Thursday, April 30, 2015

Secrets Revealed

Last fall, I received an email from a company wanting me to try out a new steering product made for the Jeep Wrangler - the Steering Attenuator by Performance Stability. 

The steering attenuator was designed to help reduce the harsh road feedback you feel in your steering wheel while driving the Jeep Wrangler. The company also stated it was suppose to make driving your Jeep safer, and to give the driver peace of mind.  

I had no idea about this product, or anything about the claims they made. I honestly was wondering what is harsh road feedback? I spoke to some knowledgeable Jeep friends about it, and they said to give it a try. 

So, I did a lot of research on the subject of over steer, jerky steering, the attenuator, and all the steering parts of the Jeep. It wasn't until I started this research that some things about myself and my Jeep became clear.

I'm going to let you in on a secret of mine, that I would have never in a million years admitted to anyone. I dreaded driving my Jeep on the interstate at speeds of over 50 mph. But I was never going to admit that to anyone. That would just give ammo to all the people who thought I was crazy for buying a Jeep at my age and being a mom. 

Before I bought my Jeep Wrangler I never paid much attention the the vehicles I drove. I would put the key in the ignition, and drive to my destination. My mind was always on what I had to do, situations happening in my life, and anything other than being attune to the vehicle I was driving. 

I would have to say, I was driving my Sahara that way for
about a year, as well. I spent most of my time focused on the topless ride not paying much attention to anything else. Yes, I realized driving the Jeep was noisy -- to be expected. Yes, driving in my Jeep Wrangler I felt every bump, crack and crevasse on the road, but isn't that what it's all about. 

I remember the tense times driving on the interstate though, I always had both hands on the steering wheel never sitting back to relax. I wondered if it was the fact I was getting older, and soon I would be the one those old drivers cruising 40 mph on the interstate because I was too nervous. Or maybe I just wasn't manly enough to handle this awesome piece of machinery. 

It wasn't until all the research, and reading all the feedback on the Jeep forums, that I realized it wasn't just me. So, I reached out to the company, and told them I'm ready to try out your product. 

Tuesday morning the steering attenuator was finally installed by the great crew at Adams Jeep of Maryland Xtreme Motorsports. 

I jumped into my Jeep hoping I would notice a difference. Most of the comments I read, the folks noticed a difference, but some didn't notice a change at all. I honestly felt I wouldn't notice a change at all since my experience in the world of autos and auto mechanics was basically nil. 

I turned the key, and put the Jeep into drive. Immediately I felt the steering wheel was different. It was like someone took a screwdriver to it, and tightened it up. I attributed it to wishful hoping for a change on my part. As I continued down the road I still could feel the slap of my BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires on the road. I still bounced in my seat as my Jeep rumbled over the bumps and cracks on the highway. It was still the same great Jeep ride feeling the grooves and contours of the road. 

It wasn't until about half way back down the busy I-95 trek home did I realize I was cruising along at over 75 mph with one hand on the steering wheel. I was lost in my thoughts of what I needed to get done that day. I hadn't even once had to stretch my hands out because they had been in a white knuckle grip on my steering wheel. I was even able to change lanes, and pass the slower cars instead of being the slower one in the far right lane the whole trip.

I'm excited to do some more driving along those familiar roads to see the other changes and difference the steering attenuator makes. 

All in all I am finally glad I put this product on my Jeep. It has given me a peace of mind, at least while driving on the crazy busy, I-95.

Oh yeah, I had two little secrets. The second one is this product, the steering attenuator, who knew I would be the person to introduce it to long time Jeep mechanics. Pretty Cool!

   - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! - The Jeep Life! - 

I received my steering attenuator from review. No additional compensation received. All opinions are mine.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Steering Attenuator Test

Last Fall I was approached by a company, Performance Stability, Now called Steer Smarts who asked if I would to test out a new product -- a steering attenuator -- they had designed for the Jeep Wrangler. I was a little hesitant to try it out myself on my Jeep, because I lacked the Jeep driving experience at the time, and the skill set (and tools) needed to install this steering attenuator.

