Best Jeep Wrangler Upgrades | Build Your Own Jeep

15 Best Exterior Upgrades for Your Jeep Wrangler

Thinking of some mods to your Jeep Wrangler? Then these 15 exterior jeep upgrades must be on your list!

It’s nearly impossible to leave a Jeep stock. That’s why, even though Wranglers are exceptional from the factory, many owners choose to modify their rigs to stand out. And the exterior is one of the best places to start customizing.

Exterior upgrades for Jeep Wrangler - Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Upgrades to improve the exterior of your Jeep

Are you tired of your Wrangler blending into crowded parking lots? The following Jeep products will help your ride stand out wherever it goes.

Keep in mind, the examples provided are just that – examples. Wranglers come in a range of different models and body configurations. So, consult the seller’s website to confirm correct fitment before placing an order. Also, prices will vary depending on the vendor and date of purchase. And, if you struggle to get expert advice, connect with us at Jeep Speed Shop, home of the one and only CARB legal Jeep Hemi conversion kit!

  1. Wheels

Nothing enhances the appearance of your Jeep more than a set of custom wheels. A countless number of designs are on the market nowadays, so you can find a set that suits your ride.

Remember, different year Wranglers have different bolt patterns. Be sure to use the fitment calculator located on the seller’s website before making a purchase.

A few examples…

Let’s start with where TR Beadlock Wheels are made. For 18 years, the TR Beadlocks wheels were the only cast beadlock wheel made in the USA. However, in 2017, the foundry partner, AEWC, closed its doors. 

In an effort to keep TR Wheels made here in the US, TR Beadlock poured a huge amount of effort and money into a motorsports/powersports foundry in the Midwest, but ultimately they were not able to meet the volume and quality requirements. Having exhausted the last possible domestic casting situation, TR Beadlock teamed up with MW Wheel. MW, operating as Weld Wheel, has a long history of US wheel manufacturing and also has an international footprint in the wheel manufacturing business. With MW, TR Beadlock moved their HD Series wheel to FlowFormed technology, which offers forged rim performance in a cast wheel. The rim is formed overseas and they do the machining along with all beadlock ring manufacturing in house at their facility in Mount Vernon WA, making them the only FlowFormed extreme duty off road wheel available.  

To increase the mobility of a wheeled vehicle operating in soft terrain such as sand, mud, or snow, it is necessary to increase the footprint of the tires. This is achieved by decreasing the tire’s air pressure. But, this mobility can only be achieved if the wheels are equipped with a tire bead locking device. Hutchinson’s wheel design allows the use of internal beadlocks, keeping them street legal and not compromising their performance.

The Hutchinson off-road recreation wheels are marketed under the brand Rock Monster™ wheels, and are available for most popular off-road vehicles.

  1. Fender flares

If you want to protect your Jeep from rocks and debris, and enhance its appearance at the same time, consider a set of fender flares. Also, if you’ve cut your fenders to fit bigger tires, flares will help cover up the evidence, giving your ride a more polished look.

A few examples…

Genright Off Road – https://genright.com/ 

These are the newest generation Aluminum 4″ Tube Fender Flares from GenRight Off Road for the Jeep JK.

GR designed the shape of the fenders to maximize clearance and protection making them perfect for rock crawling through the Boulders or Trees on your favorite trail.

Want to go with bigger tires? They have also opened the wheel well to better clear those new bigger tires you want to buy too.

Features:

  • Made from strong, light-weight 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Bolts on in same location as stock flare.
  • 4″ wide flare (same as stock).
  • Bigger wheel opening (up and rearward) to prevent tire rubbing.
  • 1/8″ thick laser cut and CNC bent plates and tubes will hold up out on the trail.
  • Built from rugged 1-1/2″ diameter x .120″ wall tubing
  • Follow this link to see more features

MCE Fenders – https://www.mcefenders.com/ 

MCE fenders blend the aggressive, true flatty fender look of the original Jeep to today’s JK. Their JK fenders also provide 2 inches of extra tire clearance, allowing a larger tire to be installed on your vehicle – up to a 35 inch tire with no suspension lift. The MCE-spec TPO plastic will not sag or crack, is UV-stable, and flexible enough to absorb an impact on the trail and save your Jeep’s body. The single wall construction allows the fender to bend and absorb impact then bounce back to the original shape. A common problem with rigid metal fenders is transferring energy to the Jeep’s body, and denting the panel the flare is attached to.

