Shorter days are coming! The long days of summer might be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your Jeep Wrangler out on a few more excursions with its top off to enjoy the crisp autumn air. Check out the best fall activities to do with your Jeep, including winterizing it.
Take a Scenic Drive
The leaves are changing and transforming roads everywhere into visual cacophonies of yellow, red, and orange all over the country. Taking the top off of your Jeep is the perfect way to check out nature’s sights.
Unlike other vehicles, the open roof will give a 360-degree view of the changing foliage. It might be a chilly drive, but you’ll be able to see your town’s fall beauty comfortably by bundling up. And while you’re out for a drive, you can also explore other local attractions.
Visit Local Attractions
Don’t forget about all the fun fall activities you can do with your family or friends! Spend an afternoon picking apples, exploring pumpkin patches, or visiting an Oktoberfest. Hang out with the top down afterward while nibbling on your treats. Or, use your Jeep as a lunch spot in between activities. Keep an eye out for any festivals in your town that you think you might enjoy before winter approaches. Also, don’t forget about tailgating, too!
Participate in Some Tailgating
Fall is football season! Grab your face paint, football, and favorite snack to cheer on your home team. Friends will welcome the open top to feel a fall breeze. You’ll also have the ability to connect with your tailgating neighbors. Plus, you can outfit your trunk with tailgating accessories to make grilling out and playing bags that much easier.
Take a Camping Trip
You still have opportunities to camp before the weather turns as well. Load up your Jeep with camping gear and head out to some campsites to enjoy one more campfire. And if you’re feeling more adventurous, a Jeep can get you to more remote campsites than an RV would allow. With the top down, you can enjoy some stargazing at night and some warm sunlight in the morning.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to go camping to enjoy the night sky. Find a place away from light pollution, take the roof off, and tilt your seats back. Did you know that the night sky is different in the fall than in the summer? It’s true! The aurora borealis increases in frequency during fall, meaning that you don’t need to live that far north to spot the northern lights. You can see them as far south as Florida.
Do Some Off-Roading
Of course, you can still off-road even though the weather has become a bit cooler! Scenic drives are great for admiring autumnal beauty from afar. However, off-roading will get you up close and personal with it. You can even join a local 4x4 club. Many offer a calendar of their off-roading trail runs, and they typically have them in varying difficulties. Don’t forget that a club can be a great way to meet people!
Winterize Your Jeep
Winterizing your Jeep might not be the most fun way to spend time with your Jeep this fall, but it’s a necessary part of Jeep ownership. You’ll need to prepare your vehicle to survive the frigid temperatures that are approaching. The best time to start winterizing is generally around October.
Bookmark this checklist to make sure you hit every necessary preventative task.
Test the Battery
Before the cold weather hits, have a mechanic test your battery to see if it’s weak. Replace it if it’s not yielding much juice. Taking this step could keep you from becoming stranded.
Examine Belts and Hoses
Rubber belts and hoses are more susceptible to breakage during cold weather. Any wear and tear on the rubber can make it more brittle. This wear, coupled with the low temperatures, can make them more likely to break during the winter. Have an auto shop check the health of any rubber engine components to prevent unexpected breakdowns.
Change Your Coolant
Changing your coolant is another easy preventative measure you can take. Car engines can suffer severe damage if the coolant freezes in the winter. You can avoid this by ensuring your engine has the right mixture of antifreeze and water.
Wash Off the Salt
Jeep owners know that washing their vehicles after intense off-roading experiences can help protect their paint and undercarriages. Well, the same thinking applies to the road salt that can accumulate on a Jeep during the winter. Salt can cause corrosion on your undercarriage. Therefore, be sure to wash it after heavy snowfalls when salt is particularly prevalent on roadways.
Check the Tires
Make sure that you have the right tires for snowy and icy road conditions. Even though off-roading tires provide traction when you’re climbing muddy or steep terrain, they may not be the best for winter. Check for an “M+S” marking on the tires’ sidewalls to see if they’ll allow you to drive safely in the snow.
Inspect the Windshield
Cracks and nicks can worsen during the extreme temperatures of wintertime. You’ll need to clean the windshield off and then carefully inspect it for tiny hairline cracks and scratches. You can easily fix small nicks and cracks with at-home kits before the cold weather comes. Being proactive can save you from discovering a massive crack spreading across the entire windshield one cold morning.
Have a Winter Safety Kit
Every car owner should have a winter safety kit in their vehicle in case of emergencies. It may help you deal with automotive issues, survive when stranded, and call for help. Such a kit will typically contain:
- A windshield scraper
- A small broom
- A first-aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Emergency flares
- A tow chain
- Salt or cat litter (for traction)
- Dry food
Replace Your Hard Top
We don’t like replacing our hardtops either, but all good things end. Fortunately, that end is only temporary in this case. You’ll need to remove your Jeep hardtop cover that you’ve safely stored all summer and place it back onto your vehicle.
If you have a soft top, you can keep it on all winter, but be aware that removing snow and ice from a soft top is a bit difficult. No matter which Jeep cover you choose for the winter months, you won’t be able to remove either. Why? The cold can make the hardtop more fragile, and you risk damaging it if you try to take it off. Conversely, the soft top will be less flexible with lower temperatures, and you might not be able to reattach it.
But before you begin winterizing your Jeep, be sure to take advantage of the best fall activities to do with your Jeep before it’s too late!