So I asked a fellow Jeep friend, who had the skill set to install the product, and the Jeep driving experience to give an honest opinion on the product.

Steering Attenuator Install - December 29, 2014

Steering Attenuator Jeeper Review - February 12, 2015

It was a good thing I sent the part to a friend, because about a month after I received the part, I traded in my Sahara for a 2015 Rubicon.  

Well, after reading all the positive reviews on the JKOwners Forum (click here to read) and the Wrangler Forum (click here to read), and paying more attention while I was out driving on the roadways, I wanted to try out the steering attenuator for myself. The folks at Performance Stability agreed to send out the part, if I agreed to install it on my Jeep. 

The Jeep Mom in me really wanted to get under my Jeep and install the attenuator myself. I'm pretty confidant I could have installed it myself, but the sensible mom of two boys overruled the Jeep Mom wanting to do-it-herself. I have to always -- first and foremost -- consider the safety and well-being of my children. Even though I am confident I could have done the install myself. I don't ever want to take the chance of a mess up with such a crucial system in my Jeep especially since it is my daily driver and soon my son will be driving it as well.  Oh Boy! Yikes... well that's a whole other post. 

So I took a chance, and called up the folks at Adams Jeep of Maryland in Aberdeen. Like most dealers, they have a service shop, but this shop isn't just your typical dealer service shop. Adams Extreme Motorsports specializes in Jeep modifications. 

You should check out their lot. I drool every time I go there and see all the cool different lifted and modified Jeeps. 

But I digress... back to the steering attenuator. The great, friendly folks at Adams Extreme Motorsports agreed to install my attenuator. It was their first one and they were curious as well. 

So Tuesday morning I headed out early for the drive North on I-95 to Adams Jeep of Maryland. It was a quick and easy install, and I was headed back down the interstate before noon. 

Tomorrow, I will share with you the benefits the company claims about this product, and my thoughts and experience of the steering attenuator after two days of driving with it on my Stock JKU Rubicon.  

                        - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! - The Jeep Life! - 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Topless DOs & DON'Ts

I am so excited that Spring has finally arrived! 

That means I can start driving with my top down, but there are always precautions you must take. 

When you have a Jeep Wrangler you can't just put your top down, hop in, and hit the road.  It takes a little more thought. You must "Be Prepared".

So here are some tips I learned while "Going Topless in my Jeep".

Topless Jeep Driving DOs & DON'Ts 

1. Make sure your top folds back into the perfect Jeep "W". This keeps the soft top lasting longer.

2. Don't park under trees that are shedding their blooms.

3 Don't park under trees that have lots of birds hanging out in them.

4. When you are going 65 mph down the interstate, and you
have long hair, tie it back, or put on a hat. There is a high potential you will go blind momentarily, and crash.

5. Leave No Trace is definitely a principal you should use for the inside of your Jeep.  You don't want that "litter fine" when trash goes sailing out the top of your Wrangler.

6. Anything you want to keep in your Jeep make sure it's tied down.

7. When you bring your drink in the Jeep make sure it has a lid that it secure. Those Jeep rides become very bumpy.

8. When you have kids you will want to have a blanket for each of them.  Even when it's warm outside the back seats tend to get a little chilly for the little ones.

9. Spray your floor mats with bug spray.  Some say spiders like to spin their web inside your Jeep.  Fingers Crossed -- I haven't had this issue yet.

10. When it's sunny out, keep sunscreen handy. 

11. Get a sun shade... I've read anyways. I want one!! But it must be Purple!

12. Lock your glovebox and console.

13. Don't leave valuables laying around. Leave 'em home or lock 'em up in the glovebox or console.

      - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! - The Jeep Life! - 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Zipper Pulls

Finally the sun is out, and the temperatures are starting to move up on the thermometer. I love this time of year, because we spend more time outside than inside. But the best part is getting to drive my Jeep with the top down. Getting those windows off used to be a daunting chore for me, but now that I have my zipper pulls, it makes it much easier.  I thought I'd share a blog post I did when I first bought my Sahara. This is one of the first modifications I made to my Jeep. 

