Maybe you just picked up your first EcoDiesel, and you don’t want to look like a total jabroni around the other Jeep people. Or maybe you’re a lifetime Jeeper and just want to learn some new facts about your favorite brand. Well, this is article is for you!
I’m going to walk you through the ten things that every EcoDiesel Jeep owner should know. And by the end, you’re going to be a full-on expert!
The “Jeep Wave”
Alright, if you just rolled off the car lot with your first EcoDiesel Jeep, you might be pretty confused as to why every other Jeep owner is throwing up a modified peace sign at you as you drive by. This is a longstanding tradition among proud Jeep owners known as the “Jeep Wave“.
No, that guy did not just flip you the bird for no reason whatsoever, he’s welcoming you into the not-so-secret society of Jeep drivers with that little two-finger flip. Jeep drivers who are more green to the scene might pull their whole hand off the wheel and throw up an overexcited “J” signal. But the seasoned Jeep driver plays it cool. A subtle lifting of the pointer and middle finger without releasing the wheel says, “I’ve been taking my doors off the last six summers.”
Regardless, practice makes perfect. And if you’re going to drive a Jeep, you’ve got to learn the wave.
The “Death Wobble”
The dreaded “Death Wobble” is a problem in many 4x4s, but the Jeep has become notorious for it. It’s basically exactly what it sounds like. You’re ripping down the interstate in your ‘05 Wrangler, you start to get up near top speeds, and suddenly your front suspension goes shakier than the knees on your local town drunk. Scary.
This problem can seriously endanger your life, especially if your Jeep’s been modified with a lift kit, too big tires, or any other special parts. My advice: if you do plan to modify your Jeep, go to a shop that specializes in Jeeps or at least 4x4s in general. Shoddy mods will make that already-dangerous “Death Wobble” even more terrifying.
Back in 2017, Jeep unveiled the fourth-generation Wrangler at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The name given to the newest version of the beloved SUV was the Wrangler JL. If you remember, the third-generation Jeep Wrangler was called the Wrangler JK.
So what’s the meaning behind the change of letters? Well… nothing really. “L” is just the next letter in the alphabet after “K”. Don’t worry if you didn’t put that together immediately, I didn’t either.
The first Jeeps built back in 1945 by Willys-Overland were called the CJ, which apparently stood for “Civilian Jeep”, which was followed by the DJ, for “Dispatcher Jeep”. But when they got to the YJ and TJ generations, the designations seemed to lose meaning. Some have said that YJ stands for Yuppie Jeep and TJ stands for Trendy Jeep, but something tells me that’s not what the automaker had in mind with these initials.
Anyway, it seems like Jeep’s just moving down the alphabet with their generations these days. At this rate, we’re looking at a Wrangler JM in a couple years…
Grizzly Gas Mileage
Hopefully, if you’ve already purchased any model made by Jeep, you realize that you’re going to be going back and forth from the gas pump all the time. If you’re saying, “Hey, I didn’t buy a Jeep so I could save pennies on gas, I’m in it for the lifestyle and the off-road prowess.” That’s totally fair. But understand that Jeeps get pretty atrocious gas mileage.
The best car in Jeep’s 2020 lineup on gas is the Renegade, which gets an unimpressive 32 highway miles to the gallon. The Compass gets an even worse 31 highway miles. The 2020 Wrangler gets 29. And the Grand Cherokee comes in last place at 26.
Hybrid on the Horizon
That’s right! In case you haven’t heard, Jeep will be offering a new hybrid version of their flagship Wrangler in 2021. And before any of you old-schoolers start making jokes, the hybridized Wrangler 4xe will apparently be just as much of an off-road beast as its gasoline-powered counterpart.
