How To Restore A “1979 Jeep Cherokee Chief To Like New Condition – With Pictures!”

1979 Jeep Cherokee Chief

I know a guy who bought a 1979 Jeep Cherokee Chief about two years ago. He paid $7,000 for it on the second hand market and has put nearly 10,000 miles on it. Because of the condition it was in when he bought it, he decided not to drive it very much and just kept it in his garage. 

Recently, though, he decided to get it out and drive it a few hundred miles to a car show. He got it running great and was starting to get it detailed when he discovered the brakes needed to be replaced. He took it to a shop to have them done and they gave him an estimate of $2,000 to fix the brakes. 

He told the guy at the shop, “No way. Those brakes were never bad. I drove this car all over Texas and they never gave me any trouble.”

The mechanic replied, “Well then, I guess we can’t do the job for you for only $2,000.”

So my friend said, “Fine.

What if I told you it was easy to restore a “1979 Jeep Cherokee Chief to like new condition”? Would you believe me? It’s true! At least, it is if you have the right tools. And, in this guide, we are going to help you get the job done. 

13 Easy Steps to Restore Your 1979 Jeep Cherokee Chief

1. Wash The Car (Prevent The Rust!)

One way to help your Jeep retain its value is to keep it clean. However, there are certain things you can do to “honeymoon” your car before you wash it that will make it easier to keep clean. Things like waxing your car prior to washing it will make it more difficult for the dirt and grime to stick.

2. Vacuum The Interior And Clean The Exterior

3. Detach The Mud Flaps (And Other Junk)

A mud flap is a strip of plastic or rubber attached to the back of a car that protects the paint on the underside of the vehicle from being scratched. The mud flap is usually about an inch or two (2-5 cm) wide and runs the length of the entire rear end of the vehicle. The point of this illustration is to make the analogy clear.

4. Apply Wax To The Wheels

It’s a good idea to use “wax on the wheel” when you are trying to get a car back into perfect running condition. If you have a bunch of squeaks and rattles, apply some wax to the wheel that has the most noise and then give it a good spin. Once the wheel is shiny and silent, remove the excess wax. This will help you identify and address squeaks and rattles in the early stages, when they’re easy to fix and cheap to replace.

5. Detach And Display The Rubber Floor Mats

When someone sees a car that’s been well taken care of, they will pay more attention to the condition of the car than the actual make and model. That’s because they’ll be subconsciously comparing the “package” of the car with the package of the car they have or want to have. Rubber floor mats are one of the easiest and most affordable ways to add a “used car look” to your ride. They don’t have to be replaced often, they go with the vehicle, and they make the interior of the car more comfortable and safe.

6. Replace The Air Filter

Did you know that your car’s air filter affects gas mileage? It’s true. When the air filter gets clogged with dust, dirt, pollen, and other particles, it affects the amount of oxygen your car’s engine can intake, which in turn lowers your gas mileage. Of course, since most of us don’t change our car’s air filter ourselves, there’s really no reason to worry about it getting too dirty. However, if you find your car is running poorly or you are experiencing increased gas mileage problems, changing the air filter will dramatically improve your car’s performance.

7. Change The Oil And Oil Filter

Another oil change suggestion is to replace the oil and oil filter. Changing the oil in your car every 3,000 miles can prevent major engine damage and also help you avoid having to spend hours waiting in the garage while the job gets done.

8. Give The Brakes A Full Inspection

Don’t just drive until the wheels start to slip. Instead, stop and inspect the condition of the tires, brakes, and all other parts of your vehicle that could cause problems. If there are any signs that something is wrong, take the car in for repair right away. That way you won’t have to keep driving and worrying about a breakdown that might turn into a disaster.

9. Give The Transmission A Squeeze

If the car had an internal combustion engine, you would turn the key, give it gas, and the engine would turn over and start. That’s what happens when you give the “transmission”  a “squeeze.” The transmission is what makes the car go. It is the agreement between you  and the transmission. Once you have communicated everything the transmission needs to know to make the deal happen, the car will move. That’s when you give the car gas.

10. Check The Spark Plugs And Cap Them All

11. Tighten All Loose Connections

The connections were being tightened until they were almost like a steel cable. Then came the test. The test was simple. Just to be sure all the connections were as tight as they could be, the instructor said he’d give Shannon a signal. Shannon had to react immediately if the connections were as tight as they could be. If they weren’t as tight, then the signal would be ignored and the instructor would say the connections were too loose. And so on. After three rounds of this test, the connections were so tight, the instructor said they couldn’t be tighter. So, they were. And that’s how you know when you are getting everything connected together just right.

12.Give Everything A Final Lookover

After you’ve finished washing your car, give everything a final lookover. What did you forget? Did anything get overlooked? Be sure all the items you want to remain visible are still where they belong and are in place. If not, go back and put them back where they belong.

13. Drive It Away!

 Drive it away under the sun.


To restore a “1979 Jeep Cherokee Chief to like new condition”, all you had to do was remove the carpet, vacume up the dust, wash the dash, apply a coat or two of paint, replace the tires and then drive off into the sunset. It really is that simple. However, it takes more than just doing the obvious to make something work. You also have to know what you are doing.