Getting Topless is Simple & Easy Now!

One of the many reasons I love my Jeep is the ability to feel the sunshine on my face, and the wind in my hair. This is possible because I can take the top down and off of my Jeep. 

It is a very simple process to pull the top back, and then zip off the windows. So easy -- it only takes one person. But sometimes you need to put the top back up and zip up those windows because of rain or cold temperatures. 

Zipping up (and down) the windows was a very difficult part of the process for me. My fingers weren't quite strong enough to grasp the little zipper handle, and pull up and around. 

But now I have discovered a very useful tool that has made taking down, and zipping up my windows a snap.

Zipper pulls!!! I used to spend several frustrating minutes in the driveway trying to get my windows zipped back on. These zipper pulls have made it a simple, easy process. Now I don't struggle trying to zip up the back window anymore.

Some folks say -- oh you can make those pretty easy. Well not me, I'm not very crafty in that way. So I reached out to a fellow Jeeper who makes them, and bought a set of four. Now taking down and putting up my windows is fast and easy. 

I bought four Top-Zip Zipper pulls from Ken Johnson owner of Top-Zip Paracord Products for Jeep Wranglers. You can check him out @JeepJKguy on Twitter. 

Or just search zipper pulls on Amazon.
Simple, easy and inexpensive!

 - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! - The Jeep Life! - 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top 100 Songs for Driving Topless

I love to listen to music. Music can be therapeutic in many different ways. Specially trained health care professionals use music to help cancer patients. Music therapy can be used to encourage emotional expression, promote social interaction, relieve symptoms, help with pain, and many other things. 

There are many forms of music for many different situations. For me there is a specific beat, melody, and lyrics needed for listening while driving your Jeep with the top down. This unique combination along with the sun in my face, and wind in my hair is the best kind of Jeep therapy I know. 

Last week, I posted my Top 100 songs for

driving your your Jeep with the top down, but the list was not complete. I turned to my Jeep friends for suggestions.

After much analysis, and many, many songs later, I have made my way to 95.  I look forward to topping out my Top 100. The newly added songs are highlighted in red.  
TOP 100 Songs For Topless Jeep Driving 

