Help. I’m in denial.

I drive a bone stock 2015 2DR Rubicon. White with black trim, premium rubicon grey on black wheels. BF tires.

I’m a photographer, musician, and graduate student who lives in Northern Virginia. I commute to Georgetown, Navy Yard, Bethesda, and many other parts of the district. I spend hours studying and working in Arlington. So I’m exposed to the full spectrum of traffic that the DMV has to offer.

My Jeep hit 30k last week and the clutch stopped working on Friday. While I wait to hear back from the dealership, I’m in a bit of a predicament. This Wrangler has been a pain in the neck and yet the love of my life. It has eaten two clutches. It has had both the hands free and the radio replaced twice. The passenger seat bracket has broken four times. The rear shocks and muffler seem to be rusting at an astonishing rate for a two year old car. The stock carpet peeled up in the first three weeks. My parents hate the car and are parading their Acura-Honda-lease-everything-you-millennial-fool-flag around, telling me I should be up in arms about this and demanding a lemon law replacement. (I would only buy into the Acura party if they made a Type-S anything anymore.)

I’m trying to save the vehicle from practical obsoletion. I barely scrape 17.5 MPG in stop and go traffic going in and out of the city. Call it entitlement, but this car—a power move purchase by my impulsive and recently retired grandfather—is a bastion of independence for a very broke graduate student living with his family. God forbid I end up in a leased anything I can’t tinker with, automatic, FWD, and makes less than 280 HP. I’m a man. And independent. *grunts incoherently*

However, my folks’ concern is legitimate. There’s something wrong with this car every week. And when it idles, it makes a loud tick-tick-tick-tick noise. JKs are not injected...or diesel. There’s a timing issue with the block, and every technician hears it, but then tells me it’s nothing three days later. Mopar service has been a nightmare. They’ve lost my car in the lot twice, can never seem to have basic parts in stock, and every repair is halfassed. After the first clutch replacement, the second met its demise four hours later because something wasn’t properly mounted, rendering my Jeep a sitting duck with no ability to change gears, and what sounded like a metal salad bowl underneath the chassis. I’m never told what’s wrong, it just gets ‘replaced under warranty,’ and I end up with a Caravan for three days. That warranty has six months left.

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Does anyone else have a similar experience?

At this point, I could make under the table arrangements to fit the Jeep to be a more practical daily driver in the city. Like switching to street tires, modifying the suspension and steering, increasing air flow, making ECU tuning... What do I do? What could I possibly replace this with that’s as ...awesome?

Parents won’t purchase, but only lease something, which just be not American or German, not-AWD, and not manual. I come up with a replacement that I could pitch towards Grandpa, that’ll still be, um, manly and fun. And not entirely scary to the folks (I have to drive 11 year old to and from school for them, and transport stuffs.)

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The caveat is that I’m going to move out when I finish this Master’s degree within the next year or so. And as grateful as I am, I don’t want a lease started that I’ll assume they’ll continue paying for after I leave. Half-joking, I must suffer on my own. I’m sitting on 29k that I can leverage or waste.

What do you think?

I know, who am I kidding.