Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Build Your Dream Jeep Wrangler


Whether you’re driving by the beach or balancing alongside a rocky mountain, it seems like the car to be in is none other than a Jeep. There’s no question that Jeeps have made a pretty big reputation as being the ultimate car for adventure. However, while we may have an idea of what the basic Jeep may look and be like, there are a variety of Jeeps out there that are better for other things not to mention an endless amount of features to pile on. The best thing about Jeeps is that they’re highly customizable to fit your personal needs and desires. It may seem like a lot to handle, so here are some things you should consider before building your dream Jeep:

Soft-top vs Hardtop
One of the best things about Jeeps is their convertibility. Jeep Wranglers are known for their removable doors and ceilings that may make you feel completely susceptible to the forces of nature. While they are of course many safety features in place, the openness of Jeeps allow you to drive almost anywhere while being able to experience the wind in your face and the mud splatter on your wheels. However, since we can’t always control the spontaneity of Mother Nature, Jeep are made with removable hard and soft tops.

If you’re expecting to ride your Jeep through a constant storm of heavy rain, hail, and snow, the hardtop is probably a better fit for you. While they are still removable, these hardtops are not always easy to constantly remove and add back on. Usually requiring at least two people, these heavy-duty tops are good to withstand extreme weather conditions but not the best for sporadic weather changes.
Unlike hardtops, soft-tops are extremely easy to remove and change constantly. While they still provide protection from precipitation, you probably wouldn’t want to be stuck in a heavy snowstorm with just a soft top. However, if you’re the constant adventurer that loves to feel the open wind on their face and experience the full capability of a Jeep, the soft top is the perfect option.

Two door vs Four Door
Another step to think about when building your dream Jeep is considering whether or not you want four doors. Just as with any decision we make, there are pros and cons to both options.

If you’re one of those people that is constantly driving around all of their friends, a four-door car may be a little bit more convenient for you. Of course, we’ve all experienced the inconvenience of having to crawl behind a seat in order to get to the back, but with four-door Jeeps, this is obviously not an issue. However, one issue you may want to consider is the inconvenience of removing all four doors. Just like removing a hard top, we can imagine that the doors that are made for a heavy duty Jeep are not lightweight to carry. If you’re planning on constantly removing your doors and putting them back on, maybe you should reconsider the four-door option.

Sport vs Sahara vs Rubicon
Although some may consider this first, we’ve saved the base for last. The last step in building your dream Jeep is to pick the model that you want it to be. We know it’s a big thing to choose; hopefully the previous steps gave you a better understanding of what you’re looking for. The Jeep Wrangler comes in a variety of different models, but the three most basic are Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon.

On left side of the spectrum, we have the Sahara. This car is best for those that want the look of the Jeep, but would rather just have a better interior than exterior. While this car is not too made for off-roading and crazy adventuring, it is perfect for those that want the freedom aspect of the Jeep while still having a kicking interior sound system and other features.

The sport Wrangler is the perfect buffer between extreme off-roading and just cruising. If you’re sure you won’t be venturing off crazy obstacles every day, but might go off-roading occasionally, this model is the typical Jeep Wrangler. It has all the basic features of a Jeep Wrangler that allow you to go experience adventure at its finest, but also allows for just a day out cruising.

Lastly, we have the Rubicon. This is likely the image you’ve had in your head about Jeeps all along. This is going to be the heavy duty Jeep that is made for off-roading, mud piles, mountainous areas, and basically anything you can think of. If you’re looking to push the limits on your Jeep, this is going to be the car for you.

While there are an endless amount of things that you can do to make your Jeep your own, there are always a few fundamental things that you should consider before trying to decide all the little details. Whether you’re looking for the ultimate adventure car or just a car to sit still and look pretty in, any Jeep will undoubtedly make you look like the ultimate cool kid.




Monday, February 12, 2018

5 Myths about Convertibles Dispelled

If you’re anything like us, you long for that open air feeling when you’re on the road. The wind blowing in your hair, the sun shining on your face, and the sensation of being exposed to your environment is magical. It’s like a special kind of freedom that’s usually reserved for reckless bikers, but convertibles make it safe… or do they? There’s been a lot fake news and misinformation about convertibles over the years, especially with newer models. With technological advances, all cars including convertible cars have gotten safer and easier to use than ever. As advocates for convertibles, we’re dispelling 4 myths you’ve heard about convertibles.

