Thursday, April 12, 2018

Your First Convertible: What to Know



So, you just bought your first convertible. Congratulations are in order! You’re now a part of an elite club of happy car enthusiasts who truly understand how to enjoy the driving experience. Every trip now becomes a celebration and an opportunity to relax and have fun while performing everyday tasks. However, owning your first convertible comes with a bit of a learning curve, so we’ve put together a few tips to help make the most of your new dream car.   

Protect Your Skin

Driving a convertible is a completely different experience from driving a conventional car, truck or SUV. Exposure to sunlight for extended periods of time can cause sunburns and other skin problems. If you’re planning on driving on a sunny day, and we hope that you do, make sure to use sunscreen on your face, ears, neck, hands, and arms. Wearing long-sleeve shirts, gloves, and a hat will further protect from sunlight and exposure to wind, as well.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Now that you’re officially driving your new convertible, you’ll need to keep a sharp lookout when driving with the top down. Splashing puddles and dusty roads can damage the interior of your car and large trucks can startle you if you’re not prepared. Wind noise will decrease your ability to hear properly, which makes visual acuity especially important. Securing any loose papers or objects will ensure they do not distract you or obstruct your view when driving. Parking is critically important for convertible owners. Parking under trees, especially with the top down, is strictly forbidden.   

Lock it Up

If you’re not in the habit of locking your car, get used to doing it! When you aren’t driving your convertible, it’s a good idea to put the top up, roll up the windows, and lock the doors. You should also make sure valuables are not visible from outside the car. Some convertible soft tops can be somewhat easy to cut through and you don’t want to give anyone an incentive to break in. However, locking your convertible is also about preventing wild animals from climbing into your car for warmth and birds from ruining your interior from above.  

Take the Scenic Route

With your new convertible, life just got a lot better. Take the time to soak up that fact by learning the scenic routes for your daily drives. Convertibles want to be driven on the open road and there’s always time to find a new way home. Designated scenic routes provide the most breathtaking views of your area and the roads are usually well maintained.

You’re Now Everyone’s Chauffeur

Now that you have a fun new convertible, be prepared for everyone to want you to drive and for them to fight for “shotgun.” Riding in a convertible is the next best thing to driving one and your friends will all want to partake. This may cause you to have to forcibly choose the friends you’re willing to escort around, but you’ll surely get to pick your favorites.  

These are just a few tips we feel will help anyone make the most of the convertible lifestyle. What are your most helpful tips for new convertible owners to enjoy their convertibles? Share your thoughts in the comments below!  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Ever-evolving Jeep


The Jeep is as American as apple pie. Born out of the United States’ effort to develop a suitable ‘General Purpose’ vehicle for troop movements and battle, the Jeep quickly became a visual representation of American versatility, ingenuity, and dominance. After 70+ years, not much has changed. Jeeps can be seen everywhere in virtually endless variations. Since their introduction as a commercial vehicle, owners have personalized their Jeeps in ever increasing ways to accommodate all kinds of weather and terrain. So, let’s take a look at how Jeeps have been evolving as an American icon.



As soon as Jeeps became available to the public, they were being modified. Post WWII, Willys-Overland, the manufacturer of the military Jeeps, marketed the early civilian Jeeps as a workhorse with many farmers and laborers modifying them for their personal needs.  Considering many farmers needed both a tractor and a truck, the Jeep was a perfect solution. Many post-war Jeeps were sold on the open market, which made obtaining one much easier for those with limited means. This helped solidify the Jeep brand in the hearts and minds of Americans from all walks of life.

Into the 1950's and 1960's, the Jeep saw an explosion of popularity due to the release of a line of fully recreational vehicles. Increased horsepower and additional cabin room answered the concerns of previous Jeep owners who loved their Jeeps, but wanted a more comfortable ride. While models like the bigger Wagoneer were introduced, this was also the beginning of the more sophisticated soft top convertibles. Early Jeeps had no tops and windshields that folded down. The new Jeep CJ-5 and CJ-6 models included not only sleek, removable convertible tops, they were equipped with more comfortable seating, storage space, and vastly improved off-road capabilities.

