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!