1)   They’re not practical and you can only drive them in the summer
Although they aren’t necessarily the most practical of cars, convertibles aren’t impractical and they’re a ton of fun that makes for a great driving experience. Sure, everyone who gets a convertible is thinking about hitting the road when the sun is out, but that doesn’t mean it’s not usable during fall and winter. Granted, you might not want to drive 25 mph with the top down when it’s chilly or rainy out, but that’s the beauty of a convertible: it’s convertible. When the weather is poor, you keep the top up. When the weather is beautiful, you put the top down.

If you’re worried about staying warm with a convertible during winter months, get a hard top. Hard tops offer you more insulation and overall protection from your exterior surroundings compared to soft tops. Though it’s important to note that soft tops have come a long way in terms of insulation, but the hard top will always mean less weather exposure and noise from the road.

2)   They don’t have storage space
There might not be as much trunk space for storage when you’re buying a small convertible, but then again, you probably aren’t too concerned about storage space if you’re looking at roadsters or sports convertibles. This myth really refers to when the top is down, especially if it’s a hard top. However, not every convertible on the market sacrifices trunk space to make a zippy, compact convertible. If having a lot of trunk space is important to you, you can still get a convertible without compromising on storage.

3)   They have poor performance, which makes them dangerous
Maybe a decade or so ago, convertibles were notorious for poor maneuverability and control because their flimsy bodies would flex in strong wind forces (which was also less fuel efficient!). In the past, engineers depended on the roof of the car to provide a lot of structural integrity, which hindered the driving performance of convertibles. Today, engineers construct convertibles with a rigid body, using support pillars and stiffer materials. That means little to no structural flex, more maneuverability, and better safety. Nowadays, the only time convertibles are more dangerous than regular cars is if they were flipped, which isn’t an easy task.

4)   They’re high maintenance and expensive
Another common myth about convertibles is that they’re high maintenance. That’s get this straight though: any quality car is worth taking good care of and, therefore, might be considered high maintenance. Even if you’re not driving a nice car, it still needs regular maintenance or it’ll eventually break down. As for convertibles, the maintenance varies depending on the type of convertible you get (i.e. roadster, classic 4 seater, or luxury), as well as the top it has.

Over the years, soft tops got a reputation for easily damaged from weather, use, and theft. They use to come with a flimsy plastic rearview window that would easily scratch with regular use too. Repairing these tops was extremely high maintenance and expensive. However, today, soft tops are more durable and long lasting than ever. They’re made from stronger materials that make them less expensive and more protective. Not only are they more durable, but most soft tops come with a glass rearview window now. Although soft tops aren’t completely theft protective and carwash proof as a hard top, they’re not nearly as high maintenance as rumor has it. Meanwhile, a hard top is more expensive to buy and replace, and are heavier than a soft top, but are as easily damaged or broken into.

5)   They aren’t suited for families
If the other myths about convertibles were true, this one would make sense. However, convertible can be a great car for your family. Granted, it may not be the best option if you can only have one car in your family, but that doesn’t mean convertibles don’t play well with families. If you have a family and want a convertible, get a 4 seater convertible instead of a roadster. Most of the 4 seater models have plenty of space for a car seat and a beach cooler for when you want to drive your family down to the shore for a beach day.

Don’t let these 5 myths scare you away from buying a convertible car. They’re based on outdated information and technology. Modernly, convertibles are far more affordable and safer than their early predecessors. And just like any quality car, convertibles require some maintenance, but it’s manageable and worth it. Plus, at AutoTopsDirect, we make it easy to take care of your convertible with our collection of affordable replacement parts.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Tips for Preparing a Convertible Car for Sale

No one ever wants to sell his or her convertible – unless it’s to buy another convertible! You can’t put a price on the joy and freedom felt when cruising with the top down and wind in your hair. However, in the event you do have to put a price on your precious convertible, we’ve put together a few tips to ensure you get the amount you deserve.

Floor Mats

As soon as you possibly can, buy thick rubber floor mats for the front and back seats of your convertible. These will keep the factory floor mats perfectly preserved and make the interior look like new when presented to a potential buyer. The aftermarket rubber floor mats will also preserve the surrounding carpeting against spills, dirt, and debris. This extremely affordable step is the easiest way to keep your interior clean through all seasons and environments.  

