Three Things to Know about your Jeep

[This piece originally appeared in The Tennessean.]

There are many things one should know about a Jeep before purchasing and by “Jeep,” I mean the real deal, the Wrangler or what was called the CJ-7. Safety, maintenance, gas mileage – these are important details that any responsible dealer or mechanic can discuss with you. But even the most diligent expert may leave out a few important facts — practical knowledge that will serve the Jeep owner well.

1) Though driving in the rain with the top off sounds really cool, rain will get on the inside of your windshield. Sure, now it sounds elementary, but that first time you’re caught in a shower with the top off, you’ll think it’s fun until you can’t see out the windshield. Keep a towel or two in the Jeep for such an occasion.

2) Off-roading or even rough driving may be what the Jeep was designed for, but the experience is significantly less amusing for anyone in the backseat. Those in the front have something to hold onto for a little stability as well as larger seats for spine support. Those in the rear have no such comforts. So warn your passengers before taking the jeep off-road. Especially girls. Man, do they hate the huge bumps.

3) With the top off, people can hear your stereo. Jeeps are tough. So make sure you’re playing some tough music like Metallica’s Ride the Lightning or Ice Cube’s The Predator. Leave the Sheryl Crow at home.

Finally, remember that the Jeep is not a toy. It is a gigantic fun machine. Though one that can be extremely dangerous. People may crack wise about it being, um, a masculinity supplement. You may deny it, but you will feel neutered without it. So don’t switch from a Jeep to a Nissan Sentra, for example.