  1. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC 
  2. When I'm Gone - 3 Door Down
  3. Right Now - SR-71
  4. 3am - Matchbox Twenty
  5. Rock and Roll Band - Boston
  6. I Want You To Want Me - Cheap Trick
  7. Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi 
  8. This Cowboy's Hat - Chris Ledoux
  9. Sound of Madness - Shine Down 
10. Outside - Staind 
11. Here Without You - 3 Doors Down 
12. More than a Feeling - Boston
13. Sign of the Gypsy Queen - April Wine
14. Flirtin' with Disaster - Molly Hatchett 
15. Hotel California - Eagles 
16. Have a Drink on Me - AC/DC
17. Hold on Loosley - 38 Special 
18. Livin' After Midnight - Judas Priest
19. Tom Sawyer - Rush 
20. Bad Boys Running Wild - Scorpions 
21. Thunderstruck - AC/DC
22. Hair of the Dog - Nazareth
23. Lonely is the Night - Billy Squier
24. No One Like You - Scorpions
25. Highway to Hell - AC/DC
26. Foreplay - Boston 
27. Rock and Roll Fantasy - Bad Company
28. Enter Sandman - Metallica
29. Bawitdaba - Kid Rock 
30. Cowboy - Kid Rock 
31. All Summer Long - Kid Rock
32. Ride My Rocket - Pantera
33. Sad Lover - Pantera 
34. Ministy- Filth Pig
35. Loser - Beck
36. All of Come Clean - Puddle of Mudd 
37. Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - Traffic
38. Cinnamon Girl - Neil Young
39. Southern Cross -  CSN&Y
40. Houses of the Holy -  Led Zeppelin
41. Do You Feel Like We do - Peter Frampton
42. Show Me The Way - Peter Frampton
43. Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers 
44. Magik 
45. Loser- 3 Doors Down
46. Know Your Enemy -  Rage Against the Machine
47. Wake Up -  Rage Against the Machine
48. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath  - Black Sabbath  
49. Boom - P.O.D 
50. UltraNUMB- Blue Stahli
51. The Offspring- Gone Away
52. Mary Jane's Last Dance - Tom Petty
53. No Rest for the Wicked - Cagetheelephant 
54. Beautiful Oblivion - Eve 6 
55. Golden Earring - Twilight Zone
56. Blaze of Glory - Bon Jovi
57. Bad Moon Rising - CCR 
58. Come on Feel the Noize - Quiet Riot
59. We're not going to take it- Twisted Sister
60. Fat Bottom Girls - queen
61. Tired of Toein' the Line - Rocky Burnette
62. End of the Line - traveling Wilburys
63. The Warrior - Scandal.
64. Baby, I need Your Loving - Four Tops
65. Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
66. Peaceful Easy Feeling - The Eagles
67. Desperado - The Eagles
68. Country Roads - John Denver 
69. Been a Long Time - Led Zepplin
70. Highway Star - Deep Purple
71. Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple
72. Boys are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy
73. Rainbow in the Dark - Dio 
74. Jack and Diane - John Mellancamp
75. Come Get Your Love - Redbone
76. Smokin' - Boston
77. I Love Rock N Roll - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
78. Ride Like the Wind - Christopher Cross
79. Lola Montez - Volbeat
80. Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum
81. Ain't Even Done with the Night - John Mellencamp
82. Jump Around - House of Pain
83. Dust in the Wind - Kansas
84. Round & Round - Ratt
85. Saturday Night - Bay City Rollers
86. Stone in Love - Journey
87. Drive - Incubus
88. Slow Ride - Foghat
89. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
90. Burnin for You - Blue Oyster Cult
91. Closer to the Heart - Rush
92. Working Man - Rush

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Top 10 Jeep Mom Accessories

More and more moms are seen driving Jeep Wranglers these days. Driving the Jeep Wrangler is not like driving just any other vehicle. It is a whole different experience and there are certain accessories you need to make your driving pleasure complete. Here is my list of the Top 10 accessories every Jeep Wrangler mom should have. 

Top 10 Accessories for the Wrangler Driving Mom

1. A hat (straw or baseball) - We must be able to see while driving. The hat keeps our hair from flying all over the place while the top is down.

2. Sunglasses - When the top is down the sun is a little stronger.

3. Grab Handles - My grab handles are purple.The are a great safety and convenience grip. Mine are from EK Motor Sports. 

4. Upgraded Drink holder - I like my new cup holder because of the place for trash, but the best part is the cup holders are separated. Now my kids won't fight about each other's drink is touching the others. 

5. Tool Box - Every mom should have her own tools. But make sure you keep your tools locked up so your husband or kids don't rummage through them. 

6. Mechanics Gloves - These are great to have to help keep your hands free from cuts, and gives you that extra grip you may need when you are out wrenching on your Jeep. 

7. Recovery Kit - Mine consists of 2 shackles, tow strap, tree saver, tools, high jack lift, recovery gloves, shovel and axe. I am working on other items such as a winch, snatch block, winch line dampener, and fire extinguisher. Be sure you are properly trained on using the high jack lift before you attempt to use it.   

8. Music 

9. Colored Exterior Accessories - I have Plum Crazy Purple painted grille inserts and Shackles. 

10. Jeep T-shirt - It doesn't matter what kind of Jeep shirt but any shirt that mentions Jeep works.

      - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! - The Jeep Life! - 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Steps to Protecting Your Jeep

Now that Spring has finally arrived, it is time to get my Jeep ready for some Springtime and Summertime fun. Now -- I know everyone says a Jeep is suppose to be dirty, but I feel a Jeep is meant to GET dirty. You still need to clean it once in a while to protect the body of your Jeep so it will last a long time. 

