So, you’ve finally become a Jeep Wrangler owner — welcome to the family! We’re certainly glad to have you.
As you likely already know, Jeep enthusiasts make up an entire culture on their own. If you’re new to the wonderful world of jeeping, there are a few things that you need to know going forward in order to not sound like a complete newb during your first few ventures out on the trails.
That’s why here at Altitude Jeep, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the unique language spoken by those who live the Jeep life, including all the Jeep jargon you might potentially hear out there amongst your fellow off-roaders. This way, you can avoid being the one in the club who chuckles nervously at terms and references that you don’t truly understand — and maybe even educate some of your fellow new jeepers along the way.
When it comes time to start customizing your new Jeep, we hope that you’ll browse the impeccable selection of custom JEep parts and accessories we have to offer you at Altitude Jeep.
Before we dive into the myriad terms used by jeepers today, it’s important to get a grasp on the different types of Wranglers from past and present that you’ll find out on the road.
Jeep Model Abbreviations
Each Jeep model, (with a few exceptions) comes with a two-character abbreviation:
- JK – Wrangler 2007 – present Jeep model abbreviations
- LJ – Wrangler Unlimited 2003 – 2006
- TJ – Wrangler 1997 – 2006
- YJ – Wrangler 1987 – 1995
- CJ – Civilian Jeep 1955 – 1986
- KL - Cherokee 2014 - present
- XJ – Cherokee/Wagoneer (Unibody only) 1984 – 2001
- WK2 – Grand Cherokee 2010 – present
- WK – Grand Cherokee 2005 – 2010
- WJ – Grand Cherokee 1999 – 2004
- ZJ – Grand Cherokee 1993 – 1998
- KK – Liberty 2008 – 2013
- KJ – Liberty 2002 – 2007
- MK - Patriot 2007 - present
- XK – Commander 2006 – 2010
- MJ – Comanche 1986 – 1993
- VJ – Jeepster 1948 – 1950
- DJ – Dispatch or delivery Jeep 1955 – 1985 (Willys/Kaiser/AMC/AM General)
- FC – Forward control trucks 1956 – 1964
- SJ – Full size 1963 – 1992 (SJ Grand Wagoneer, SJ Cherokee and SJ truck)
- C101 - Jeepster Commando - 1966 - 1971
- C104 - Jeep Commando - 1972 - 1973
If you’d like to learn more about these Jeep models, be sure to read our post on the history of the Jeep Wrangler for more detailed information. Another important thing to know as a Jeep Wrangler owner is the origin of the iconic seven-slot grill, so be sure to check out our previous post to learn about how your Jeep Wrangler grill came to be what it is today! You should also know what the pros and cons of new Jeeps versus old Jeeps are so you can better relate to the other Wrangler riders on the road and their specific model of Jeep.
Now, let’s dive into the most common terms you’ll hear thrown around in the off-roading and customization communities by your fellow Jeep enthusiasts:
Jeep Jargon: Terms To Know
This refers to any Jeep Wrangler that has been modified with various custom Jeep parts and accessories to look and ride like a finely tuned off-roading beast.
This term is relatively easy to discern, but these are the custom modifications that are applied to any Jeep Wrangler. They can refer to the custom Jeep parts and accessories being applied for improving the look or the performance of the vehicle. In terms of their level of modifications and customization, there are three types of Jeep Wranglers you’ll find on the roads:
- Stock - A Jeep without any custom Jeep parts or modifications performed outside of what was installed by the manufacturer.
- Aftermarket - A Wrangler that features mods that serve as substitutes for the “stock” components, such as an aftermarket Jeep grill, LED headlights, lift kits, and other aftermarket Jeep accessories
- Built - A Jeep which has been completely modified by a professional with custom Jeep parts for maximum performance and capabilities
This term is used to describe the various custom Jeep parts that serve as exterior protection when installed onto a Jeep Wrangler — bumpers, sliders, rocker guards, skid plates, fenders and more.
This is the act of performing work on your Jeep, whether it’s installing new custom Jeep parts and mods, giving it a tune-up, or repairing a broken or damaged component. Wrenching applies to any time you’re getting down and dirty with your Jeep in the garage or workshop, rather than out on the trails.
Wheeling is the term used by jeepers to describe trail running, rock climbing, and everything else you do off the pavement in your Wrangler.
Bogging, or “mudding,” refers specifically to times where you take your Jeep out in the mud. If you’re new to the off-road scene, we highly recommend sticking to traditional “wheeling” for a while before trying your hand in the mud pits — and when you do, have a winch nearby. If you do decide to take a dive into the mud, read our off-road driving tips first.
Also referred to often as “lockers,” these greatly improve your Jeep’s capabilities in low-traction environments, such as ice and sand. When they are needed, lockers will “lock” the left and right wheels of an axle together, providing a boost in traction for getting through tough terrain.
A dreaded occurrence throughout the Jeep community, the death wobble is an ill-fated effect of the suspension of your Wrangler, which leads to very intense front-end vibrations, or “wobbles.”
Overall, this is caused by the oscillation of the front axle, and it has the potential to end in a disastrous fashion if not addressed immediately. This happens most often when aftermarket Jeep lift or suspension kits are made poorly or have been installed improperly, but it can happen with any Jeep, stock or aftermarket, with the perfect storm of conditions. Learn more about the Jeep death wobble and how to fix it.
Articulation is the amount of distance that a Jeep’s suspension will allow the wheels to reach upwards and downwards. There are two forms of articulation:
- Droop - downward articulation, or how far the tires can reach below the vehicle
- Stuff - upward compression, or how far the tires can be pushed upwards into the wheel housing
The tire bead refers to the edge of the tire that sits on the wheel rim, creating an air-tight seal. When the tire is inflated and the seal is formed, this is known as “sealing the bead.”
In a variety of off-roading scenarios, the tire bead can be compromised. For example, when climbing over rocks, tire pressure is reduced from what is used in daily driving to more easily climb. When pressure is reduced, the bead can easily become compromised. Many Jeep owners will buy a ‘bead lock’ for this very occurrence to help the bead hold, therefore maintaining tire pressure.
We hope that this guide to Jeep lingo will help you on your quest to become a Wrangler aficionado. If you really want to impress your fellow Jeep owners and stand out from the pack, elevate your ride with custom Jeep parts from Altitude Jeep today! We have a variety of aftermarket Jeep accessories to help you improve both the look and performance of your Wrangler to keep up with your fellow trailblazers.