While Jeep upgrades are normally cause for alarm with your bank account, they don’t all have to be. We’ve found five upgrades that will cost you less than $100.
Nothing can make a good day of off-roading go bad like a hole in your oil pan or an eviscerated steering rack. Skid plates provide cheap insurance against a very expensive towing bill, and you should consider adding them to all of your Jeep’s vulnerable spots. Skid plates don’t need to be fancy or expensive; they just need to be functional and strong. Shop carefully and you should be able to get your Jeep’s undersides armored up for a very reasonable price.
Washable air filter
Cleanable air filters make all kinds of claims (increased horsepower, fewer paper filters in landfills) but their chief advantage is that they simply do a better job of filtering out grime than paper filters—and when one is wheeling in the dust and dirt, that’s especially important. And if your air filter does get clogged out on the trail, a cleaning kit is easier to store than a bunch of replacement filters. K&N is the best-known brand and one with which we have had good success. You can buy a K&N for less than a hundred bucks, but there are cheaper alternatives if you want to go that route. Regardless, it’s hard to come up with any Jeep upgrades that are simpler or more affordable.
A fire extinguisher is one of the smartest Jeep upgrades, as it can make the difference between saving your rig (or someone else’s) and standing there and watching it burn. They are cheap insurance, and along with the extinguishers themselves, you’ll also find mounts made specifically for Jeeps. Pick a design that allows the extinguisher to be easily removed, then mount it up and practice, practice, practice. (That said, use common sense and don’t be a hero — if there’s a fire and you can’t get to the extinguisher, get out and let nature take its course. Your rig can be rebuilt; you, not so much.)
Lights provide information, and when off-roading (as with most activities), more information is good. That’s why aftermarket lights make for really good Jeep upgrades. Halogen driving lights used to be all the rage, but now LEDs have taken over. They provide more light with less electricity, plus they can be had in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Mount them strategically to provide the light you need when off-roading, and be sure to keep them off when driving on the streets.
When you’re driving off-road, you have the steering wheel to hold onto — but your passengers have no such luxury. You can buy soft grab handles that attach to your Jeep’s roll bar. They ease entry and exit and allow your passengers to brace themselves, and they pose less head injury risk than a solid metal handle. They also can make getting into and out of the vehicle a little simpler for both you and your passengers.
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