First, I broke out the bucket, garden hose, soap and hand mit, and began the process of washing off the final layer of the winter grit of mud, sand and salt. I was careful not to use the soap on my soft top, as I use the Bestop products for that.
I use a soap specifically meant for autos. You need to be careful what kind you use as there are chemicals in some soaps that can damage your Jeep's paint. Some folks use Dawn, but that is suppose to take the wax off your vehicle. 

After a thorough washing, I dry off the Jeep with a microfiber towel. For the first time I decided to try my hand at using clay bar.  Clay bar is designed to get the microscopic bits off your paint that washing can't get, like paint overspray, brake dust etc. I used Mothers California Gold Clay Bar Paint Saving Kit. You can pick it up at your local Auto Store for about $18. 

It is simple and easy to use. First, you mold the clay into your hand. Then use use the included spray, and spray a two foot section of your Jeep. Then you glide the clay bar over the sprayed section until it glides smoothly. 

If the clay gets too dirty fold over the clay and re-mold. You do this to the entire Jeep, not the soft top, or plastic or rubber parts. 

 After the clay bar process it is time to wax the Jeep. 

I Use Mothers California Gold, Brazilian Carnauba Cleaner Wax. Use a damp cloth to swirl it on. Then let it dry to a dry haze then wipe it off. 

Now she is ready to take out for a topless ride, or a day on the trails!

       - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! - The Jeep Life! - 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Top 5 Reasons Moms should Drive Jeep Wranglers

The more I drive my Jeep, the more I am so glad I bought it. It has been an amazing journey, and has been very therapeutic for me in so many ways. 

A little over a year ago, I posted on my blog the Top 3 Reasons every Mom should drive a Jeep.

Now after another year has passed, I have found I need to expand that list to my Top 5 Reasons every mom should drive a Jeep Wrangler.

The first Top 3 on my list 
1. Good Bye to carpools -- because there were less seats in the Jeep then my mini-van which means no more listening to other people's bratty kids. 
2. Snow days are more fun in a Jeep. 
3. Those Calgon "Take Me Away" days are so much better in a Jeep.

Since my introduction to off-roading, my new found love, I would like to add two more reasons every mom should drive a Jeep Wrangler.

Last May, I took a lesson to learn to drive my Jeep on the trails, and at the time little did I know, I found my new favorite activity. Taking my Jeep out on the trails and tackling those rocks is exhilarating and challenging.
As a stay at home mom, the need to find challenges is a constant for me, from advocating for my children; to taking on volunteer roles to make a difference; to new find new challenges in the great outdoors.  Off-Roading gives you a sense of power you can do anything.

Do-it-Yourself Modifications

With so many Wrangler Unlimited's out on the highways and bi-ways, I had a particular desire to make my Jeep look unique to me. With limited funds, it became a challenge. So -- I decided to make the changes to my Jeep in my own garage. So far I have added a front bumper, rock sliders, lights and some other smaller changes. It has been extremely rewarding knowing I made these changes on my own with some help from the great online Jeep community.

It has been a huge sense of accomplishment, which I needed. As a stay-at-home mom for 15 years trying to break back into the work force, I have felt very discouraged and dismayed. But being able to accomplish these types of modifications on my own has been a great accomplishment, and has given my the renewed confidence I needed. 

I plan on continuing to modify my Jeep on my own, and still search out a new career as I reach this new phase in my life. With the positive power my Jeep plays on me, who knows maybe I will become a mechanic! 

       - Simple Living! - Enjoying Life! - The Jeep Life! - 

60 Before 60

I recently shared about revisiting my bucket list on this new season of my life.  Bucket List Revised - 2023 As I approach another milestone...