Jeeps do well in any season, but it’s definitely a little “funner in the summer.” Whether you’re hitting the trails and going off-road, or just cruising downtown on a cool summer night, there’s something special about pulling the top off your Jeep and enjoying the warm weather.
Of course, there’s a few things you can do to make your summer Jeep adventures even more fun…
Start With The Basics
Obviously, you want to do an oil change, air and fuel filter, and complete any recommended service on your Jeep before you go on any off-road adventures, long trips, or the like. However, since you’re a Jeep owner, there are a couple of things you’ll want to do above and beyond the basics:
- You can’t take tire inspections too seriously. Check tire pressure, check tread wear, and make sure it’s even (and not too worn to be useful), and check sidewalls for cracks or blisters. If you see anything suspicious, get it checked out. Uneven tire wear can often be an indicator of a suspension issue, and the last thing you want on the trail is suspension suspense.
- Protect your interior. With the summer sun beating down on your interior, you must take steps to keep it from becoming permanently damaged. Use a UV protectant cleaner or coating product on the plastic, vinyl, or leather parts of your Jeep. You will also need to clean it and reapply more frequently since the sun will cause the protecting chemicals to break down.
Finally, summer weather can be a challenge for your vehicle’s cooling system, especially if it already has a problem. Some basic steps you can take to check out your cooling system:
- Check coolant levels – low coolant is usually due to a leak.
- Monitor your engine temperature reading – a reading that’s either very high, very low, or oddly variable can indicate a problem.
- Check your cooling fan for a wobble – a slipping fan clutch isn’t easy to notice if you frequently take short trips. But during a 1,000 mile trek across the Rockies? Absolutely.
- Excessive engine temps are usually a sign of a cooling problem as well.
While cooling system problems aren’t exactly common on Jeeps, they’re not rare either. It’s smart to check things out before you go “off the grid.”
Accessories For Sun and Fun
Once you’ve got your Jeep’s maintenance completed, it’s a good idea to see what kind of accessories you can bolt on for fun. Some of the more popular accessories for summertime Jeepin’:
A Summer Top (AKA Bikini Top): Summer tops offer sun protection without trapping heat inside your vehicle. Available from Bestop (an official supplier for Jeep), there are several summer top options and styles to choose from.
Hardtop Storage Cart: It might seem a little excessive to buy a dedicated storage cart for your Jeep’s hardtop, but the fact is that storing an un-used hardtop isn’t always easy. If you’ve got a crowded garage, you might really appreciate the space you’ll save using a dedicated storage cart.
What’s more, a properly stored hardtop is far less likely to get scratched or damaged.
Automatic Transmission cooler: This isn’t exactly a summer-only accessory, but since most Jeep owners take their vehicles off-road in the summer months, a transmission cooler is a good idea. Meant to keep automatic transmissions from overheating, transmission coolers prevent fluid damage and transmission wear.
Transmission coolers are also highly recommended for any Jeep owners that use their vehicles for towing.
Jeep Saddle bags: When the top comes off, you’ll need a good way to manage your cargo and keep anything from falling out. Jeep saddle bags can be mounted just about anywhere on the vehicle and used for papers, snacks, and hand tools.
Now you’re invincible. Well, not really, but at least a little more prepared. Now get out there and tear up some dirt this summer.
What are your favorite ways to prep your Jeep for summer?
A self-described “car nerd,” Jason is a automotive columnist who has written for the eBay Motors blog, Motor Car Digest, as well as his own sites TundraHeadquarters.com and AccurateAutoAdvice. With an engineering degree, a full-time job in the automotive parts industry, and a decade of experience working in auto dealerships, Jason brings an interesting perspective on all things automotive.