1.  Using a flat head screwdriver, remove the (4) push pins then remove the lower plastic valance.


2.   With the valance removed, use an 18mm socket, and remove the (8) nuts holding the bumper to the front of the frame. Be careful when removing the bumper as the factory fog lights will be re-used if you purchased a Crusader, or Vanguard bumper. Once that is done, remove the last two push pins on the upper filler panel and remove.


3.  OPTIONAL | Crusader and Vanguard bumper ONLY – With the bumper removed, use a philips screw driver and remove both of the factory fog lights. Now, using a 1/4″ drill bit, enlarge the mounting holes on the factory fog lights. Place the fog light inside your Crusade or Vanguard bumper, and tighten the 1/4″ flange nuts down using a 7/16″ socket.


4.   If you are installing a Vanguard, Crusader or Mauler on a 2012+, you will need to relocate the vacuum pump. If installing a Dagger or Defender bumper, you can skip these steps




5.  OPTIONAL – Warn Zeon, Warn Powerplant, or Other Large Winch – If you’re planning on running a large winch such as the Warn Zeon, or Warn Powerplant, some slight modification to the frame horns will be necessary to allow the winch to sit between the frame. On the driver side, measure 1 & 1/4″ in x 1/4” down and mark the area you will cut out. On the passenger side, measure in 1″ x1/4”. Mark the frame, then cut. It is always best to clean up any sharp edges and apply some paint to the areas you just cut out.

front bumper cover

6.  On the passenger side, drop in the provided nutsert tab. At this time remove the (8) flange nuts on the back of the bumper.

front car bumper

7.   Now, slide the JcrOffroad Bumper onto the Jeep. It is best to use two people when installing the bumper. Using the 3/8″ bolt from the netsert tab, loosely install the side frame mounting bolt. Next, install the flange nuts back onto the bumper and tighten them down. Once the flange nuts are tight, tighten down the 3/8″ bolt on the side of the frame.

front car bumper

8.   With the bumper tightened down, install your winch at this time.

9.   With your winch bolted down, loosely install the front fairlead bracket. Make sure the offset plate matches the offset of the winch. Now, bolt on your fairlead and tighten everything up using a 3/16″ allen head, and 9/16″ wrench.

front car bumper

10.   OPTIONAL – At this time, If you are installing a front lower skid with either our Vanguard, Crusader, or Mauler bumpers, please continue on with the install process, and proceed to either our website for instructions, or print out the instructions you need for your reference.

11.   Now it’s time to head out with your newly installed bumper and enjoy the trails



How to Change a Tire on Car

Knowing how to change a tire is mostly helpful in case you get a flat while driving on the road. Every other time your tires get removed, rotated and/or replaced it will be by a tire technician.

Every vehicle has instructions for using the jack and other tools as necessary to change the tire. Some of the details can vary by make and model, such as the storage location for the jack and spare tire. Consult the owners manual of the vehicle. Also, there will often be a sticker with instructions located with the jack and spare tire.

Some general guidelines for changing a tire :

  • Make sure the vehicle is on level ground
  • Apply the parking brake
  • Remove the spare tire and tools from the vehicle
  • Use wheel chocks to block the wheels opposite of the wheel you’re changing (i.e. if you’re changing a rear tire, then put the chocks in front of the front wheels).
    • Wheel chocks are similar to triangle-shaped door stoppers. When chocks are included with the tire changing kit, then they should be used. However, they are not present with every vehicle. Cases where they’re not present may include vehicles with a rear parking brake and front wheel drive. When changing a rear wheel in these vehicles the front wheel drive keeps the vehicle stable, and when changing a front wheel in these vehicles the rear parking brake keeps the vehicle stable.
  • Loosen the lug nuts before lifting the vehicle, but do not remove
  • Pump or crank the jack to lift the vehicle using the proper lift points
  • Remove the lug nuts
  • Remove the flat tire
  • Place the spare tire
  • Replace the lug nuts snug
  • Lower the vehicle

Tire Disposal

Any time you purchase a tire, the tire shop is responsible for charging a disposal fee and disposing the old tire properly. If for some reason you have to dispose of the tires yourself, you can take them to the city dump. The dump may charge you a fee. You can try taking it to a tire recycling facility where you might be able to dump them for free or even get paid for them.


