Having spent countless hours
trolling browsing off road forums and Facebook groups, I consistently see the same slogan over and over again: “Built Not Bought”. We’ll I hate to break it to all of you guys that love to bring it up, but it’s a total load of crap.
Now before I go into this, I’m going to make something clear. Having the ability to work on your truck is critical if you consider yourself an off-road enthusiast. I’m not talking about being able to do an LS swap with nothing but a set of wrenches and a rag soaked in tears, I’m talking about being able to do basic repairs and maintenance. The reality is, sooner or later something is going to break while out on the trail. Having the ability to make basic repairs and troubleshoot minor issues could mean the difference between driving your rig out, or walking miles to get help. So if you lack the ability to change a tire/change your oil/replace headlight fluid, turn in your man card and stick to bird watching.
Okay, now that we have that all cleared up, here’s why Built Not Bought is total crap, and here’s what you should do the next time someone brings it up.
Most of us work regular jobs, and unless your full time gig is
being broke working on vehicles, chances are you don’t have much time during the week to turn a wrench. If you give me the option of choosing to work on my truck over a weekend, or having a shop doing it during the week so I can go on a trip instead, I’m going to hand them the keys every time. So the next time somebody is talking crap about how XYZ shop working on your truck somehow makes it inferior to their 1995 Sukzuki Samurai with a Rough Country piece of crap lift installed in a driveway after 15 Natural Lights, ask him about the last time he went on a trip. His response will probably be, yesterday, but it’ll have been to Advanced Auto Parts for the 500th time.
That brings me on to my second point, do you really want to trust your life to your own work? I’m a real estate professional with a background in finance, my education did not include vehicle dynamics, suspension geometry, or un-fucking crappy wiring jobs (thanks Chrysler). I’m happy to install a set of sliders or rotate my own tires, but the last thing I want to explain to my wife is why a control arm is falling off while we barrel roll down the highway or why the Jeep is on fire in the driveway. On the flip side, if you’re the Built Not Bought guy, you never have this problem since your rig is always sitting in the garage on jack stands.
Inevitably someone is going to bring up the part about money and how it’s cheaper to work on your rig yourself. To an extent, I do agree with this point. Most basic things you can do on your own, but when it comes time to start drilling holes in your roof or messing with electrical components, the cost of a screw up quickly adds up. I’ve spent countless hours in the garage with friends working on everything from Mazda RX-7’s to clapped out Cherokee’s. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Do I still send my truck to a shop for major work? You bet your ass I do. The reason is simple economics, because to me it’s time vs. money. I can always make more money, but I can’t recover the hours I spent installing parts on my Jeep. So now I’d rather pay someone else to do it, and write about all of their hard work on a website.
Finally, if every guy that had to build their own truck and not utilize a shop, I would guarantee that 90% of us would be driving around in a Honda Ridgeline with chrome wheels. Why? Because it’s reliable and it’s not a Land Rover (sorry I can’t go a week without making a Rover reference).
Don’t take this the wrong way, I know plenty of guys that wrench on their rigs because it’s their passion and it’s what they love to do. There’s nothing more satisfying (or frustrating) than completing a ground up restoration and being able to say that you’ve
completely emptied your 401K and your kids can no longer go to college restored a classic with your own hands. That being said, a 1997 Cherokee is as much of a classic as a new Discovery Sport, so get over yourself.
So the next time Suzuki Samurai guy is talking trash about how his rig is superior because it’s “Built Not Bought”, tell him to go pound sand, get in your truck, and hit the trails for the weekend.