And get this, MCE Fenders’ material is so strong, their fenders have a no fine print Lifetime warranty to the original buyer against cracking. Cold weather, off-road use, etc. does not affect this warranty. Gen II fenders are black in color with an OE-like surface texture, while the Gen III flares are glossy smooth with a realistic carbon fiber look (Flexible Carbon Fiber). 

The OE inner splash guard/liner is also retained on the front fenders. MCE fenders are easy and painless to install, and all stainless hardware is included. 

All JK OE-Width Fenders now come with DOT approved LED side marker/clearance lights installed in the side of the fender.

Details:

  1. Off-road lighting

These days, all kinds of off-road lighting are available. From LED bars to off-road driving lights and custom headlights, there’s a wide array of Jeep auto parts that enhance appearance and improve visibility.

Baja Designs – https://www.bajadesigns.com/

Baja Designs is one of the best providers in off-road lighting solutions, from their modern motorcycle and off-road LED lights, to the Dual Sport Kit, their original product that aided in making off-road motorcycling minimally street legal. Their knowledge of motorcycles’ electrical capabilities, along with their innate passion for racing and anything on wheels, led their engineers to develop the first-ever HID motorcycle racing light.

BD’s LED lights for on-road and off-road vehicles are the highest-performing LED lights on the market today. Baja Designs was the first company to develop a forward projecting LED light bar, which was introduced and used in the 2005 Baja 1000. You can say that revolutionizing industry leading LED and Laser off-road lights is their passion and BD’s products are 100 percent dedicated to being the brighter, bolder, and better solution for automotive lighting.

Know of any other LED off-road lighting you want to share? Please add to Comments below.

  1. Bumpers

Custom bumpers give your Wrangler a more aggressive look, while also providing a mounting point for equipment like winches and tow hooks. Additionally, a set of heavy-duty bumpers protects the body of your Jeep during off-road excursions.  

A few examples…

Genright Off Road – https://genright.com/

GR just finished a new bumper for the JK! This Low Profile Winch Guard version re-positions the bar to be more proportional to the recessed winch.  Not only does it look better, but will provide better protection to your winch in the event of an impact. The bar is also now directly above the tow points, with gussets to reinforce the bar.

Here is a list of features:

  • Winch is recessed down between frame rails for better airflow to the radiator.
  • Lower profile bar, to better protect the winch.
  • Extremely light aluminum construction.
  • Based on our hi-clearance stubby JK bumper.
  • Greatest protection for your winch on the market.
  • Can be painted or powder coated or left in natural aluminum finish.
  • Will not rust or corrode.
  • Best balance between strength and weight!
  • Laser Cut and formed from 3/16″ thick 6061 Aluminum Alloy.
  • Unsurpassed quality and hand TIG Welded. 
  • Follow this link to see more features

Hanson OffRoad – https://www.hansonoffroad.com

The first thing to notice about the shorter width of the JKSL1502-P: JK stubby fender bar front bumper is that it provides full tire exposure for maximum approach angles. This stout design allows for maximum wheel clearance and front-end protection. It’s handcrafted from 3/16” cold-rolled steel. Multiple angles are used in the construction for optimum approach and departure angles. The 2” dropped winch deck accommodates most winches and allows for better airflow to the radiator as well as a lower center of gravity – these multiple angles and the dropped winch deck combined also give the bumper superior strength. Click here to read more about this Jeep JK stubby fender bar for the front bumper.  