General Maintenance : Vehicle Lighting

Vehicle lighting includes instrument panel lighting, warning indicator lights, left and right turn signals, brake lights, hazard lights (which have a distinct circuit from the turn signals even though the display is in the same place), headlights and tail lights, front marker lights, the license plate light, and lights for the cab and trunk. Checking vehicle lighting goes quicker and smoother with two people, and in the case of the brake lights two people are required.

The instrument lighting is all of the back lighting for the instrument cluster (all the gauges, speedometer, fuel gauge and others). The instrument lighting can be checked by turning on the headlights at night or in a dim garage. Check to see that all the gauges are clearly visible. There should not be any dark spots on the cluster.

The warning indicator lights on the dashboard include the brake light, oil light, check engine light, anti-lock brake (ABS) light, airbag light, tire pressure monitor, engine temperature light, and others — all of which can be found in the owners manual. All of the warning indicator lights will turn on for a set amount of time (about a minute, but varies per vehicle) when you turn the key to the on position without cranking the engine. Once the engine is running, none of these lights should be on (even the seat belt light should be off, indicating that you’re wearing your seat belt). If one is on, then it indicates a problem with its correlating system. The number of lights and types of lights will vary by make and model. Some vehicles have features that others don’t, such as traction control.

Exterior lighting is checked with the key turned to the on position in the ignition (or with the engine running, but its not necessary to have the engine running just to check the lights). Turn on the headlights. Check all four corners of the vehicle. On both sides (right and left, or driver side and passenger side) the same number of bulbs should be illuminated. There should be two front marker lights that are orange, two tail lights, and a license plate light.

Turn the left turn signal on. Check the left front and left rear of the vehicle for blinking lights. Some vehicles have more than one bulb for the turn signal and some even include a signal in the side rear view mirrors. Be sure every applicable bulb is illuminating. Some vehicles have a cornering lamp, which is a clear lamp on the front of the vehicle which illuminates corners while turning. This should be illuminated but it will not blink.

Turn the right turn signal on. Check the right front and right rear of the vehicle for blinking lights. Be sure all applicable bulbs are illuminating. Check the cornering lamp if applicable.

When the turn signal is on and the indicator is blinking fast or not blinking at all, these are indicators of a failed bulb.

Brake lights require two people for inspection. One person presses the brake pedal while the other person checks the rear of the vehicle to make sure all the brake lights are illuminating, including the high mount brake light in the rear window if the vehicle is equipped with one.

Activate the hazard switch. Check to make sure that there are flashing lights with an equal number of bulbs on all four corners. The hazard lights are wired separately from the turn signals, so it is important to check the hazard lights even if the turn signals have been checked.


Let’s (Still) Make a Deal



TWO 20-SOMETHINGS WALKED into a car dealership . . .

No, that really happened—this isn’t a setup for a joke. More than a quarter of the 16 million new-car purchases in the United States last year were made by that tech-savvy, marketing-averse group known as millennials, according to market-research firm J.D. Power. And virtually all those buyers ended up signing the paperwork and accepting the keys at an honestto-goodness new-car dealership.

How could that be, in an age of painless online shopping, when you can buy everything from shoes to home mortgages via keystrokes, no trial fittings or handshakes required? Why can’t you read the review of a new model on Car and Driver’s website, click the “Buy It Now” button at the end of the article, and walk out to the driveway to await delivery by (large-capacity) Amazon drone?


Despite a few experiments with direct sales that have generally not caught on, a notable exception being Tesla Motors’s factory sales model, franchised dealers still control the new-car pipeline in this country. Their reign is unlikely to end soon. “The internet has dramatically changed the car-buying experience, but not the role of the dealer,” Maryann Keller & Associates wrote in a 2014 study for the National Automobile Dealers Association, a group that undoubtedly liked what it heard.

