Tag Archives: jeep

Out With The Old, In With The New-ish

My 9-year-old Jeep Liberty was on the fritz again and we were trying to figure out whether to get a new car or pump more money into Black Thunder. To help us with our decision, we needed to know more about our options. It was time to go car shopping.

Black Thunder and the Silver Tank

We started at the Jeep dealer, thinking we could get a good deal on the trade-in. We had a price point in mind and browsed the used cars.

As a girl I hate dealing with car dealerships. When I go to the service department they often talk to me like I’m a frail, dense little lady or the salesmen dismiss my opinion and I find it insultingly annoying. I’ve taken different approaches in dealing with car folks and when I’m with Hubby, I let him take the lead and pipe up whenever I want.

The guy at the Jeep dealer who approached us a few inches inside the door was about as wide as he was tall and seemed affable. He talked mostly to Hubby, until it was clear we were looking for a used car and not a new one. Then he seemed bored, disinterested. I suppose we weren’t considered a high-dollar sale.

We got the Liberty appraised and decided to check out Carmax. There we got Black Thunder appraised again and they gave us a quote $1,000 higher than the dealership. And the salesman was enthusiastic, but kind of like a loving odd uncle. When he found out I just gave birth to a boy, he told us how he tried having sex with cowboy boots on so he could get his wife pregnant with a boy. See? Odd.

Nevertheless, we started culling through all of the cars in stock and at first, Hubby and I were feeling pretty bleak, the choices weren’t really anything that fit us and our budget. Then we checked out the Jeep Commander, a car I’ve always liked and it was roomier than the Liberty.

We test drove it, Mr. Cowboy Boots didn’t pressure us, but let us think about it for a day and after much talk, Hubby and I bit the bullet and got the silver Commander. I call her the Silver Tank.

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Considering Ending My Relationship With Black Thunder

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love cars. Fast ones, big ones, small ones, and of course my own. I’ve had Black Thunder since 2002, the first year the Jeep Liberty was made.

Black Thunder

I named her that because when she gets out on the open road, she roars. She’s seen me through many times good and bad, road trips, traffic jams and precarious close calls on Chicago’s winter ice. As time’s marched on she’s been going to the shop more frequently and a few weeks ago, she began making a scary grinding noise.

I warned Hubby about it, but Black Thunder never made it to the mechanic. Then Ethan was born, Hubby went to Florida for business and it was my mother-in-law and me holding down the fort.

On the way to take Logan to daycare Black Thunder Ka-THUNKED followed by a rhythmic flap, flap, shutter so I pulled over, convinced something happened to the tires. I walked around the car, found four perfectly fine tires, so I trudged on to daycare and Black Thunder sounded normal.

That night Hubby and I agreed, if the cost for the repairs were more than $1,000, we’d look at getting a new car, if not we’d fix Black Thunder. We’d just fixed the radiator and scores of other things, not to mention the motor to the rear passenger window broke the week before so we had to tape up the window from the inside so the glass didn’t slip down into the door. It was classy, let me tell you.

The next day, I had to get Logan to daycare and I was afraid to drive the Jeep for fear of getting stranded with my boy. But I made a plan that if Black Thunder died before we made it to school, I’d call a cab to finish our trip to daycare and the garage could send a tow truck for the Liberty.

On the way to school, Logan asked me to drive a different route, I told him no we needed to get to daycare fast before the car broke.

“The car will break into pieces?” He asked.

“Yes, it very well could.”

His eyes got big and we rode the rest of the way in silence.

After dropping Logan off, I headed to the dealership, one block away a metallic grinding noise came from under my feet, I began to pray. Screetching into the Jeep dealership, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, I had made it.

Turns out my drive shaft was broken and that plus the window, the tally was $1,100. We were back to the question that we’d visited and visited again. Is it time for a new car?

Both the Jeep and the TT are paid off, which has been great not having a car payment. And the start of a six-month maternity leave is not the greatest time financially to start paying on a car, but we needed safe, reliable transportation. What to do?