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A Vintage Jeep Maintenance Checklist for the Spring

A Vintage Jeep Maintenance Checklist for the Spring

As a Jeep owner, you already know about all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into rebuilding and restoring this all-American vehicle. While they remain one of the toughest little cars to hit the road, Jeeps still require the occasional tender loving care to keep on trucking—or would that be “Jeeping”? Whether you recently bought a vintage Jeep or are working to maintain one, be sure to take advantage of this vintage Jeep maintenance checklist for the spring. Look it over and check it twice to ensure your Jeep runs sweetly and smoothly for a very long time. Even though the weather is getting nice again, your vehicle still needs care!

Change the Oil

The surest way to kill an engine is to let the oil run out. Change the oil in your Jeep every 5,000 miles or three months (whichever comes first). In the meantime, keep an eye on it. Check the oil periodically to ensure it’s staying clean and topped off. Change the oil filter as well. Without a clean filter, the oil will gunk up quickly. If you haven’t driven the Jeep for a long time, be sure to check and change the oil.

Look for Leaks

Take time to periodically look for leaks, cracks, and other potential damage under the chassis and hood. Leaking fluids are a bad sign and can translate into diminished performance at best and a major accident or blaze at worst. When old, original parts leak, experts recommend replacing the surrounding system. When one part goes, so go the others. Besides, completely upgraded parts make for a smoother and surer ride, and modern ones are tougher and better able to handle today’s roads and conditions.

Check the Battery

After a long, hard, and cold winter, it’s worth checking on the well-being of your battery. If it hasn’t been running for a while, test it to see if it still has a charge and can keep it. In general, a Jeep battery can last between three to five years, but at three years, be more cognizant of what it’s currently capable of. If it’s still in good shape, confirm that the connection is secure and that the brackets are nice and tight. If you notice any corrosion, especially around the leads, clean them off and replace the battery soon.

Keep Cool

Check the coolant and radiator levels. Jeeps, especially the older models, can face overheating issues. Look for leaks in the radiator, of course, and take the time to flush and refill the system. As the temperatures start to rise, there will be more call for your Jeep’s engine to cool down.

Hoses and Belts

When the temperature drops it can go harder on rubber, in particular the different hoses and belts under the hood. Check the current quality of the belts and hoses. Look for cracks and abrasions and other kinds of damage and replace them. Aging hoses and belts are apt to crack, tear, break, or burst when things suddenly start to heat up. Choosing to ignore damaged hoses and belts can leave you at a loss on the road or in the middle of nowhere later.

Don’t Be Fuelish

If you drove through a long and bitter winter, it’s time to review your fuel system’s status. Winter can put your vintage Jeep through the paces. Clean out the carburetor for one thing, and inspect the fuel lines for damage. It’s wise to clean the fuel system every 30,000 miles, but talk to your mechanic and see what they have to say first. They may recommend flushing the system. Fuel additives can also help ensure the fuel is clean and free from various elements that impede vehicle performance. Just be sure to pick the right ones for your Jeep.

Start Me Up

How’s the ignition system? If it’s not providing an instant and noise-free start, it’s an issue worth investigating. Check the spark plugs and ensure they’re not experiencing any issues. Befouled or misfiring spark plugs can cause diminished acceleration, hard starts, misfires, lower gas mileage, and rough idling. Replace shoddy spark plugs and take time to check the connections on the ignition wires. A tune-up should be on the docket as well to keep your Jeep healthy.

Give Yourself a Brake

Brakes are vital in the sense that they save lives. After winter—and every few months besides—check your brake fluid level. Note whether the brakes are stopping the vehicle without making excessive noise, and have a professional inspect the rest of the brake assembly and brake lines. If anything feels wrong or looks worn, bring your vehicle in right away. It could save your life.

Time To Re-Tire?

After a hard winter, you will need to see how your tires are holding up. Hopefully, you installed all-season or winter tires to handle the rough, slippery, and ice roads. Either way, take a look at the treads and employ the penny test: turn Mr. Lincoln upside down and stick the coin into one of the treads. If you see any part of his head, it’s time to replace the tires. Look for potential punctures, bumps, abrasions, and bubbles too. If the tire looks bad, it’s probably time to replace it. Jeeps usually see a lot more off-road wear and tear too, so be sure the tires are ready to roll. While you’re down there, look at the undercarriage. Winter salt and grit can build up and corrode the system.

Keep It Clean

Speaking of salt and grit, it’s also time to give your vintage Jeep a thorough cleaning that protects the finish and interior cabin. Using a gentle cleaner and a garden hose, rinse and wash and rinse your Jeep again. A clean car simply runs better, and it helps eliminate rust too. A good waxing and sealant will also protect the paint and ornamentation. Wash the windows and see if the engine bay is staying clean and grease-free as well—at least on the outside. Keep the cabin looking smart by dusting and vacuuming and using an upholstery cleaner to make those seats shine.

That’s a vintage Jeep maintenance checklist for the spring. Look after your Jeep by following the above tips to the letter. If you have any questions or need M151A1 parts for your vehicle, contact us for a consultation today!

A Vintage Jeep Maintenance Checklist for the Spring