Long-established state franchise laws that largely prohibit direct sales by auto manufacturers are the biggest reasons dealers are mostly impervious to outside threats. The idea behind the franchise system is that third-party businesses can service customers better by fostering competition. A dealer who is independent of the automaker would, in theory, assure a broad inventory, provide competent repairs, and be an upstanding member of the local community, treating neighbors fairly and perhaps sponsoring beer-league softball or a kids’ soccer team. And customers can comparison-shop Chevy dealers easier than if they are taking on Chevrolet itself.

Compared with most purchases, online and otherwise, buying a car is a costly, complicated affair, more akin to a real-estate transaction than buying a shirt. The dealer arranges financing, collects taxes, handles the state registration, and offers an opportunity to see and drive various models before making a decision. It will take your old car on trade and stands ready to provide factory-warranty service and handle recalls.

“There has been a focus on outdated laws that protect dealers, but there is that consumer issue, and it is a real one,” says Aaron Jacoby, chair of the automotive industry practice group at Arent Fox, a Washington, D.C.–based law firm. “Laws are still geared toward protecting consumers, and there is interest in how they will get service for these major expensive things they are buying. How will recalls be handled? How will warranty work be handled?”

While more than a third of customers say they would consider buying a car directly online, according to a study by McKinsey & Company, most want to try before they buy. More than 80 percent of buyers take test drives, underscoring the continued strategic importance of dealers.

The number of dealers is declining, though, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many marginal operations succumbed to the recession, and manufacturers bought out others that were smaller or less professional. Consolidation has created a national network of some 18,000 dealers today, 18 percent fewer than the 22,000 in operation just 10 years ago. While momand-pop operations dwindle, the largest dealer groups—such as AutoNation, Penske, and Group 1 Automotive—continue to add locations, boosting profit margins and efficiency. Bigger can be better for customers as well. The dealer groups offer more choices, with AutoNation listing some 70,000 vehicles for sale nationwide, all searchable online. Once you find the exact model you’re looking for, the car can be shipped to your local store for delivery.


Buying a new car remains a bricks-and-mortar transaction, an actual physical exchange of paperwork for keys. The sales environment is changing, however, as dealerships face up to the internet’s new reality. Today’s customers, millennials in particular, demand transparency, simplicity, speed, and trust. “Customer expectations are being shaped by retail experiences largely online,” says Jeremy Anwyl, principal of Anwyl Partners and former vice chairman of, the auto-shopping website.

A tsunami of information is within easy reach of anyone with a laptop or a smartphone. Data-gathering websites detail exactly what dealers pay for cars, while independent companies compile full inventories of available vehicles, reveal what other buyers paid for the exact model under consideration, and connect shoppers to the dealer with the lowest price, often guaranteed in writing. Increasingly, buyers are striking virtual deals with salespeople they haven’t met, filling out forms and initiating the transaction from their living rooms. A study released this year by, which included a survey of more than 4000 car shoppers, found that 56 percent wanted to start negotiating on their own terms, preferably online, and that nearly threequarters wanted to complete the credit and financing paperwork that way as well.

“You talk to consumers about what bothers them. One is a lack of feeling comfortable with the price, and another is a feeling that their time is being wasted,” reports Anwyl.

So the goal for dealers today is to complete the deal and hand over the keys within an hour. Still, a complicated credit history can stretch the process toward, and beyond, the industry average of four hours.

Another bottleneck in the process is the trade-in. “Why don’t people buy more new cars right now?” asks John Krafcik, president of TrueCar, an online pricingand-information site that funnels buyers to dealers. “Probably because the thought of selling their current car is so horrible.”

TrueCar attacks this problem with a smartphone app to expedite the trade-in process. You snap photos of your car, answer a few questions about its condition, and TrueCar will solicit bids from dealers in your area, then send you back the highest offer. Assuming that an inspection verifies the claimed condition, the dealer will cut you a check for the car or honor the stated value as a trade-in. By the time the TrueTrade process is fully implemented next year, TrueCar says you will be able to take your car to many of the 10,000 dealers in its network to receive the guaranteed price.

