Picking Her Up...

 Gotta be honest: I'm very excited about picking up the JTRD today. But to be even more honest: I'm a little nervous about issues and reliability of a brand new Mopar. I've owned all makes and models of cars and trucks before (including a couple of actual Fiats), but have never formally owned a Mopar/Fiat-Chrysler vehicle before. Why? Well, historically, they weren't known as the most reliable cars and trucks around. I believe that has mostly changed, but I worry there's lingering things wrong.

So, what to do? I'll be discussion some reliability things in upcoming posts, but the most important immediate thing I have to do is pick up the pickup (ha, see what I did there?) and ensure it's in the best possible state from day 1 of ownership.

So, first things first: how do I ensure the JTRD is in pristine condition when I drive her home? Answer: do a thorough checkout and inspection at the dealership today when before they hand her over. 

So how do I do that? Answer: I posted this question on some Gladiator forums and in Facebook. Here is the consolidated advice that I'm going to follow today:

  1. First, don't accept the truck until the dealership person walks me through the entire vehicle, including operation of all the features, functions, bells, and whistles. Note anything that is amiss and get the dealership to address it. Common issues that Gladiator owners note include: leaking differentials, unseated fuses, and check-engine lights, or illuminated CELs at time of delivery (yes, seriously!).
  2. Make sure they've supplied everything that is supposed to come with the truck. Also, make sure that all the extra options I paid for are included and working. Things like tow package, floor mats, etc are easy to overlook in the excitement of opening the Xmas wrappings on the new toy...
  3. Take photos of the truck, inside and out--before leaving the dealership. This will be helpful in "proving" something was amiss that you might discover later. (Plus, it has the added benefit of being the first photos of your newborn to proudly show the world ;-) )
  4. If the vehicle doesn't have a full tank of diesel, stop on the way home and get a full tank of high quality fuel. Don't go to a cheapo station to save a few bucks; buy the good stuff from day one. Same with DEF fluid.
  5. Start a journal (or blog like this one) to document the ownership process, issues, modifications, etc. 
  6. At home and read the entire owner's manual, from cover to cover. It's a huge document, but when in doubt RTFM, right?
  7. Learn how to disable the auto start/stop feature. From everything I've read they installed this system to improve overall CAFE numbers for Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). In the long run, however, it actually can cause undue wear-and-tear (e.g., coking of turbo bearings). Just disable it from day 1.
  8. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the dealership or on the forums if there is any confusion or doubt about specific behavior, operation of features, etc.
For what it's worth, here's the master checklist I created to take with me today to the dealership.

I'll report back tomorrow on how the experience went today. I'm hoping it's a positive one... ;-)


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