It's that time again. The part of the year when you want to get your Jeep prepped for cold nasty weather. With vacations, holidays, and extra work to do in the next few months, you want to check up on getting your Jeep ready soon. Like ... now. Nothing drastic though. No need to pull out the welder or rent an engine hoist. Just some basics to make sure that when the powers out, when the blizzard hits, when you have to pull family members out of snow drifts and ditches, your Jeep is ready to put on the man pants and get the job done. When winter comes around, it's almost like a zombie apocalypse. Visibility can be zero. Temperatures take a dive. Power goes out. You think you're ready, but all the stores are closed, and you've got nothing for your Jeep baby when the time comes to show it some love. Don't sweat it. All you really need is a good inspection. That way if you do need something, it's not a big deal, because we're open, and the powers on! Here are our ideas for a fall maintenance checklist -
Engine and Vehicle Fluids -Make sure the levels are good. Change them if needed. Make sure you have some backup fluids in your garage in case you break something, and the stores are closed, or unreachable. This is especially true if you have a leak already somewhere. Antifreeze is the big thing to protect your engine and cooling system. We carry MOPAR Antifreeze / Coolant for your Jeeps to properly take care of them and keep them up to factory specs.
Battery -Many times a battery works fine, but as soon as that first cold wave comes through, it gives up the ghost. You can have your battery tested ahead of time, but that doesn't always tell what's going on inside. But you can clean and check the terminals and wires, and if it's unsealed, check the fluid levels inside. If you think it's weak, or many years old, it might be worth it to get a fresh one. We carry powerful sealed Optima batteries to upgrade your stock one if needed.
Wiper Blades -
Get new wiper blades for your Jeep now. They're cheap. In fact, keep an extra pair in the garage, because snow and ice can be brutal on them. We carry a variety of wiper blades for Jeeps, so don't hesitate to get some now before winter hits. (if you have one on the back, don't forget that one too).
Make sure all your lighting is in good working order. Jeeps often have extra lighting accessories, so make sure they're working good now. Check the connections, grounds, wiring. If it uses a traditional common bulb, maybe buy an extra one to keep in the garage. We carry dozens of replacement bulbs for Jeeps. Have you been thinking about extra lighting to see in bad weather? Now is the time to check out new products, such as LED lighting and light bars. There's plenty of time to install them before old man winter comes around.
Interior Heating -Does the heat work? Try it out now. Inspect under the hood for any leaks on the hoses. Hopefully the heater core doesn't leak. But if it does, we carry several kinds for different models of Jeeps, so we can help get you ready for the cold weather. Nothing sucks more than it's -40 outside and you don't have any heat ... which makes it -40 inside as well. Usually when this happens, someone says, "Well, it was working LAST YEAR!" ... yeah, right. Remember that the heat is also the defroster to heat up the windshield and clear it from fogging, so you really do need to make sure it works. Even if you think you're a polar bear.
Spare Tire -
First of all, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ONE. It's easy on a Wrangler, but on a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee, you need to double check. Sometimes people buy a used vehicle and never even look to see if the spare is there. Check for the jack and all included tools. Make sure the spare is good, and properly inflated. If your jack is missing, look into a Hi-Lift Jack. When winter weather is bad, not even a tow truck can always get to you, and you may have to change a tire no matter what. If the spare is bad, we probably carry a replacement if it's a standard tire size. If there's a mechanism to get the tire out from underneath, make sure that works, and it's clean and lubricated for winter.
Make sure you don't have any leaks. Make sure the rubber brake hoses aren't dry rotted and have cracks in them. Take a look at the drum shoes, and /or/ brake pads, and look to see if they need replacing soon. You might as well do it now while the weather is good. We carry plenty of brake parts for Jeeps, and can help you get those updated. Depending on ice and bad weather, you might be using your brakes quite a bit.
Belts and Hoses -These are made from rubber products, so they need to be inspected all the time. On the hoses, look for rotting, cracks, or leaks. On belts, look for abnormal wear or cracking. You should ALWAYS have a spare belt when possible. With a serpentine belt, once the belt breaks and flies off, that spells trouble. They don't call it a rubber band for nothing. Grab a new belt for your Jeep and have one ready to go.
Just a cursory inspection will do. What you want to do is look for something that might be a problem during rough weather and driving. A leaking shock absorber? Maybe a bushing has rotted and is ready to fall off? Something is loose? It's not likely you'll find anything, but take the time to look. You never know. We carry a full line of different suspension parts for almost any Jeep if you need them.
Fuel Cans -
You might need one of these because the gas stations are closed, or the power's out. Maybe you need to get fuel for a generator. Or a neighbor is stuck, and called on you and your Jeep to save the day. Be ready. We carry an assortment of of safe fuel cans to use to transport gasoline.
How often do you use your winch? Every day, or once a year? Now is the time to make sure it works correctly, and you're familiar with the controls. The cables are in good order, not corroded or frayed? If your winch is not up to spec, check out or cable replacements, and even a new winch if it's needed. These are just a few of the big things to look for and inspect. Failure is not an option, and success might mean taking an hour or so to go over your Jeep, bumper to bumper. To make sure that no matter what happens this winter, be it snow or ice, cold or pitch dark conditions, you and your Jeep will be the ones to save the day. Anything else you can add to our checklist? Let us know in the comments below Stay safe and Jeep on! OlllllllO