Heroic 4.0-Liter Jeep Engine Thwarts Car Thief's Getaway

A green 1995 Jeep Cherokee Sport just like this one was stolen in Colorado Springs. (Photo Credit: David Tracy)
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In Colorado Springs, some disgraceful human being decided to steal a woman’s beloved Jeep Cherokee Sport while she was inflating her tires at a gas station. But the thief didn’t get far thanks to the heroic efforts of a selfless 4.0-liter inline-six.

As if you needed any more convincing that the Jeep four-liter is the greatest motor ever to be packaged in the engine bay of an automobile!


KKTV says it all started yesterday after Kaitlynn Sartor left her keys in the passenger’s seat of her Cherokee Sport as she inflated tires at the Kum and Go gas station. As she knelt by the front passenger’s side tire, she noticed the engine fire up, and the car take off.

That’s when Kaitlynn ran after the XJ, grabbed onto its roof rack, and started banging on the window. After she was dragged several dozen feet while yelling at the driver to stop, Kaitlynn lost grip, and fell to the pavement. KKTV says she was taken to the hospital and treated for minor road rash and a concussion.

(Photo Credit: KKTV screengrab)

But the real story is about how the Jeep stopped the thief’s escape by intentionally blowing up its own motor. According to Kaitlynn’s boyfriend, the heroic Jeep engine seized itself, locking up the Jeep’s rear wheels and sending the boxy Jeep skidding to a halt.

Okay, so technically the boyfriend told KKTV he “already knew that the motor was going to blow on it if he drove it too hard,” but trust me on this one: the Jeep engine timed its explosion strategically. Because that’s what four-liter Jeep engines do: they’re thoughtful beasts meant to loyally serve their rightful owners.


The Jeep’s sacrifice led officers to find the car ditched on the side of the road the following day, though the thief hasn’t yet been found.

The XJ is Kaitlynn’s only vehicle, which she uses to transport herself and her three kids. I spoke with FN Jeeps (that amazing indoor Jeep Junkyard place I wrote about before), because I noticed that Kaitlynn’s Jeep had FN Jeep stickers on it, and the owner there said he and the car parts store for which the boyfriend works (AutoZone or Advance, I can’t remember which) plan to help get a purring 4.0-liter Jeep engine back into that Jeep.


And heck, if that doesn’t work out, all Kaitlynn needs is $120, and she can snag a nice running 4.0 from Craigslist— one that will undoubtedly provide many years of reliable, low-end torquey service.

h/t: Mike Janzen

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About the author

David Tracy

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).