Summer is here, and it has many drivers on the lookout for one thing: the coveted Jeep for sale sign. A sight as happy for the buyer as it is sad for the seller. A trigger for nostalgia and an instant shot of that go-anywhere feeling. It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere without seeing a Wrangler full of people living their best life and not instantly being hit with a pang of jealousy. It’s enough to tempt anyone with the prospect of owning one for themselves. That’s all well and good, but what happens when you start getting serious about acting on this feeling? How do you decide you’re a Jeep person? Which do you go for? What do you do once you have it? Let’s break it down.
Answering the Call
A for sale sign isn’t the only way to catch the “Jeep Itch” (a term I think I just made up). It can strike you while you’re driving home from work in your beat up yet reliable commuter-mobile. The monotony of traveling the same interminable patch of highway each day in your beige upholstered chariot starts to weigh you down. This is usually about the time hope appears in your rearview mirror.
You don’t even see the car at first, just the smiling faces of its occupants. They change lanes to pass you, and you get a better view of the vehicle. A Rubicon, no doors, and no top. Classic. You can hear the laughter and poppy music and can see them dancing to the beat. You want to dance, too. You roll down the window to get more of the experience, and it’s as if the air changes. The sweetness of youth wafts in and mingles with your cliché air freshener shaped like a pine tree. You never want the moment to end, but of course, it does. They speed off to an undoubtedly cheerier destination than you could ever dream of until now. You want that, no, you need it.
So you go home, and you start the online search. Jeep for sale, Jeep life, best Jeeps, you go down the rabbit hole. You started with dealership websites, then went onto the car blogs to read everyone’s Jeep stories, then you’re lost in Instagram #Jeep posts, and finally a Youtube binge of off-roading videos that keeps you up past midnight. After all that, what are you left with? More questions and an extra cup of coffee at work the next morning because you were up all night. The main question: “Which Jeep do I actually want?”
Making the Choice
While the fantasy of driving up and down the Pacific Coast Highway speaking poetically about shared wanderlust and fish tacos has its allure, eventually you have to come back to reality. Which Jeep fits both your everyday life and the life you want to work towards? Luckily, there are a lot of options to choose from.
The first place the mind goes is to the Wrangler, the quintessential Jeep. Nothing says adventure like a Wrangler. That first perfect day of the year when you get to take the top off is equivalent to a holiday. You go out of your way to spend just a little more time feeling the fresh air on your sun-deprived face after a long winter. You drink it in. That’s great for your free time, but is practical for the nine-to-fivers?
Actually, yes. Wranglers are a lot more than the spartan Willy Pete’s you picture carting the Greatest Generation around Omaha Beach in the second World War. While you can still find some pretty bare-bones Jeeps for sale, there are a lot of options to provide the modern comforts of today that everybody loves. If this is your everyday ride, you’re probably going to need Bluetooth connectivity. Hands-free laws are spreading, and you don’t want to be caught one-handed, or worse: driving with your earbuds in. How embarrassing. That along with everything from heated seats to climate control you can roll in outdoorsy style while still enjoying your creature comforts. It should be noted, though, that if you go with the power windows it makes the whole removable door thing a lot more complicated. If that’s a deal breaker you’ll want to go old school and go with the manual roll ‘em up window cranks.
Living the Dream
Okay, so you’ve gone to some dealerships to test drive a few different options, maybe you’ve gone online and found some private Jeep sales, pulled up to check some front lawns with the Jeep with the sign in the window, and now you’ve done it. You’ve bought your Jeep. You have the keys in your hand and the whole world in your sights. What happens now?
A nice little weekend trip is a great place to start. Take a drive somewhere with some nice dirt roads or scenic vistas. Take the doors and top off (if that’s the style you went with) and introduce your friends to your new fun way of life. Go camping like you’ve been meaning to do forever. Live it up, but most importantly don’t be afraid to let people know you’re enjoying your Jeep. Crank the music and pass the person you just caught admiring you in their rear view mirror.
This one’s a little obvious, but take it to work. Don’t be shy, show it off! Park it right in the middle of the sea of silver sedans, a monument to the importance of work-life balance. Invite your neighboring cubicle creatures to ogle your prized possession. Don’t let their jealousy get to you. They’ll ask questions like: “But aren’t you paying more in gas?” Yeah, because you’re driving it all the time. Can’t get enough of it. Don’t be ashamed of your desire to be out the door by five o’clock.
Most importantly, be sure to enjoy it. Every brand has their fanatics and dedicated buyers, but to be a Jeep owner is a whole lifestyle. Some go the customization route, and some like it as is. It seems like every Jeep gets a bit of its drivers character, which is something for a vehicle with a lot of character of its own to start with. Whenever you pass another Jeep driver, watch for the wave. It’s a special sign, especially between Wranglers, meant to acknowledge another person with the right idea about how life should be. I’m sure whoever sells you the Jeep will be sure to fill you in.
So when you see a Jeep for sale, or pass by a dealership, or get passed by a car full of fun, open yourself up to the idea. Open roads, bumpy trails, fresh air but also great tunes, heated seats, and everything else if you want it. Doors or no doors? Top or no top? I guess that’s more a question of the weather. Whatever you decide, be sure to make the choice that best fits your life while still opening the door to the possibility of something new when you are looking at Jeeps for sale.