  1. Winches

A winch is an essential piece of equipment for off-road enthusiasts. Having one onboard helps ensure that, when the going gets tough, you’ll be able to extract your Jeep from deep mud and other challenging situations. 

Winches come in a variety of configurations. Factors such as load capacity, line length and motor power, should be taken into account when making a selection. While lighter-duty winches may cost just a few hundred dollars, more powerful units can cost upwards of $1,000.

A few examples…

An example of an affordable winch is the Smittybilt 97495 XRC. The unit carries a modest price tag of under $400, yet provides a 9,500 lb. load capacity. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Warn 89120 ZEON from WARN Industries that carries a price tag over $1,300, while boasting a 12,000 lb. pull capacity. The Smittybilt 98510 X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch, which is priced at around $461, may also be worth checking out.

  1. Doors No doors

Wranglers come with removable doors from the factory. You can capitalize on this feature by adding a set of easy-to-install custom doors. A wide variety of options are available, many of which replace the OEM sheet metal with a minimalistic tubing structure. The design improves visibility and helps you get in touch with the outdoors.

A few examples…

If you’ve got a JK, you may want to check out a set of Rugged Ridge 11509.10 tube doors. A set of two (for the front) will set you back about $350. JL owners, on the other hand, can roll with a set of EAG Safari tubular doors. The EAG doors come in at about $400 as well. JK owners looking to grab a little more attention can opt for the EAG Tubular Spyder Web Doors priced at around $400.

  1. Rocker guards

Your Jeep Wrangler is one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make. Protect the body from rocks and debris by installing a set of rocker guards (aka rock sliders). The guards fit under your rig, between the front and rear wheel wells, and act as a shield against rocks and other rubble.

A few examples…

Hanson OffRoad – https://www.hansonoffroad.com/

JKRP2-P: JK 2-Door RockSliders and JKRP4-P: JK 4-Door RockSliders

Constructed of 3/16” cold rolled steel the JKRP2-P and JKRP4-P rocker guards are formed to protect the sides of your vehicle while providing a strong design for bottom impact. The smooth bottom causes no loss in ground clearance and allows for easy sliding over obstacles. The frenched-in steps provide good footing in all weather conditions. This rugged handcrafted construction is finished in a black semi-gloss powder coat.

TNT – https://www.tntcustoms.com/

Jeep JK Rock Sliders 07-Pres Wrangler JK/JKU from TNT Customs feature rugged construction and sleek styling giving the sliders a one-two punch…! TNT Custom’s rocker guards are constructed of 3/16 inch plate steel and 2X2X .188 inch square tubing. Sliders mount to the three center body mounts using rugged mounting brackets that distribute the potential loads evenly across the frame. Follow this link to read more.

  1. Roll bars

Roll bars, which cover the cabin of your Jeep, help protect occupants in the case of an accident or roll over. In addition, they look great and give your Wrangler an adventure-ready look.

Rock Hard 4×4 – https://www.rockhard4x4.com/

Got a JK? Then you may want to consider Rock Hard 4×4 – Premium. Patented. Proven.  

The Rock Hard 4×4™ idea started back in the 1980’s. Lewis Barth and son, James, had been  building off road cages and bumpers for over 20 years. In the 1990’s they were building so many cages for friends, transporting them became a challenge. Having to weld the cage in was not something everyone was able to do. The Bolt-In design was born and Rock Hard 4×4™ became the home of the “do it yourself” cage installation. The locking collar connection is proven to be as strong, if not stronger than other weld in cages. And though many competitors have tried to duplicate this design nobody has come close to the quality and superior workmanship.There is a certain level of quality you can only maintain when you build parts in the United States with family running the show. No compromise, no excuses.

  1. Grille inserts

Do you want other drivers to see a one-of-a-kind Jeep in their rearview mirror? Then consider picking up a custom grille insert. Most are easy to install and completely transform the front-end of your Wrangler. Grille inserts are budget-friendly, too, often costing less than $100.

