Thursday, July 30, 2015

Post Off-Road Check List

I noticed a Jeep Cherokee drive by the window with branches dragging along the undercarriage of the Jeep. My guess was this Jeep just finished up some wheelin' on the off-road trails.  Well, a smart thing to do, when you are done driving off-road, is to inspect your Jeep.

Post Trail Ride Jeep Checklist  👉 Watch Here

Pre-Trail & Post Trail Checklist 👉 Watch Here

  • Completely inspect the underbody of your Jeep. 
  • Check the tires, body structure, steering, suspension, and exhaust system for damage. 
  • Inspect the radiator for mud and debris and clean as required.
  • Check threaded fasteners for looseness, particularly on the chassis, drive-train components, steering, and suspension. Re-tighten them if required. 
  • Check for accumulations of plants or brush. These things could be a fire hazard. They might hide damage to fuel lines, brake hoses, axle pinion seals, and propeller shafts.
  •  After extended operation in mud, sad water or similar dirty conditions have the radiator, fan, brake rotors, wheels, brake linings, and axle yokes inspected and cleaned as soon as possible. 
  • If you experience unusual vibration after driving in the mud, slush, or similar conditions, check the wheels for impacted material. Impacted material can cause a wheel imbalance.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Off-road Water Obstacle Tips

Wheeling Through Water Obstacle Tips

When you are off-road one of the  biggest factors that could cause some serious damage to your Jeep Wrangler. Here are some tips you need to be aware of.

The Jeep manual states when in 4L proceed very slowly through water with a constant slow speed -- 3 to 5 m.p.h. and light throttle. Keep moving and don't try to accelerate. 

If you cross water higher than the bottom of the axle differentials you should inspect all of the vehicles fluids for signs of water. 


  • Roll through the water slowly because there could be hidden rocks and holes in your path.
  • Watch the vehicle in front of you as they will help you see what could be in your way. 

  • Know your Jeep's capability. Jeep has some videos of their vehicles water-fording.

  • How deep should you go... well each vehicle is different. I like to play it safe. I don't like go higher than my bumper. Water can damage the engine, transmission, electronics and differentials. 

  • Like with any type of off-roading never go alone. You might need someone to pull you out of the water. 

  • Once out of the water be careful of your brakes. Use them lightly until they dry out.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Electrical Wiring Issues

Navigating the Wiring Maze: Why Caution is Key

After I installed my Raxiom off-road lights, my Jeep Wrangler's dash was lighting up and dinging. This happened several times followed by the ESC malfunction indicator light illuminating. Checking out my newly acquired manual, it stated a malfunction in my ESC system had been detected. 

ESC Indicator

ESC is the Electronic Stability Control - which senses when you begin to over- or under-steer and applies individual brakes and controls your throttle as needed to help put you back on track.

Wrong Way

Turns out the problem was my fault. I attached my LED light wires to the wrong spot on the battery when I hooked up my off-road lights. 

Wrong Way

The location where I attached the wires began to eventually loosened the battery cables. As well as the hexed nut coned washer was not meant for this extra wiring. Thus creating high voltage which affected the ABS system thus the malfunction. 

ESC Code Jeep Problem Solved!


I took my Jeep to the local Jeep dealer where I bought my Jeep. They had seen this issue before. Many other Jeepers have done this same thing. They re-attached my wires to the proper location on the battery. This way the wires won't come loose and cause issues with my computer.  My LED lights are good to go, and the Rubicon is happy once again.

Aftermarket Lights: Benefits and Challenges

While the benefits of aftermarket lights are undeniable, their installation is not without its challenges. Especially when it comes to wiring and the potential impact on your vehicle's electronic systems.

Voltage Compatibility: One of the primary concerns when adding aftermarket lights is ensuring compatibility with your vehicle's electrical system. Mismatched voltages or improper wiring can lead to electrical issues. This can include blown fuses, malfunctioning lights, and in extreme cases, damage to your vehicle's computer.

Overloading the Electrical System: Modern vehicles are equipped with sophisticated electronic systems that regulate various functions, from engine performance to safety features. Adding aftermarket lights without properly assessing the electrical load can overload the system, compromising its integrity and functionality.

Integration with Vehicle Electronics: In an age where vehicles are more interconnected than ever, the addition of aftermarket lights requires careful consideration of how they integrate with existing electronic systems. Failure to account for compatibility and potential conflicts can result in malfunctions and costly repairs down the line.

Tips to Help Navigate the Wiring Maze & Minimize Risks 

Consultation with Professionals: Before starting on your lighting upgrade, consider consulting with experienced professionals who specialize in aftermarket installations. Their expertise can help you assess compatibility, identify potential challenges, and ensure a seamless integration with your vehicle's electronics.

Quality Components: Pick high-quality aftermarket lights and wiring harnesses that are specifically designed for off-road use. Investing in reputable brands and components will not only ensure optimal performance but also reduce the likelihood of electrical issues and compatibility issues.

