The Jeep Wave



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 your 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.



The Jeep Wave: 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:

Top off: One handed wave above windshield or outside body tub.
Top off during blizzard: Shiver and nod, hands may remain frozen to steering wheel.
Southern/rural locations: Raise fingers from steering wheel, nod.

It’s not what you buy, it’s what you build and what you do with it.

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

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.
The Modifying Sub-categories: Based on what you do with your Jeep.
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
  • b. The Wave is blatantly disregarded
  • c. The higher scoring vehicle has passed by and is out of sight

2. All Jeepers are required to return the Wave, unless the initiating vehicle clearly has a negative (below 0) score.

3. All Jeepers are encouraged, but not required, to return the Wave to negative balance vehicles, and take any opportunity presented to guide and mentor them about their responsibilities to their Jeeps in the 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.

“When in doubt, WHIP IT OUT!”

First, the Jeep Waving Hierarchy (JWH):


Category A Pre-CJ (Willys/Kaiser/Army MJ/etc) 30
Category B Pre-AMC CJ 27
Category C Other CJ 25
Category D Commando 20
Category E YJ 16
Category F TJ 15
Category G Cherokee, Wagoneer 10
Category H All other Jeeps 5
Category I All other 4WD vehicles EXCEPT yuppie Explorers 0
Category J All other vehicles 0

The Modifying Sub-Categories (MSCs):

(What you do with it)


MSC Guidelines:

  1. MSCs must be considered during all Jeep encounters, and wave patterns must be adjusted accordingly.

  2. MSC 5 is the median – the accepted norm.

  3. MSCs from 1 through 4 will increase score as listed.

  4. MSCs 6 and 7 will decrease score as listed.


MSC 1 Top off; vehicle, driver, and all occupants covered with mud +30
MSC 2 Top partially off; vehicle and some occupants covered with Mud +20
MSC 3 Top on; vehicle covered with mud +10
MSC 4 Top off during snow, sleet, hail, or heavy rain +5
MSC 5 Somewhat dirty 0
MSC 6 Obviously recently washed, but immediately re-muddied a little -10
MSC 7 Clean, dry, unscratched, untested -30

Equipment Adjustments

(What you build)


Consideration must be given to the current mechanical condition of the vehicle, including all modifications for trailworthiness, comfort, appearance, and spouse-appeasal. These are known as Equipment Adjustments (EAs). EAs are a complicated category, and often difficult to appraise under certain conditions (passing head-to-head at 60 mph, when covered with mud, etc) but must be used to modify score when feasible. If a vehicle is so covered with mud that you are unable to ascertain any of the EAs, you MUST assume that the EAs, when combined with the MSC 1 adjustment, would place the vehicle in a higher scoring position than any non-MSC 1 Jeep, and immediately initiate the wave. Otherwise, EAs will adjust score as follows:



Stock, Pre-CJ, Working Condition +2
Stock, 8-cyl +2
Stock, 6-cyl +1
Stock, 4-cyl 0
Replaced, 8-cyl +3
Replaced, 6-cyl (replacing 4-cyl) +2
Replaced, 6-cyl (replacing 6-cyl) 0
Replaced, 6-cyl (replacing 8-cyl) -1
Replaced, 4-cyl -1

Drivetrain Modifications:


Improved internal mechanical parts (crank/cam/etc) +2 each
Upgraded Transmission: NV4500 or Turbo400 +3, All others +2
Upgraded Transfer Case +2
Improved exterior mechanical parts (headers/manifolds/pumps/filters/etc) +1 each
Stone stock in a pre-1970 vehicle +3 (for nostalgia and historical analysis)
All Comfort enhancements removed for more power +2



Stock or unremarkable 0
Original Tires on Pre-CJ +2
Slightly oversized (up to 31″) +1
Over 31, with other appropriate mods +2
Any size, currently covered with mud +2
Working tires > 31″ with original donut spare -2
Low-profile -10



Stock, Pre-CJ +2 if driver can still walk after an hour in the saddle
Body lift +1 / inch
Suspension lift +2 / inch
Spring-Over Lift +3
High-quality shocks +2
Lowered -20

Other accessories/conditions:


Winch, heavy-duty, obviously used +2
Winch, heavy-duty, use unclear +1
Other winch, obviously used +1
Little, chrome-covered, toy winch -1
Lockers +2
Upgraded axles +1
Upgraded transfer case +1
Each chrome accessory currently shiny -1
Each neon accessory -2
Fire extinguishers +1
Block and Tackle, anchors, etc +2
Ropes, straps, tow chains +1
Tow Hooks +1
Nerf Bars/Rock Rails, used and scarred +2
Nerf Bars, shiny, no scars -1
Heavy duty bash/skid plates +1
Other protective plating (diamond plate, etc) +2 if scarred, -2 if unscarred
Extra fuel tanks/oversize fuel tanks +1
External Gear Carrying Rack +1
Multi disc-CD Player -1
More than one subwoofer -1 each
First Aid Kit +1
Backpack, food, emergency gear (just in case) +2
On-board air compressor +1
On-board Welder +2
Girly, shiny chrome center caps -1
Krylon home-made paint job +1 (for realizing it’s just going to happen again)
Blackout Headlight Covers -1
Any little flippy interior vanity mirrors -1
Children in vehicle +1 each (for proper training/indoctrination), +2 if muddy, immediate correction if not belted in.
EARNED trip stickers/badges/etc +1 each
Unearned stickers/badges/etc -2 each
MSC 1 vehicle in corporate lot sharing with neighbor vehicles +1 per vehicle decorated
Correct mental attitude, seen or proven +3
Windshield down +1, +2 if raining or snowing
Bugs left on face/teeth as evidence of recent windshield down driving +1, +2 if more than a week old
CB radio or other communication tool (for emergency only) +1
Hi-Lift Jack +2
Flexible caulking to fill leaks and body damage +2
Dogs as passengers, properly secured +1 (sharing the joy of Jeeping)
Bringing a new Jeeper into the Family +5
Extra Lighting, used for night-wheeling, not pastel or neon colored +1 each

Battle Scars:


Mashed hood, top, etc., obviously from roll-over +3
Holes above glove box where passenger ripped grab-bar out +3
Heavily gouged rocker panels +2
Bloody seats +2
V-bent front bumper from being pulled out of that REALLY bad one +2
Scarred sides from those mis-judged rocks +1
Any small parking lot dent/scratch still identifiable -1
Other accessories bent, folded, mangled or mutilated +1, EXCEPT: See above, but said item is owned by your spouse: +2
No scars whatsoever -3 (Unless Pre-CJ restored, then +3)
New body due to rust only -5 (unless a rescue, see discussion below)
New body due to damage Previous damage points carry over (see discussion below)
Fire Damage (bubbled paint, singed seats, etc) +2
Limbs, Shrubs, etc attached well enough to remain at highway speed +1 each
Any rescue in the Jeep’s past requiring the use of snowmobiles +1
Any rescue in the Jeep’s past requiring the use of boats +2
Any rescue in the Jeep’s past requiring the use of tracked vehicles +2
Scars on the driver – MUST be Jeep-related, may require proof +1
Each Jeep Rescue performed +1