The 1970's and 1980's saw the introduction of the first full-time 4-wheel drive system, as well as the introduction of the CJ-7 and iconic Jeep Wrangler. The CJ-7 incorporated chrome bumper and grille with the option for automatic all-wheel drive known at the time as ‘Quadra-Trac.’ The Wrangler was considered to be a much more sophisticated Jeep with an improved interior design, wider track, and improved handling. By this point in time, the Jeep brand had passed through several hands including the American Motor Company which was sold to Chrysler. Chrysler took the Jeep to a new level by introducing the first compact SUV with shift-on-the-fly 4x4 capabilities.

By the 1990's and into the 2000's, Jeep was able to improve the on-road and off-road handling to deliver a smoother ride than ever before. The introduction of removable doors, as well as soft and hard top panels made Jeeps the perfect outdoor vehicle. In the early 2000's, Jeep introduced the all-mighty Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. The Jeep Rubicon is the powerhouse of all Jeeps. The newest Jeep Rubicon models are truly a sight to behold. The Rubicon has been completed upgraded with a modernized interior, advanced 4-wheel drive capabilities, electronic stability and traction control, and a powerful 3.6L V6 engine. The Rubicon combines everything great Jeep has to offer into a single exhilarating package.

Whether you’re a Rubicon or vintage CJ-5 person, good times await you on and off the beaten path when you join the Jeep family. The wide range of Jeep offerings and affordability means there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

What are your favorite models from Jeep’s past? Share your stories with us in the comments!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Reviving Your Convertible for Springtime

Spring is fast approaching and it’s time to prep your convertible for the long drives inevitably in your future. If your convertible has been parked in the same spot for several months, there are steps you’ll need to take before driving again. Likely, you properly stored your convertible for the winter months and your work will be quick and easy. However, all of these steps should be taken each season to ensure your convertible remains safe and looking great.



Tune up

If you’ve stored your convertible for an extended period of time, you’ll want to perform a tune up before driving. This includes replacing or checking all fluids and filters, as well as properly inflating and performing a thorough inspection of the tires. The brake, power steering, and other lines should also be inspected for cracks and leaks caused by cold, dry winter air. Any small cracks and tears have likely grown into what may now be potentially dangerous leaks. 

Repairs & Upgrades

Hopefully, you spent the last few months saving your hard earned money in anticipation of the repairs and new accessories your convertible may need after its long winter nap. Now’s the time to address these issues. If your convertible has damaged brackets or straps, replacing them can prevent the fabric from snagging or coming loose, which will cause moisture and mold to seep in. Tears or holes in the convertible top always lead to bigger problems when not addressed and end up damaging much more than the top itself. Whether you need new headlight fixtures, seat covers or a complete convertible top replacement, now is the best time to invest in your convertible to ensure you preserve the interior. Since springtime is the most advantageous time for convertible driving, it makes perfect sense to install upgrades and accessories now. From wind diffusers to kidney grilles, spring is the time for your convertible to shine!

Wash & Detail

Now that you’ve given your convertible a tune up, repaired any damaged parts, and added your favorite upgrades, it’s time to give it a good cleaning. You may notice several spots on your convertible after such a long break. It’s important to make sure these spots don’t begin to eat away at your paint, causing permanent damage. However, spot cleaning won’t cut it. This is when your convertible deserves that extra tender loving care. A thorough carwash is a great way to identify leaks in the convertible top, window seams, and other areas, as well. Your convertible soft top will require scrubbing with a soft bristle brush to prevent scratches or tears. Once your convertible is clean and dry, a generous layer of wax/polish should be evenly applied to seal in the natural shine of your car’s paint job and also prevent future falling dust and debris from settling in.

Drive

After all your hard work, it’s time to go for a drive! The first drive of the season should be done in order to diagnose any potential problems including wind noise from compromised seams and/or tears in the fabric of your convertible’s top. If the convertible has been parked for an extended period of time, it may take a few minutes for the dust to shake out. Brakes may squeak and the steering may be a bit tight. Give the vehicle a few minutes to adjust to being driven again before accepting that there’s a problem.

These are the important steps that you should take when pulling your convertible out of the garage after the harsh winter months! This will ensure your convertible is safe for the road and delivering peak performance. What are your most helpful tips for prepping a convertible for spring? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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.