Whether you’re rocking a brand-new JL or hitting the trails in an older JK, there’s a good case to be made for bolting on a new Jeep Wrangler hood as part of your build. In addition to the improved and more aggressive style, many of these replacements do a better job of evacuating heat from under the hood than anything cranked out of the factory in Ohio.
The options are nearly as varied as the preferences of owners, so be sure the unit at which your looking will fit your generation of Wrangler before plunking down the cash. We’ve included some options for Jeep Wrangler hood latch choices, since there are more than a few readers who are happy with a stock appearance but want to add a quick dose of personality to their rig.
Lead photo courtesy Pan_photo/Shutterstock
Table of contents
1. Editor's Choice: Smittybilt Stingray Vented Hood
Built to fit Wranglers of the so-called JK era (2007 – 2018, for those new to the scene), this hood from well-known aftermarket company Smittybilt is said to be a near-perfect replica of the Mopar Hard Rock 10th Anniversary hood that was so sought after when new. It comes complete with washer nozzles, windshield bumpers, and the vents shown in this picture. As with any body panel that’s shipped in this black ecoat primer coating, you gotta paint it lest the thing start to rust very quickly. Reviews are quite good, though some customers reported the need for a bit of fiddling to get it fitted just right and some concerns about minor manufacturing defects. Speaking to the latter, one person decided to have a pro shop fix the issues before painting and was pleased with the result.
2. Best JK Alternate: Topfire Hood Replacement for Jeep Wrangler
Compatible with JK and JKU (that’s the four-door Unlimited model, noob), this unit offers the chance to swap out your original Jeep hood for this great-looking molded one that features a functional air scoop designed to help with engine cooling. In fact, the builder boasts that ten different vent styles are included, offering great breathability. It has a finished metallic luster said not to corrode or rust. It is apparently tough enough to withstand light impacts but understand the primer on this hood is relatively thin. To avoid the hood rusting thanks to scratched paint, the seller recommends customers paint this hood after delivery. Comments from the peanut gallery seem to back up this suggestion. All holes are aligned to factory fittings, so there’s no need to break out the power drill; it uses existing bolts and hinges.
3. Best Vented Hood: DV8 Offroad Vented Heat Dispersion Hood
If you liked the look of a cowl induction hood on your Fox-body Mustang back in the day, this is a great option for you. From the crew at a company called DV8, this JK Wrangler hood bulges like a flared nostril to add a dose of visual drama to your Jeep. Designed with vented heat dispersion technology, it’ll promote high-flow air circulation underhood to assist better engine cooling. Manufactured from precision cut and molded stamped steel, this sturdy and lightweight replacement hood is coated with a rust inhibitor and ready for pre-paint prep. In a remarkable bit of foresight, the seller advises there may be a requirement for adjustments (including shaping and dent corrections) to make them fit properly prior to paint. This is backed up by reviews in the comments.
4. Best Hood Latches: Rugged Ridge Hood Catch Kit
Having been in the Jeep aftermarket game for years, this company is well-known for providing gearheads with quality products. Having earned a 4.8 out of 5-star rating from well over 2000 customers, these aluminum hood latches are no exception. Priced just over a hundred bucks, they are available in black (textured or not) and silver, depending on the look you seek to achieve. The durable, & aesthetically pleasing aluminum hood catches are proportional to the vehicle and offer a direct fit, reducing hood flutter. Installation hardware is included and is billed as a a stronger direct replacement for the OE catches that degrade and fail after years of use.
5. Best Hood Latch Alternate: Oritech Hood Lock Engine Hood Buckles
Like the above units but looking for all the world like something out of a Terminator or Star Wars movie, these hood latches will add a tremendous amount of ‘look-at-me’ to your rig and are very likely to be unique amongst your group. Offered in a variety of colors – plus there are matching door handles – these Jeep JK hood latches are designed to fit rigs of that era. Billed as a direct replacement with no drilling required, they are a cost-effective way to make your Jeep stand out from the crowd (especially if you go for a contrasting color). Reviews from real-world customers are largely positive, with more than a couple of people noting the price excuses so issues they experienced with the product.
How do you replace a Jeep Wrangler Hood?
Very carefully, to be frank. If this is your first go around at replacing a large body panel like the hood, try and enlist the help of a buddy to make sure you’re aligning the thing correctly before torquing down the hinge bolts. Speaking of it is important to follow all directions to the letter; after all, this thing will be the first item to try and climb its way through your windshield should your slapdash installation fail to secure every single nut and bolt. Seek out assistance from online video sources as well.
Is an aftermarket Jeep Wrangler hood as good as the factory hood?
At risk of not having seen every single aftermarket hood in existence, we have to say the answer is … it depends. This is one item in which one gets what they pay for, since this is not a small product. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Even some major companies have gotten rough feedback from customers complaining of receiving hoods that have been dented and damaged, leading to the need for modification in order for the thing to fit properly.
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