Can I hire someone to find me a used Jeep?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader looking for assistance finding an inexpensive Jeep Wrangler.

File - Jeep Wranglers on a car lot in Chicago, Illinois in 2013. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images/File

Q. I was wondering if people hire you to find vehicles for them. If so, how does that process work? I am looking for a relatively inexpensive Jeep Wrangler for the beach. If not, do you have any leads? Favorite websites?

A. There are car brokers who search for vehicles – not me (perhaps a second career?) Today new and used cars are still in short supply and people are holding on to their current vehicles longer than at any time in history. The Jeep Wrangler is a fun summer and winter vehicle and also holds its value longer than many SUVs. I recommend checking Jeep forums, Facebook pages, and websites such as iSeeCars, CarGurus, and AutoTrader. Jeeps can be prone to rust issues as well as transmission and transfer case failure, and any used Jeep should be checked by a good repair shop prior to purchase. 


Q. I have a 2019 Toyota Highlander. About a year ago, I started having a problem with the rear hatchback door. Sometimes when I press the button to open it, it begins to open but then stops. It can take me several tries to get it open or closed. I brought it to the dealer who said they ran a diagnostic test and told me everything looked okay.

A. I would start by erasing the vehicle’s computer memory (the equivalent of a computer reboot). This will clear any memory functions (including radio presets and seat memory). Now you will need to reprogram the lift gate. With the liftgate fully open, push and hold the close button until it beeps four times, and the liftgate closes. This will reset the system. You will also need to reset the auto up and down feature of the windows. This is also simple: Open the driver’s window fully, now close the window and hold the up button for a few seconds. This should reset the automatic controls. 

Q. I have owned a 2010 Volkswagen Eos since 2012. It has about 57,000 miles and is in great running condition. In the years that I’ve owned it, I have had the convertible top repaired a number of times due to failure to open or close and/or water leakage. The dealership had covered the cost of these repairs because the Eos was still under warranty. We’ve since moved and began using another VW dealership for repairs and general servicing. The top has since needed several more (expensive) repairs. I brought the Eos in due to more leakage issues as well as additional problems opening and closing the top. The dealership kept my car for about a week then told me that the entire top had to be replaced to the tune of $15,000, which would not be covered.


A. There have been many technical service bulletins about that roof, which, when it works correctly, is a mechanical marvel. I have seen many problems with seal leaks and the roof’s ability to go up or down in hot weather. It is very complicated with servos motors and computers, but for the life of me I don’t know why you would replace the steel roof when there are so many other parts to check. I would ask the dealer if they could contact a Volkswagen field engineer and see if they can offer a better solution than spending more on the roof than the car is worth. 

Q. My 2009 Chevy Silverado needs the passenger-side upper control arm replaced according to a local garage mechanic. Should I replace both the left and right upper control arms and ball joints? The mechanic says in order to save me money, only the one side upper needs replacement. Also, I thought that the lower control arms and ball joints bear most of the weight of the vehicle. Any thoughts?

A. You are correct that in the suspension style used in your truck, the lower control arms and ball joints carry the majority of the load. It is also typical that the right will wear more rapidly, since the right-side tire is in the gutter of the road. Considering the cost of parts and labor these days, I agree with repairing only what is wrong now. I would also thank your mechanic for looking out for both your safety and your wallet. 


Q. While waiting for various traffic lights I hear people in cars near me turning their cars on and off.  Is this to save gas, and do you recommend I do this?

A. Many cars made in the past few years use an idle-stop feature that when certain conditions are met, will stop the engine to save fuel. These cars will typically have a more robust battery and starter. To save fuel in your car, keep tires properly inflated, accelerate gradually, and apply the brakes gently. Also, stay at the speed limit, and if you frequent coffee and other fast food drive-thrus, park the car and walk in. These small changes in driving habits have proven to save gas and improve overall miles per gallon. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE-certified master technician. E-mail your car question to [email protected]. Listen to the Car Doctor podcast at


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on