Online pricing tools may have helped to reassure wary customers, but some parts of the transaction, such as lease calculations or payments from manufacturers to help cover dealer costs, remain inscrutable. “There is partial transparency,” Anwyl says, “but it is not complete.”


To a public increasingly accustomed to online shopping, the dealer model may seem old-fashioned. But Jacoby, the lawyer, says that automakers and dealers “are slowly figuring out the dance toward how they themselves would dominate the internet.” He points to as an example. That site—and similar efforts such as GM’s Shop-Click-Drive and Scion’s Pure Process—allows you to build a vehicle to your specification, gives you an “internet price,” and links you to a dealer for delivery. FordDirect claims to have helped dealers with more than 600,000 sales last year.

Another factor in favor of dealers: Customers seem to like them better than ever before. Two of J.D. Power’s studies, the Sales Satisfaction Index and the Customer Service Index, have been on the upswing for years (except for a slight dip in 2015 for the service study), suggesting that dealers have been cleaning up their houses.

“People are more satisfied with dealers today than they have been,” says John Humphrey, senior vice president for global automotive operations at J.D. Power. “It’s evident in trend numbers from our surveys. They’re more satisfied when they buy and when they go for service.”

Adds Anwyl: “It is not inherent in the franchise system that customers can’t feel happy and have a great experience when they buy a vehicle. It does mean that manufacturers and dealers need to clarify their roles and responsibilities and work together.” So while there is still no simple way to buy a car, technology has leveled the playing field. That gives the customer more clout.





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Water, water everywhere

Water, water everywhere

Flood-damaged cars are turning up on the used market.

If it smells like a previously flooded car then it probably is.

Who’s the U-boat captain?” is one of the better lines from Risky Business, the Tom Cruise film partly about a drowned Porsche 928. I may dream about buying a damp early 1980s Porker, but, a lot of people have lost their cars to floodwater recently, which means we need to be on the lookout for recently submerged used cars.

For the fully insured motorist, there isn’t much of a problem. They get a payout, which may or may not be satisfying, and a loan car (I recently enjoyed negotiating that one) while their old car goes into the salvage system.

That is all very clear, as you can then find clearly identified flood-damaged cars at specialist companies. Category Bs are breakers, Cat Cs are salvage and Cat Ds are repairable. Some companies even provide repair estimates, which are rarely less than a couple of grand. You can even bid online for them.

With an hour to go in an online auction, I’m looking at a flooded late model 2005 MG ZR 105, which is up to £50. The pictures are pretty good and it looks dusty rather than damp inside, with some doodles on the dashboard, but the exterior has some of the random knocks that afflict flooded cars.

Then I came across a 2004 MG ZS that was at £90, so it has been a wet old time for old rebadged Rovers. After that, there was a £40 Smart that would take a motorcycle engine transplant and had been re-registered on a Q-plate. So if you have a trailer, there are hundreds of projects to choose from. The fancy stuff (although not Porsche 928 level) included a Cat D 2012 BMW 3 Series at £10k.

What we need to steer clear of, though, are the uninsured ones that slip back into the used market after a steam clean and brush-up with no mention that water may have lapped over the sills.

A few years ago I spent some time with a buyer who had seen it all more than once, including plenty of U-boats. So while we all forget to look too closely when it’s sunny outside and we’re eager for a fresh set of wheels, what should we look for to avoid the flooded stuff?

There are obvious signs, such as tide marks around the upholstery and damp carpets, plus silt under the bonnet. A few months down the line, though, these are gone. So it’s corrosion to bolts on the seats, random bumps on the bodywork and general electrical upsets. Actually, this is starting to sound like my BMW 7 Series.

However, if it smells like a previously flooded car then it probably is. If the valet has been half-hearted, you’ll find grime in the crevices, although you could blame that trip to the seaside with the kids. As ever, be careful out there — and keep dry if you can.