Tune-up

Most car buyers will know how to do a proper assessment of your convertible’s condition, or bring someone with them who can. At the very least, you should have your convertible’s fluids changed before attempting a sale. Changing spark plugs, oil and air filters, belts, and performing other routine maintenance can go a long way towards satisfying even the most perceptive buyers.  

Fix Anything that’s Broken

If you have a broken tail light or headlight, door handle, or any other part, find and install a replacement. Most any salvage yard will have the parts you need at an affordable price. The time, money, and effort put into replacing a cracked headlamp can justify an increased asking price and give you the confidence to stick to it.

Clean it Up

A clean convertible is a sold convertible. Give your car a good bath and vacuum before putting it up for sale, and add a coat of wax to give it that extra shine. The interior should be given the same level of care as the outside including cleaning the dashboard and all windows inside and out. Many sellers overlook the importance of cleaning under the hood of the car, as well. With the battery and other electronic components properly covered, use a degreaser or approved solvent and water to remove all oil and debris. This will make everything under the hood look like new and give buyers no reason to complain. This applies to the trunk of the car, as well. The trunk should be vacuumed and orderly for potential buyers to view. The car should also have air fresheners to provide a pleasant aroma that puts buyers at ease.

Vehicle History

If possible, have all maintenance records available for review. If you have a particular mechanic you have used over the years, they may be able to help you access and print out your convertible’s maintenance history. If you are not the original buyer, keep the original owner’s contact information stored some place convenient in the event a buyer may have a question you are unable to answer. You may need to invite the original buyer to your next barbecue as a thank you, but it could mean the difference between a sale and another week of running a tiny used car lot out of your home.


These are just some of our favorite tips for preparing your convertible for sale. Taking these steps will give you the edge you need to keep reluctant buyers from walking away and ensure you get the price you want and need – so you can buy a new convertible! What are your best tips for preparing a convertible for sale? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Tips for Enjoying Jeeps during Winter

Jeeps are perfect for any time of year. However, wintertime provides additional challenges that can be difficult to deal with, if you aren’t properly prepared. Winter brings snow, sleet, slush, and freezing temperatures mixed with your usual dirt, debris, and various road and trail anomalies. It’s important to incorporate seasonal accessories to ensure your travels are both safe and comfortable. So, we’ve put together a few ways to make the most of your Jeep during the cold winter months.

Heater

You’ll need to make sure your Jeep’s heater is properly functioning in order to stay warm and keep your windows defrosted. There are plenty of affordable portable heaters able to warm your Jeep and clear your windows in seconds. Staying warm is imperative to maintaining quick reaction times and keeping your extremities from cramping or losing sensation.

Floor Mats

Installing floor mats over your Jeep branded floor mats will keep them looking like new well beyond their normal shelf life. Thick rubber mats prevent snow, moisture, and your feet from damaging your interior and are extremely easy to clean. If you ever decide to sell your Jeep, showing off your perfectly maintained interior will be eye-catching and add real value to the sale.

Tires

Your off-road tires are designed for versatility and rugged environments. But, are your tires designed for snow? Driving on tires not designed for snow and sleet may cause your Jeep to slide or be unable to grip properly to the terrain. Snow tires have larger gaps in the tread design that is specifically engineered to improve traction on snow and ice. Winter is notorious for robbing tires of their proper air pressure, as well. You’ll need to check the air pressure in your Jeep’s tires frequently to ensure they stay within the recommended PSI. Tires that are improperly inflated will not hug the road evenly, causing the tires to deliver less than optimal performance.

Winch & Recovery Kit

One of the most important accessories for any time of year, especially winter, is a winch and recovery kit. With or without snow tires, you’re bound to end up stuck at least a few times, and the only thing worse than being stuck, is being stuck in the cold! Installing a winch and keeping a complete recovery kit handy will ensure you never have to stay in one place too long.

New Top & Doors

If your Jeep’s convertible top and removable doors have seen better days, winter is the perfect time to replace them. Cracks or tears in your Jeep’s convertible components are the top contributor to moisture, mold, and mildew infecting the interior, not to mention the cold air that seeps through when driving. A new convertible top and doors will not only keep you warmer and your interior clean, your Jeep will look great too!


These are just some of the quick and easy ways you can enhance your winter Jeep experience. It’s important to stay warm and alert at all times when driving in cold weather and being prepared will guarantee everyone’s safety and enjoyment. What are your favorite tips for enjoying your Jeep during the winter? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!