  1. Running boards

Getting in and out of your Jeep can be tough – especially if it has a lift kit. Running boards make the climb easier, while also protecting your Wrangler’s body from rocks and debris. When you are ready to tackle running boards, here is a must consider option:

Rock Slide Engineering – https://rockslideengineering.com/

Rock Slide Engineering prides themselves on having quality products built right here in the US of A.  Their Step Slider set for Jeep Wrangler JL JK 4DR is a complete set of Step Sliders for both driver and passenger side. 

This functional step is incorporated into a true rock slider built for the mild to moderate trails and deploys when a door is opened. Read more here.

  1. Body cladding

Exterior body cladding protects your Jeep and gives it a more aggressive appearance. You can get armor to protect all parts of your Wrangler, from the cowl to the rocker panels.

A few examples…

For around $170, TJ owners can protect their rig’s rear quarters with a set of Poison Spyder Trail Corner Guards. Hardcore JK owners may want to safeguard their Jeep with RedRock 4×4 Cowl Body Armor. A set is just $21 or so. 

GenRight Off Road – https://genright.com/

GenRight Off Road Corner Guards are a great way to cover up trail damage, protect the factory sheet metal in the rear of your Jeep, or simply upgrade your corner protection. Made 100% in the USA, GR’s corner guards are available in Steel or Aluminum, Standard Wheelbase or Stretch, or choose from their Corner Guard Blanks to cut to fit your needs – click here to see GR’s different options for your JK.

  1. Custom tops

One of the coolest features Jeep Wranglers offer is a removable top. But you don’t have to stick with the factory design – you can upgrade to a custom product. A wide range of tops, such as mesh, cargo net and bikini are available.

A few examples…

The Bestop Trektop NX Soft Top provides a unique, fastback look for JL models. Pricing is around $1,300. A popular offering for JK models is the Bestop Supertop NX Soft Top that costs about $1,200. Finally, the Rugged Ridge Bowless XHD Soft Top, which is priced around $400, is available to TJ owners.

  1. Cargo racks and roof racks

Bring everything you need to the trail with a cargo rack or roof rack. There are products you can mount to your tow hitch, roof – even your spare tire – to improve carrying capacity.

A few examples:

The Barricade Roof Rack, which is made of durable steel tubing, is available for TJ models. Cost is around $400. For the Jeep JK, EAG makes a cargo basket with wind deflector for about $380. The affordable Smittybilt 76713 SRC Roof Rack is available for TJs as well. Pricing is approximately $256. 

  1. Custom hoods

A custom hood gives your Wrangler a performance-oriented look. Some hoods are functional, too, thanks to integrated openings that provide fresh air to your engine. Steel cowl hoods are always in style if you want to go with a timeless upgrade.

A few examples:

For around $570, JK owners can enhance the look of their Jeep with a DV8 Off-road Heat Dispersion Vented Hood. A similar DV8 hood is available for the JL for approximately $750. TJ drivers can upgrade their existing hood with a Poison Spyder Hood Louver kit. Cost is about $170. 

  1. Skid plates

Protect your Jeep’s undercarriage and enhance its appearance by adding skid plates. You might not think anyone notices what’s under your vehicle but they do, and skid plates make your chassis stand out. A gas tank skid plate is one of the best ways to add protection to your undercarriage. 

Another good investment is TNT Customs muffler skid plate that runs around $465 and protects the exhaust muffler of your 07-11 Jeep Wrangler  JK – both 4-door and 2-door models. 

Start to build your own Jeep today

Stop living with a stock Jeep – transform your Wrangler into a dream machine today. With a little elbow grease and ingenuity, you can build your own Jeep into a unique off-road warrior.

All of the Jeep auto parts mentioned complement the work we do here at Jeep Speed Shop. Our team offers a CARB legal Jeep V8 Hemi swap, alongside other motor swaps and performance upgrades

Give us a call at (707) 338 – 3154 or send us a message to learn about other ways to improve  your Wrangler!