How to Customize a Jeepby Sarah Knowlden-Thomas
It's a Jeep thing, and other vehicle owners just don't understand. When people say the word "Jeep", the iconic image of the Wrangler jumps to mind. Viewed as one of the most rugged vehicles ever built, the Jeep Wrangler was practically designed to be customized. In fact, when the U.S. government commissioned the vehicle for WWII, one of the requirements was that it had to be easily modified in the field.
Customizing Your Jeep
Choose customizations that fit your vehicle. Most Jeeps that you see on the road have been customized in some way. The most common modifications are lift kits, big tires, extra lights, and stickers. Stickers are an easy and inexpensive way to add a personal touch, but many Jeep customizations also add to the experience of driving a Jeep. Many Jeep owners enjoy taking their rigs off-road, which has lead to a world of modification options.
Install a lift kit. Almost a necessity when taking your Jeep off the beaten path, lift kits add ground clearance so that you can drive over larger obstacles, such as boulders and downed tree trunks. There are two basic kinds of lift kits--body lifts and suspension lifts. Body lifts use spacers between the frame and the body of the Jeep to lift only the body higher. Because suspension lifts actually raise the height of the vehicle frame, they require much more work and usually replace the entire suspension of the Jeep. Suspension kits also come in two basic kinds--short arm and long arm. Short-arm kits will give you more space underneath your Jeep, but a long-arm kit will give you flexibility as well. Companies like Skyjacker, Rubicon Express, Black Diamond, and Rock Krawler sell pre-designed kits to lift your Jeep. If you plan to continue driving your Jeep on the road as well, be sure to abide by the lift laws of your state.
Add bigger tires. Bigger tires serve two purposes on your Jeep: they provide added ground clearance and also have a wider surface area to help with traction and balance. Lifted Jeeps have a tendency to tip over when taking corners too quickly or tilting too far off-road. Adding bigger tires gives the Jeep a wider base to sit on. Choosing the right tires means finding the proper balance of size and stability, while providing the best traction possible.
Add custom lights. Light bars are popular customization accessories for Jeeps as well. Mounted to the top of the Jeep, above the windshield, light bars make off-roading at night a fun experience. They are for off-road use only,though: when on-road and not in use, these lights must be covered to prevent blinding oncoming traffic... which opens up another area of customization--light covers! Available in many colors, light covers can add to the overall "theme" of your Jeep.
Apply some stickers. The easiest and most personalized way to customize your Jeep is with stickers. Stickers can highlight where you've been with your Jeep, your thoughts on Jeeping, or even give a comical warning such as the upside-down sticker "If you can read this, flip me back over!" You can find a wide variety of such stickers at websites and companies including AllThingsJeep.com, Quadratec and JeepWorld.com.
- close When choosing customizations for your Jeep, always keep safety and DOT laws in mind. It can be nice to build a big rig, but keep it safe!