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.

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