Proper Installation and Wiring: Proper installation is paramount when adding aftermarket lights to your vehicle. Follow manufacturer guidelines. If you're not confident in your wiring abilities, enlist the help of professionals to avoid costly mistakes and ensure safety.

Integration with Vehicle Electronics: Take the time to research how aftermarket lights will interact with your vehicle's electronic systems. Consider additional accessories such as relays and switches to ensure seamless integration and minimize the risk of electrical conflicts.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Jeep Snow Driving Tips

Mastering the Art of Snow Wheeling

(Updated November 2023) Growing up in the Midwest, I became intimately familiar with harsh and lengthy winters. Navigating snowy roads was a way of life. Over the years, I honed my skills, and dealing with snow-covered terrain became almost second nature. I learned how my vehicle reacted in the snow, and my instincts took over.

However, for those new to snow wheeling, the lack of experience in the snow can quickly turn a minor mistake into a full-blown disaster. It's essential to be prepared and knowledgeable before embarking on snow-covered off-road journeys.

Winter Snow Wheeling Tips


Enhancing Traction on Snowy Terrain

Navigating your Jeep through snowy terrain with the 4-high and 4-low settings can greatly enhance traction and stability. In snowy conditions, engaging 4-high is ideal for moderate snow depths, providing better grip without the need for intense torque. This setting distributes power to all four wheels, aiding in maintaining control. 

It is recommended to use 4-high at speeds below 55 mph. Beyond this speed, it's advisable to switch back to 2-wheel drive for regular driving conditions. Driving at high speeds in 4-high can lead to increased stress on the drivetrain, potentially causing excessive wear and reduced fuel efficiency.

Tackling Deeper Snow and Off-Road Challenges

When faced with deeper snow or challenging off-road scenarios, 4-low becomes advantageous. It multiplies engine torque for increased wheel power, enabling the Jeep to crawl through tougher conditions. Remember to drive at a safe, controlled speed to avoid skidding or sliding. 

Knowing When to Switch Back to 2WD

However, it's essential to know when not to use these settings, such as on dry or paved roads, as the increased traction can strain the drivetrain and cause damage. Switch back to 2-wheel drive for regular driving conditions to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your Jeep's components.

Be Prepared

Jeep Momma with a shovel and her Jeep.

Dress for the weather and bring along your recovery gear. Always carry a shovel. The shovel can dig out your tires, axles, and frame when the snow compacts and prevents your Jeep from moving. 

Tire tracks in snow.

Learning to read the snow

One of the most important techniques in snow wheeling. There are many different types of snow. Soft wet snow is different then hard cold snow. There’s crusty snow, powdery snow, slushy snow, and all this snow can be in layers. Some of the snow will pack and clog your tires and some you can just easily plow through. Understanding the layers and the dynamics of the snow helps you to make smart decisions while wheeling. 

Jeep hood shot wheeling in the snow. 

Throttle Modulation and Brake Control 

Knowing when to give it gas and when to take it slowly requires practice and experience.  Practice while on a flat easy part of the trail to see how the snow and your Jeep react to giving it gas then use a little gas pedal finesse and test how your Jeep reacts. The brakes are not your friend in the snow. 

Spinning your wheels just digs a hole in the snow making your rig sink deeper. The spinning also melts the top layer of snow, then the water re-freezes and turns to ice. You may need to back up and try different lines. Watch out for icy spots, and don't slam on your brake, you need to pump your brakes. Unless you have ABS. If you start to slide turn into the slide.  

Jeep on a snowy mountain road. 

Wheeling through the snow can be an exhilarating experience, especially when you're familiar with an easy trail you've driven countless times without snow. The snow adds an extra layer of challenge to these trails, transforming a once mild route into a demanding adventure. There are also different types of snow that take experience to understand how to maneuver your vehicle through it. However, throwing in mountain trails with ledges and trees is a whole other level. 

Tips When Snow Wheeling in the Mountains 

Jeep Momma selfie with Jeeps. 

Don’t wheel on the snowy mountain trails alone. It is very easy to get your vehicle stuck in the snow. If you get stuck, which the chances are high when you wheel in the snow, you will want to have the option of another vehicle to help you out.

Know your limits and your experience. Just like I did on Heart Attack Hill. I know my Jeep is capable, I know and I have a lot of experience driving in the snow. However, I am not that experienced in the snow on rocky inclines up a mountain trail. I decided to get a little more snow trail driving under my belt first. My Jeep is my daily driver, so I opted for caution. Do what’s best for you and your vehicle. Turns out the bypass was just as challenging.

Snow Wheeling 👉 Watch Here

Jeep hood shot on snowy mountain road. 

Essential Tips for Snowy Driving Conditions

Maintain Proper Tire Pressure

Ensure that your tires are properly inflated, as this can significantly affect traction. In colder temperatures, tire pressure tends to drop, so check and adjust accordingly.

Use Snow Tires

Consider investing in dedicated snow tires. They are designed for cold weather and snowy conditions, providing better grip and traction than all-season tires.

