Recently E and M brought over their brand-new Hard Rock Rubicon and a lively Jeep discussion ensued, which is always awesome! M noted that their Rubicon has factory-trimmed pinch seams (also known as the pinch point, or pinch weld seam). In comparison, my 2012 JK has untrimmed pinch seams. I didn’t know anything about a pinch seam, so I decided to research! Here’s what it is – and why some people consider trimming it.
The pinch seam on a Wrangler is where the metal is welded together under the body, just in front of the rear tire on each side. Here’s a photo of my 2012 JK Wrangler Sport with the pinch seam untrimmed.
Starting in 2013, Jeep began trimming the pinch seam as a factory standard, because the untrimmed seam created enough of a protrusion that tires larger than 35” could hit it when flexed on the trails, possibly causing tire damage. Therefore, many people choose to trim their pinch seams, and one popular method appears to be utilizing a Sawzall with a metal cutting blade.
According to various Jeep forums, it appears that most of the time 35” tires and smaller are ok with an untrimmed pinch seam because, when flexing, the tires go up and slightly to the rear (thereby avoiding the pinch seam that's in front of the tire). However, if you run bigger tires or decide to play it safe, trimming your pinch seam is done fairly easily and here’s a good instructional video.
Does your Jeep have untrimmed pinch seams or have you had them trimmed? What’s your preferred method for trimming? Leave advice in the comments below!