In off-roading, damage from rocks, trees, and other obstacles is an occupational hazard, and even experienced Jeep overlanding fans can use some protective Jeep body armor now and again.
There’s good news on that front: the market is flush with options. From lightweight tape-on plastic corner guards to bolt-on bumpers and everything in-between, Jeep owners have their pick when it comes to functional off-road protection. Of course, while keeping your vehicle’s precious bodywork safe from bumps and bruises is the primary goal, it certainly doesn’t hurt that a lot of Jeep body armor also looks cool as heck. Even if you never end up needing the protection it provides, some Jeep body armor can give your whip a significant boost in the appearance department. Couple it with a lift and a tall set of aggressive tires for the ultimate off-road look.
To help you pick out the right Jeep body armor for your ride, we’ve put together a list of the best options on the market today. Here, we’re not going to fixate on the countless bumper and rock slider options out there; you can read one of our other articles – like this one about best Jeep front bumpers for your Wrangler, or this one about best Jeep rock rails and sliders – for shopping advice in those categories. Instead, we’re sticking to other, less-talked-about styles of off-road protection.
Lead photo by zeelichsheng/Shutterstock.com.
Table of contents
1. Hooke Road Windshield Frame Cover (JK/JKU)
The windshield and A-pillars on your Jeep Wrangler are rarely thought about when it comes to body protection. At just the right height to get a good whap from the odd passing tree branch, they can use some good Jeep body armor. Keep them safe from harm with this Hooke Road windshield frame cover for the Wrangler JK and JK Unlimited. This mean-looking kit is made from thick, durable 11-gauge steel with 8-inch steel mounting brackets, e-coated and then powder-coated in black to keep it safe from corrosion, and it rocks an integrated visor to block out excess sunlight. It even includes a set of four 18W LED spotlights, housed inside a built-in bezel perched atop the visor, making it a versatile off-road companion.
2. Hooke Road Cowl Corner Guards (JK/JKU/TJ/TJU)
In addition to your windshield and A-pillars, your Jeep’s cowl is also particularly vulnerable to damage, notably from the wing mirror if you happen to take off and put on the doors with any frequency. Thankfully, that can be corrected with one of the least expensive bits of Jeep body armor available: cowl corner guards. We’re fans of these ones from Hooke Road, available for the Jeep Wrangler JK and earlier TJ, including four-door Unlimited models. Why? Because they’re super light, thanks to their ABS plastic construction; they look great, with a textured pattern that does an outstanding job simulating diamond plate steel; and they’re among the least expensive Jeep upgrades you’ll ever come across. Need we say more?
3. EAG Front/Rear Fender Flares (YJ)
If you’re looking for some Jeep YJ body armor, check out these steel fender flares from EAG. They’re affordable, stylish, and well-built, with heavy-duty sheet steel construction and a stout, textured black powder-coat finish to ward off corrosion. They’re practically a must if you plan on fitting larger tires on your YJ Wrangler, but they’re a handy upgrade for unmodified YJs, too, with up to 3 inches of fender flare coverage to help keep your factory bodywork safe from harm. EAG’s rear flares even include .120”-wall steel tubing for extra protection, while the fronts incorporate a pair of LED turn signals.
4. J&O Carts Parts Rear Corner Guards (YJ)
Need still more protection for the rear of your YJ Wrangler? We absolutely love these diamond plate rear corner guards. Available in black powdercoat or polished (shown) sheet aluminum diamond plate, they look truly rugged, but they’re offered at a price so low we can scarcely believe it. Granted, buyers will have to do a bit of work to fit the panels; they ship flat, meaning they’ll need to be bent into shape, and they’re not pre-cut for things like taillights and the fuel filler door. But if you’re handy with a saw, that should hardly matter, and the manufacturer does mark where to cut for the stock fuel filler and taillight wiring locations. Simply put, these corner guards are among the least expensive, most practical Jeep YJ body armor there is.
5. Bushwacker 4-Piece Fender Flare Set (Cherokee XJ)
Even the Jeep Cherokee XJ deserves some love, and this front and rear fender flare set from Bushwacker is ready to give it. These flares are molded from UV-protected TPO plastic, with a high-quality textured finish that looks good enough to be stock, and they’re flat so they can provide maximum clearance and not interfere with suspension articulation. One of the more critical bits of Jeep Cherokee body armor you can fit, these fender flares provide up to 4.5 inches of coverage for your tires, and they fit in nicely with the factory rocker guards.
6. Affordable Off Road Steel Body Armor (Cherokee XJ)
Best for those with badly dented or rotted-out quarter panels that need more than a quick respray, this steel Jeep Cherokee body armor kit from Affordable Off Road is by far the most unusual entry on our list, but we’re including it anyway. The kit consists of 1/8” steel panels that are CNC cut and hand-formed into durable, custom body armor for the front and rear quarters of the XJ Cherokee, and fitment involves drilling into the Jeep’s factory bodywork. That alone will scare off plenty of customers, but for those who aren’t put off, this kit is the ultimate in custom Jeep Cherokee body armor, with an extra 3.5” of tire clearance and a 1 ¾” tubular rub rail on both rear quarters for some extra defense off-road.
How difficult is this Jeep body armor to install?
This depends on the model Jeep you have and which pieces you want to replace. Some pieces like the Hooke Road Cowl Corner Guards are simple to put on with the use of some double sided tape. Can you screw it up? Sure, but it’s also easy to correct. If you have an older XJ and want to replace the quarter panels with the ones from Affordable Off Road then you better have some serious mechanical and body work experience under your belt. The good thing is that there are plenty of body shops that can easily do what you’re not comfortable doing with this kind of an upgrade.
Do I really need these items for my Jeep?
This depends on where you go and how you approach your obstacles in your Jeep. In reality, when you’re taking your Jeep off road it’s almost a given that you’re going to get some scratches. Many of these items will prevent your body work from getting scratched and in some cases dented. Items like fender flares are powdercoated so they won’t scratch as easy, but they also offer additional clearance in the event you upgraded to larger tires.
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