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May 31, 2017

Going Doorless in PA

A while back, on this blog, I posted about my difficulty (i.e., failure) removing the doors from my ’00 Jeep TJ. While attempting to do so, all four of the bolts managed to break rendering the removal of either door a much bigger project than I would like to address with the meager tools at my disposal.

Then it came to my attention, via one of the Jeep forums online that I tend to haunt frequently, that driving a Jeep without doors is in fact a violation of the vehicle or traffic code here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Specifically, section 175.77(f), as quoted below:

(f)  Doors. A vehicle specified under this subchapter shall be equipped with doors of a type used as original equipment. The doors shall open and close securely unless the vehicle has been manufactured or modified to the extent that there is no roof or side….

(The entire code is here:

That would seem to put the kibosh on my dream of running doorless.

By the way, while perusing the vehicle code, I also noted this from the same section, paragraph (b) (emphasis added):

(b)  Fenders. The wheels of a vehicle specified under this subchapter shall be equipped with fenders of a type used as original equipment. A tire may not come in contact with the body, fenders or chassis of the vehicle.

Oops! I’m running oversized 31” tires, and they do rub a bit when turned lock to lock. But let’s just ignore this topic.

Now in truth all of this is subject to the enforcement by local authorities. And, furthermore, there may be some grey space here. Note the terms “modified to the extent that there is no roof….” Jeeps were designed to be driven topless, and the doors are designed to be removable. Or so I would think. But –

I consulted my official Jeep owner’s manual. To my surprise, it is deafeningly silent on the subject of doors and the removal thereof. There is much content devoted to the process of removing and erecting the top (pages 52-91 of the 2000 Jeep Wrangler owner’s manual). And even a couple of pages on folding the windshield down over the hood. But removing the doors themselves? It’s almost as if Chrysler doesn’t want the world to know of this utility.

So – what would happen when/if I’m able to remove my doors anyway? Would I be left free to drive with the full effect of the wind on the wonderful spring – summer – autumn days here in southeastern PA? Or would I be pulled over to the side of the road by flashing blue lights, to sit in humiliation and in full view (thanks to my removable doors) of passersby as a PA law enforcement official writes me a citation?

Perhaps we shall see…

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