burn biodiesel too.

Downsides:

  • One less 12v power jack.
  • No iPod jack on the factory radio (though I can add one for $140, or they will help me swap in the Alpine radio I installed in Jeep v1 last summer…)
  • And of course, we will need to get used to the clatter of diesel…

Anyway – we took a test drive, and were impressed. The dealer then took a look at Jeep v1, and surprised us by offering us full blue book on her – despite the need for new tires and an ominous check engine light.

BTW – I’ve never dealt with a friendlier more low pressure car salesman in my life than Mark Nix at Benny Boyd Bastrop in Bastrop, Texas. By the time I was done going over Jeep v2 in detail it was getting late, and he offered to let us take her home for the night to do some more research and come back to finish the deal the next day. Or – if we didn’t want to take her, they offered to give us a new tire (free!) for Jeep v1 to replace the dry-rotted and leaking spare to get us home safely. Impressive service indeed!

We took Jeep v2 home with us, and now I am up late pondering… Is it worth it? The universe certainly seems to be pushing us towards the new Jeep… I am amazed – the perfect Jeep also happens to be the closest, the cheapest, the newest, and the lowest mileage. And it comes with a very fair trade in offer too, so I wont have to fuss with selling Jeep v1…

I need to make up my mind in the next 24hrs.

Should I throw down $13k+ to get what is potentially our ideal adventuring vehicle? Or should I just buy a few new tires and handle other miscellaneous repairs, and keep going with the Jeep that we already have…

We headed out to buy tires, and we came home with a new Jeep. What a day!

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