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We have moved to a new town. I've recently had my 1997, Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, 6 cylinder, 2 wheel drive, serviced by a Jeep dealer. I have 128,000+ miles on this car and have been the sole owner, have had great service prior to my move from an independent car mechanic. The (new) dealer/service dept. recommends repairs to a cracked exhaust manifold and the bearings(that they indicated sound pretty noisy) for the rear differential. Is the differential the first repair I should have done? is it an emergency? Should this work be done asap? The estimate for these two items is $2314.00. I don't have that amount available in one month, so I have to split up the repair jobs. What is your advice? Should I seek a second opinion from an independent mechanic hoping for a lower estimate? Will access to parts be a problem for a non-dealer shop since my car is 10 years old? Thanks for your help.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Gayle Clark, Owner at Motor City Sales & Services Hi Barbara, It sounds to me like you have taken excellent care of your jeep [u-go-girl!] However these new repairs could actually be needed, seeing as the new dealer center may have performed a more in-depth inspection on your jeep. Yes, these type of repairs are costly and important to do - I do not consider it an emergency, but think the sooner the better. You can call around for lower estimates, but keep in mind cheaper is not always better. Parts should not be a problem to obtain either way. Gayle Clark

Patty Streeter,  at Barbara, Both of these problems are fairly common on this vehicle, although the cost sounds a bit high. The rear differential bearings would be the first repair to tackle as it could become a safety issue but the exhaust manifold is important as it can, over an extended period of time, cause internal engine damage and affect your vehicles emission systems. There is an after market exhaust manifold available (made by Dorman), that is a little less expensive and is redesigned so the possibility of cracking again is reduced. The bearing and parts for the rear differential are readily available at most any auto parts supplier. If you do seek a second opinion, make sure it is with an ASE certified technician. You can locate one near you by going here: Good Luck!

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