Cody's Car Talk: The Jeep Wave

2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon


Warning: Owning, registering, insuring or driving a Jeep implies knowledge of and intent to abide by the following rules, regulations and guidelines. Failure to obey the letter or spirit of the rules may result in being ignored by other Jeep owners as you sit along the side of the road next to your stalled vehicle in a blizzard surrounded by Saturns, Yugos, and Hyundais.

What am I referring to? The Jeep Wave, of course, and I felt this article was due as I have noticed a lot of Jeepers out there either don't know the rules or have, dare I say it, decided to travel the unthinkable path and not follow the rules. So, without further adieu, here are the rules on the Jeep Wave, according to Jeep

Definition: It is an honor bestowed upon those drivers with the superior intelligence, taste, class and discomfort tolerance to own the ultimate vehicle-the Jeep. Generally consists of vigorous side-to-side motion of one or both hands, but may be modified to suit circumstances and locally accepted etiquette. Examples of commonly accepted modifications:

â?¢ Top off: One handed wave above the windshield or outside body tub.

â?¢ Top off during blizzard: Shiver and nod, hands may remain frozen to steering wheel.

â?¢ Southern/rural locations: Raise fingers from steering wheel, nod.

In keeping with this cardinal rule of Jeeping, categories have been established to account for each part of the equation. These categories are:

â?¢ The Jeep Waving Hierarchy: Based on the vehicle itself. Takes into account the nostalgia factor, the discomfort tolerance quotient, and the amount of owner dedication required to maintain the steed.

â?¢ The Modifying Sub-Categories: Based on what you do with your Jeep.

â?¢ Equipment Adjustments: What you build.

General Rules:

1.) All Jeepers are responsible for upholding the tradition of the Wave. Upon contact with a higher scoring Jeep, a Jeeper is required to initiate the Wave, and continue the Wave until: a. the Wave is returned; the Wave is blatantly disregarded; c. the higher scoring vehicle has passed and is out of sight.

2.) All Jeepers are required to return the wave, unless the initiating vehicle clearly has a negative (below zero) score.

3.) All Jeepers are encouraged, but not required, to return the wave to negative balance vehicles, and take any opportunity to guide and mentor them about their responsibilities to their Jeep in hopes that they can correct the error of their ways.

4.) When unsure of status or wave requirements of a particular encounter or unable to completely assess the other Jeep's score quickly enough to ensure that the proper Jeep Wave Etiquette rules are followed, immediately initiate wave.

I won't get into all the Jeep Waving Hierarchy (JWH) classifications or the Modifying Sub-Categories (MSC's), other than to say the Wave is basically a Wrangler thing. You can explore more of the distinctions yourself on But the general gist is that the older the Jeep the better and the muddier and bigger you are, the more points you get. Modifications really count, like over 31-inch tires gets you an extra two points, where stock tires get you a zero. Bugs on the windshield count a lot, and if you have them on your face and or teeth you get bonus points. If you have dogs as passengers, that's a bonus, but if you have the top on and windows up on a good day, that's negative points. Duct tape counts a lot too and battle scars can really grab you a lot of extra bonus points. You don't want things like toy chrome winches or multi-disc CD players, those are negative points. As are anything chrome that is still shiny, anything neon, and stickers for anything other than 4wd related business will really zap you, especially the 'No Fear' one. That's a -5!

You may be wondering how I know all this and why did I want to do an article on this. Well, we just got a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and according to my calculations, our current score is 81, but of course that varies depending on the day of the week and how much trail riding we have been doing, then it's higher. Go to and figure out what your score is. Catch the Wave!

The photo for this article is the author of this column, Cody E. Lerch-Facteau, getting ready for trail riding in the Jeep. Cody Facteau is a 17-year old homeschooler from East Burke. He enjoys anything to do with cars, particularly the Classics. He loves Le Mans racing, his favorite TV shows are Gearz with Stacey David and Top Gear (BBC), and hobbies are Lego's and Xbox 360. Check out Cody's Car Talk on Facebook. Career goals? What else, cars!


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