Increase Following Distance

Snowy roads can be unpredictable. Increase your following distance to allow for longer braking distances and to account for potential slippery spots.

Drive Smoothly

Avoid abrupt acceleration, deceleration, and sharp turns. Smooth, gradual movements help maintain control on slippery surfaces.

Brake Gently

Apply brakes gently to avoid skidding. If your Jeep is equipped with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), let it do its job—maintain firm, continuous pressure on the brake pedal.

Know Your Jeep's Features

Familiarize yourself with your Jeep's specific off-road features, such as traction control and stability control. Understanding how these systems work can help you navigate challenging conditions more effectively.

Carry Essential Supplies

Pack an emergency kit with items like a blanket, flashlight, extra clothing, and non-perishable snacks. In snowy conditions, it's wise to be prepared for unexpected delays.

Emergency Gear 👉 Read More

Practice in an Open Area

If you're new to driving in the snow or off-road conditions, find an open, safe area to practice. Get a feel for how your Jeep responds to different situations before facing more challenging terrain.

Clear Snow From Your Vehicle

Before driving, remove all snow and ice from your Jeep, including the roof and hood. This ensures visibility and prevents hazards to other drivers.

Know When to Stop

If the conditions become too hazardous, it's okay to stop and wait for conditions to improve. Avoid unnecessary risks and prioritize safety.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Finding Balance

(Updated December 2023) In 2000 I left my career in television news to be a stay at home mom. My husband at the time and I decided that would be the best decision for our family. I am so glad we were able to make that family commitment. 


As my children grew older, and my mom role is changed. One thing I began to realize -- during this time I put myself on the back burner. I neglected myself and my needs. It wasn't until I started getting older and my ever changing hormones started messing with my head, I began to reflect on my life to figure out what was next, what did I enjoy, what were my passions and what would be my next career path.  

My children were my passion, but as they grew up and became more independent I had to let go and find my myself.  I will always be their mom, and they will always need me, but those needs are different and not so demanding of my time. 

My First Jeep 2013

When I bought my first Jeep, I had found something just for me. I loved my Jeep and still do. Owning my first Jeep opened up many exciting new doors. And so I started my journey to balance out my life. I began to search for my new passion. I created a bucket list and I started to find things I enjoyed.

Crafting My Bucket List 👉 Read More

How to Find Your Passion 👉 Read More

"Holstee Manifesto".

Along my journey I have come to recognize what it means to live life to the fullest. I try every day to do just that, to savor every moment, and to have fun. 

I saw the quote "Buying Experiences, not stuff, makes you happier". Thinking back on my life journey's this is very true for me. Now my goal is to work on more experiences in my life.  My Jeep gives me those experiences. 

There's a very logical assumption that most people make when spending their money: that because a physical object will last longer, it will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a concert or vacation. According to recent research, it turns out that assumption is completely wrong.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Muddy Trail Off-Road Tips

What To Do When You Encounter Muddy Trails

Rausch Creek Off-Road Park

I am not a fan of driving my Jeep through mud and avoid it as much as possible. However, you never know what you will encounter out on the trails. So you should always be prepared. 

Mud can be a fun challenge on an off-road trail, but you need to be cautious so you don't damage your Jeep. Just like water mud can sometimes take us by surprise with the hidden debris that lurks in the mud. Plus, the depth of the mud can be hard to judge. 

It’s messy and not good for those Jeep parts. 

Jeep Momma's Ultimate Mud Guide Video 👉  Click Here

Jeep Momma's Top 5 Wheeling in the Mud Tips

  • If you plan on making mudding your thing, tires are very important along with good ground clearance and protection of your undercarriage such as skid plates. Get proper tires with an aggressive tread pattern designed for mud.
  • If you know you are going to encounter mud airing down your tires is a good idea. Lowering your tire pressure will increase the contact patch and improve traction. It allows the tires to mold and conform to the uneven surface improving the grip in the mud.
  • Use momentum wisely. If possible watch the vehicle in front of you to get an idea how fast you need to go. Maintain a consistent speed when driving through the mud. Gradual acceleration and controlled momentum help maintain traction and can help from getting bogged down in the mud. Avoid excessive speed as that can lead to loss of control.
  • Have your tow strap hooked to your vehicle before entering the mud. That way if you get stuck it could make your recovery easier.
  • After your time in the mud a must is to clean your Jeep before the mud has a chance to dry and harden. Dried mud can affect your tire balance and could trap heat in your transmission.
  • Don't wheel alone, take another vehicle that can pull you out if you get stuck.
  • Don't cross the mud if there are no tracks on the other side 
  • Avoid excessively spinning the tires.
  • Beware of the middle of deep ruts where you could high-center.
  • If you start to get bogged down, slightly turn your steering wheel from side to side to gain more traction while continuing to move forward
  • Pressure wash the undercarriage when you get back. This helps prevent corrosion and excess weight on your Jeep.

Remember mud can be unpredictable so prioritize safety and the protection of your Jeep. Make sure you are prepared with the proper recovery equipment too.

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