How I got a new car motor for the price of an oil change

Recently I took my wife’s Jeep Wrangler into the shop for a routine oil change.  It was a couple thousand miles overdue and much as I despise the practice, I knew it had to be done. The engine had over 225,000 miles on it and we’ve been starting to come to grips with the fact that we should start putting a contingency plan in place for the day when the inevitable happens.

2001 Jeep Wrangler
My wife’s Jeep Sunshine

When I went to pick it up, everything seemed fine.  I was in a hurry to pick up my daughter from school, so I jumped in his driver’s seat and took off down the road. A couple miles later it began to sputter and lose power. Beneath the sound of the air conditioner and stereo I had not heard that the car stopped running.  Once I noticed it lost power, I shut everything off and realized that engine was no longer running. So I put the car in neutral and tried the ignition switch.  No dice.  It was not going to start.

I coasted onto the shoulder and face the reality that something major was wrong. Long story short, I had it towed back to the the shop where I placed the burden of proof on the shop manager to convince me they put oil in the engine. He couldn’t do it.

“Don’t worry,” he told me. “We will make it right.”

For me there was only one way he could make it right, so I asked him to elaborate. “We’re going to have to put a new engine it. At no cost to you.”

It took about a week, but they made it right. The shop found the identical engine from another Jeep with only 70,000 miles on it.  For the price of an oil change, the Jeep that my wife fondly named Sunshine was transformed from a tired old hen to a lively spring chicken.


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