If you’re new to Jeep ownership, you’ve come to the right place. We often see a ton of first-time owner questions, and it occurred to us that maybe creating a guide for the noobs might be helpful. We’re glad you’re here, now, let’s jump into the ten-step guide to rocking your new life as a Jeep fanatic.
First, welcome to the Jeep club! By club, we don’t mean an actual club, although you’ll find there’s a shit ton of regional Jeep organizations to join. By club, we really mean, welcome to the Jeep lifestyle. We’re a group of very diverse individuals and families, with one commonality. We sure do love our Jeeps.
Maybe you’ve always given your new vehicles names in the past. It’s practically a requirement for the new Jeep owner. It may take a day or two of driving for the perfect title to come to you, but the first thing many owners do is name their new baby. Consider the size, color, and feel of your first-time top-down, cruise.
Jeep enthusiasts recognize each other, and for years, it’s an unwritten rule that Jeep drivers wave at each other in passing. You can offer the full handed, Forrest Gump wave or just offer the two-finger raise and head nod. Regardless of how you wave, it’s imperative that you start seeing other Jeeps in transit, and wave.
Know Your Ride
You will find that in discussing your new rig, people will ask you some basic questions about your Jeep. Now that you’re part of the Jeep lifestyle, it’s a good idea to know all the details of your new wheels including what model, engine size and installed upgrades. Whether you’ve purchased a new Jeep or new to you Jeep, learn everything you can about it. Even those Jeep owners with older models, veraciously maintain their knowledge of the history, perks, and pitfalls of their rigs. You don’t have to be the expert in everything Jeep but definitely invest in learning everything there is to know about your Jeep.
Tires, Tires, Tires
It’s best first to identify your current size and tire type. You don’t have to have all terrain or mud tires to be in the Jeep club. You should, however, know what you’re sporting currently, and do a little homework to decide if you plan to enhance your ride. Before jumping into upgrading your tires, consider what you want to do with your Jeep. If you lead a city life, you may not need the beefier set of wheels. Keep your MPGs in mind as well. If you head out for some light off-roading only once or twice a year, maybe keep a set of mud tires in storage until you need them. Now, if you bought your Jeep expressly for off-road fun, by all means, you’ll want to invest in a set of all terrains or mud tires for maximum benefit.
Do you need a light bar? No, really, ask yourself, do I really need a lightbar? If you answered yes, cool, we’re not here to judge. They come in awful handy if you plan to wheel in the dark, or when you’re stuck ;).
Don’t know the first thing about towing? That’s ok too. You’re still in. There is a host of factory and aftermarket tow package accessories that can beef up the look and functionality of your Jeep. But rest assured, you don’t have to tow to be a Jeeper.
Are Lockers Necessary?
Not everyone will need them. Most stock Jeeps come equipped with an open differential, meaning only one wheel will be spinning if you get stuck. Not a huge concern for city life. But if you find yourself driving consistently in inclement weather, like snow, it might be a good idea. If you plan to hit the trails and play in the mud, you probably want to invest in solid limited-slip differentials and lockers.
Real Jeepers aren’t concerned about gas consumption or prices – am I right? Okay, well maybe they do, and it might be a good idea for you to know your current MPGs. Understanding how your fuel efficiency changes with the engagement of your four-wheel drive, adding a lift or changing your tires will help you make better choices when you start to customize it (and you will).
Hard Top & Soft Top Care
As a new Jeep owner, you’ll need to learn how to manage the changing and storing your tops. It’s sometimes a two-person job, but ultimately it’s a good idea to practice and get comfortable with the process. Don’t wait until you’re in a compromising weather situation, to put your top on for the first time by yourself. It’s important also to recognize that you have not only a Jeep to care for, but also a set of interchanging tops. Fiberglass hard tops should be stored in a garage or building. Soft tops can be folded down on some models, but repeated folding and unfolding can put unnecessary wear and tear on the canvass material. In the off seasons, when you’re sporting the hard top, keep your soft top in a garage as well, laid out and not folded.
What If It Rains?
Welcome to the Jeep life and the inevitable first time you get caught in the rain without a top. Not only is it expected, but it’s almost a right of passage. In fact, all Wranglers are equipped with drain holes in the floorboards for draining excess water. Some Jeep enthusiasts invest in rubber coating liner sprays on the floorboards, to help prevent rust or damage from the occasional downpour. It’s a good idea a plastic bag in your Jeep, with an extra towel or two, to sit on, wipe down the dash or dry off your consoles. In any case, don’t be afraid of a little rain. If you find yourself driving in a downpour, find an overpass or a car wash bay to pull into to wait it out.
We’re excited for you to join the Jeep life. You’re going to have a blast, regardless of how you plan to use your new ride. With these ten tips, you should be off to a good start. If you have other questions about your new Jeep, or what to expect now that you’re an official Jeep owner, leave a question for our community to answer via the comments section below!