The 4xe has one electric motor attached to the front of its turbocharged 2-liter inline-4 and another one hooked up to the eight-speed transmission. All that combines for 375 horsepower and a staggering 470 pound-feet of torque. If you’re a diesel addict and you decide to go with the non-hybrid version, that 3-liter V6 is going to give you 28 fewer pound-feet of torque. The 4xe hybrid will also have Dana 44 axels, 10.8 inches of ground clearance, and can handle up to 30 inches of water, even with those electric components. So much for hybrids being wimpy…
Plus, the 4xe will save you a ton of money at the gas pump. While combined driving, the 4xe will get an impressive 50 miles per gallon, and it even has a 25-mile range while fully electric.
Jeep hasn’t said yet what the 2021 Wrangler 4xe will cost, but I think we can assume it won’t be cheap. If you do have the dough to afford one, though, you might want to consider trying the hybrid.
Secure Your Stuff
While this really should be common sense, it’s surprising how many Jeep owners get robbed and wonder how it could’ve possibly happened. Let’s get inside the mind of a thief real quick. You see an armored Escalade parked next to a Wrangler with a soft-top, or worse yet a no-top. Which one are you going to dig through?
One of the best parts of owning a Jeep is being able to peel the top off in the summer, but if you do, make sure you have a good way to secure the things that are inside. Companies like Tuffy and Bestop make installable trunks and lock boxes built specifically to fit Jeep Wranglers. So, if you find yourself carrying a lot of valuables in your soft-top Jeep, you might want to look into getting one of these.
Hidden Tire Camera
As of 2018, the Department of Transportation has required all new cars coming on the market to have rearview backup cameras. Jeep has complied with this law with the Wrangler JL, but they’ve done so in a pretty cool and innovative way. The backup camera is actually mounted inside the spare tire that sits on the back latch, and feeds to the infotainment system on the dash. If you want to remove the backup camera, although I don’t know why you would… you can do so by removing the spare tire and taking out the hidden camera underneath.
This feature may have been for aesthetics, or maybe because there was just no other good place to put the camera. Regardless, it makes me think of secret agent movies where there are cameras hidden in clocks and in the eyes of teddy bears. Pretty cool move by Jeep.
In what seemed like a direct response to all the hype around the new Ford Bronco, Jeep released the Wrangler Rubicon 392 concept on the very same day that the Bronco debuted. The concept features a 6.4-liter V-8 FCA 392 Hemi engine that’s capable of spitting out 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, and will push the 392 from 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds. It’s unlikely that the Bronco will have a V-8 on its first rollout, so this seems like some classic one-upsmanship from Jeep.
The 392 will also feature a two-inch lift and some Fox shocks, not to mention a dual exhaust system so you can really hear that V8 rumble. Whether or not Jeep is actually going to build the 392 as a production model remains to be seen. But I sure as hell would love to see these beasts take to the streets.
So remember how we talked about the “Jeep Wave” before? Well, if you own any Jeep model other than a Wrangler, I hate to tell you, but a lot of Jeep owners may not want you in the club. To some purists, anything other than a Wrangler is not a true Jeep, and it really boils down to the headlights.
Real Jeeps have round headlights, therefore, anything with square headlights cannot be a real Jeep. Your Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Compass don’t give you the right to do the “Jeep Wave”, according to some. The Renegade may have round headlights… but come on… that’s not a real Jeep. The Gladiator pickup? Well… I guess it looks enough like a Wrangler, but the jury’s definitely still out on that one.
All in all, Wrangler drivers often like to be a bit more exclusive with their club membership than simply any car that bears a Jeep badge. It’s all about those round headlights. What those people seem to forget, though, is that the Wrangler had square headlights from 1985 to 1995…
This may seem like a weird concept to anyone watching this who owns a Toyota Camry or a Kia Soul, but there are actually clubs for Jeep drivers all over the country. It’s easy to find Jeep clubs in your area on Facebook or Reddit, and they’ll give you the chance to troubleshoot any problems with your Jeep, to find other people to go on off-roading expeditions with, or even to swap Jeep parts.
Sure, anyone who doesn’t drive a Jeep is going to think it’s pretty snooty that you joined a Jeep club. But they don’t have a Jeep, so does their opinion really matter anyway? So, go get on the internet and let those other Jeepers know that you want to connect!