3rd Times a Charm

Believe it or not we bought another Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited.  We decided to trade-in the BMW X5 because it was very temperamental.   Even under the BMW warranty no one wants to visit the dealer every month for issues.  The Wrangler is such a fun vehicle with a ton of unique customization features that keep you busy and gets you where you need to go.  In addition, the Jeep suits us and our active lifestyle so much better–no more worries about parking a $65,000 SAV at a remote trailhead.  Look for some great stories on upgrades and adventures.  Mike at the AutoNation dealership in Bellevue was great to work with and made sure that the transaction was seamless because they also own the local BMW dealership.

In our first adventure, we traveled down to Mount Rainier and hiked to over 7,000 ft. Less than half the way up the mountain.

Jeep at Mount Rainer

This is a great National Park to visit filled with a ton of hiking and sites. Less than 2 weeks after we visited in October the snow began to fall again. By the middle of November all visitors must have tire chains and emergency supplies in their vehicles just in case a sudden storm hits the park.

Mount Rainer

Mount Rainier is also a volcano that could potentially erupt at any time. It is a dark and looming mountain that calls out to be climbed by only the very confident at over 14,000 to its peak. Many unfortunate climbers have lost their lives over the years due to sudden weather change and unstable slopes

Mount Rainer

This is a must see park if you are visiting Washington state in the summer.

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BMW Seattle

We decided that the Jeep Wrangler was not the car for us in Seattle.  We started the process of getting a new car–always a fun exercise for those who like a challenge.

The short list of potential cars were:

  • BMW X5 35d
  • Porsche Cayenne Diesel

The choice was obvious, BMW.  We searched the local Northwest dealers and landed on all of the features we wanted for the new car including color and options.

BMW of Seattle was the dealer that would give us the best deal on both the purchase price and the trade-in.  They were easy to work with and find too–they have a Roundel on their roof.

Seattle BMW

We have been a fan of the Spartanburg built X5 from the beginning; it just took a few years to add one to the garage.  We look forward to the adventures we will have in the new car.

2012 X5 Diesel

We already have upgrades being planned and some places in mind for the winter season. Stay Tuned!

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The Return of the Jeep

Let’s Recap

  1. Purchased a 2008 Jeep Wrangler and had a horrible dealer experience
  2. Modified, Upgraded and Enjoyed the Jeep for 2 years
  3. In 2010, my wife is involved in an accident with a young adult who made two illegal maneuvers in a row–right on red without stopping or looking, followed by an immediate u-turn
  4. $11,000 plus dollars in damage to the Jeep and it is a trade-in within weeks of returning
  5. Purchased a Honda Pilot for 13 months and hated it for being boring and common
  6. Returned to the same Jeep dealership to purchase the new Jeep after realizing that all of the other Phoenix Jeep dealers were worse

I really struggled with going back to Power’s Jeep because of my first experience.  This time we met Aaron and he was great to work with during the search and negotiations.  He is a big man with tons of Jeep experience (and some BMW E30 tales); he was new to the sales game but worked with us to find a “Plain Jane” Jeep.

Jeep Wrangler

Within a couple of weeks and some manual labor we transformed her into a Rubicon knock-off using Craigslist and $800.  We set to buying, trading and reselling Jeep parts to secure Rubicon wheels, tires, rock rails and suspension.  Don’t overlook searching Craigslist in your future upgrade projects–know your vehicle and check the details. We did a few other upgrades like tinting the lights, removing decals, painting the muffler and towhook and doing a grill insert for only another $20.

Jeep Wrangler

Look for more upgrades and adventures in the future.  Jeeps and Arizona go hand-in-hand.

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Diminished Value the Unknown $ in an Accident

When our 2008 Jeep Wrangler was wrecked last year we faced a few challenges. First, was to make sure that Deb was not injured and second was to be made whole on our Jeep.  This meant having it repaired back to pre-accident status, or having it replaced with a Jeep of equal value.

Jeep wreck

Deb suffered a bruised leg that recovered after some time off from running. Her recovery just took time and patience.  We made sure that all medical bills were covered during this recovery period including return visits and diagnostic testing.

The insurance company insisted the Jeep was repairable and not a total loss despite frame and axle damage.  The initial estimate started at $7,000 and then climbed to over $13,000 after the Jeep was torn down and all damage was now visible.  This figure did not include the rental and other misc. items which can add up and are paid out of the property damage portion of an individual’s insurance policy.

The insurance company insisted that the vehicle was worth as much as we paid for it after two years of daily use.  Talk about negotiating a deal at the time of purchase! They held the write-off percentage at over 75% of the book value.  This insanely high number meant that we would have to repair the Jeep and deal with  any issues in the future when we traded the vehicle.   After this wreck, every dealer would know the car was involved in an accident and that the frame had been bent after running a  Carfax report.  This would be a red flag for all dealers who might consider taking this car in trade as an opportunity to ding us on the value of the Jeep.

We picked the repair shop with the best reviews and a lifelong warranty on the work.  I visited the shop frequently and worked with them to ensure every damaged item was replaced with new genuine Mopar parts.  I know this was timely, but it made sure that no corners were cut in the repair process.

Our final challenge to the insurance company was to request diminished value. Diminished value is a calculated amount of money that the owner of a vehicle could lose when they go to sell the car in the future based on the damage incurred in an accident. The adjuster used the vehicle’s damage and a formula based tool from Georgia state insurance law to calculate the dollar amount.  In the end this was calculated to be over $2,000.

Insurance companies will not offer this to a claimant so you do have to request a diminished value claim.  We had to aggressively push and question this issue before they agreed to do the calculation.  Claimant’s often think that making a diminished value claim with an insurer will result in thousands of dollars in their pockets, but as a general rule of thumb these claims only amount to roughly 15 percent of the property damage claim.

In the end, we sold the Jeep a few months after all of the accident issues were resolved.  The dealer checked Carfax and it showed an accident.  The trade-in amount was about where we expected when we factored the damage and the check we received for the diminished value made sure that we ended-up being fairly compensated in the end.

If you are in an accident, do the following to protect yourself:

– Call 911–a Police officer will file a report and check all documents.
– Make sure you and/or other people are not injured.
– Get to a safe location out of the flow of traffic.
– Carry a camera–take photos of everything.
– Stay calm and write down everything to help you later on.

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