Hello! I’m looking at buying a used Wrangler for off-roading, and wanted some advice on how to make the right selection. Since this is going to be a car mostly for the purpose of weekend drives, I don’t want to spend too much money on it, so 2005-2006 TJs seem to be the best bet for my price range. I’m looking at a 3-door, 4-litre automatic. I’ve never bought a used car before that’s as old as this, and definitely never a Jeep, so I wanted to get some advice from people who have either owned one, bought a used one, and people who drive in the desert.
Is this a good choice for the desert? From what I’ve seen, it’s probably one of the most common cars in the sand. They have a great power-to-weight ratio, and the clearance angles are great.
What’s the best way to scope out how good a condition the car is actually in? Most of the vehicles I am seeing are not available with full service history. Can I get a car checked at a mechanic? Who does this and how much does it cost?
Should I look at cars with desert modifications/upgrades? There are plenty that I can find with lifts, larger wheels and tires, and upgrades to the roll cage done. It will be cheaper than getting a car that’s stock (assuming, of course, the car is actually clean. I am not sure how to actually verify this).
How reliable are these cars? It’s hard to find anything in this model year range that doesn’t have at least 150,000 km on the odometer, if not 200,000 km.
If I do buy a stock car (assuming it is clean), what are the basic upgrades that I should consider, where should I get those done, and how much do I budget for it?
For a car this old, what mechanics/garages in Dubai are reliable and trustworthy for servicing the car?
Is there something in particular I should look for (either as something good or something to avoid) when I inspect and test drive the car?
Thanks in advance!