Are you thinking of modifying your Jeep? That’s an excellent idea! While the brand’s vehicles are already plenty competent and capable, we don’t blame owners for seeking that extra edge from their SUV. Modifications can unlock a number of performance capabilities, especially when it comes to off-roading.
However, if you’re a bit inexperienced with the entire process, you might not be aware that some aspects of the vehicle should be avoided. Now, we’re not solely discussing your willingness to pursue “aftermarket parts,” which, despite their affordable price tags, don’t often return the investment. Rather, we’re talking about specific modifications that you should consider avoiding altogether.
We’ve compiled testimonials from several Jeep owners below. Take a look at what they had to say, and you might have some clarity when it’s time to build your custom Jeep Wrangler…
Yes, lift kits certainly make your vehicle more intimidating, and they might even improve the Jeep’s off-roading prowess (although it’s already plenty impressive as is). However, as Jeepforum.com user E_ROCK explains, these lift kits could potentially compromise other aspects of your Jeep, especially when it comes to performance. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll presumably be dishing out an unreasonable amount of money on repairs…
“When I first bought my jeep it had 31″ tire from the previous owner. I wanted to get a little more lift to take it off road. So, I bought some 6.5″ eye-to-eye shackles. It killed my caster and made my jeep wander on the highway. Even bought a 3.5″ lift kit and kept those stupid things. Then, I went SOA and still kept those stupid things, until I ripped the shackle mounts apart on the trail. Final got rid of those rock hangers by going shackle reversal with tiny front leaf mount and the shackle through the frame.”
The second major bit of advice came from jk-forum user (via Jonathon Klein of JK-Forum.com). This individual lamented their inability to wait for the most logical modification part for their Jeep. In other words, they got a bit impatient as they were modifying their Jeep and opted for some aftermarket parts that weren’t necessarily the best fit. For starters, pursuing a trusted parts manufacturer (opting for any of the brand’s applicable parts should always be your initial goal) assures that other areas of your vehicle won’t be compromised. Furthermore, as the user explained, they also didn’t have a definitive end-goal for their modified Jeep, leading to some disappointment when their project concluded:
“With all the threads on what did you do to your Jeep today? I thought a central location for all the mods we regret would also offer some insight for others in their builds. For myself the biggest regret was not having a clear enough end goal for my Jeep, impatience. Since getting parts can be a huge PITA in Canada. Settling for choice #2 when a wait of 2-3 months would have saved money and aggravation in the long run, when you buy twice, install twice and then screw around trying to sell the parts.
If you’re off-roading, you might want to make sure that you’re equipped with an extra tire. However, as jeepz.com user TrailRatedRN describes, it might be a good idea to avoid a tire carrier, as the constant rattling will presumably lead to you regretting opting for the part in the first place:
“Tire carrier. That mothereffer rattles something terrible. Can’t find any way to permanently stop it. Not so noticeable with windows in, but if I am off road and riding some rocks, esp a creek bed… OMFG!!! I can’t tell if my tire carrier is clinking or if I’ve broken something!”
Even a modification as simple as a light bar can lead to its fair share of issues. For instance, as Reddit user u/2ner1337 describes, while this inclusion might be practical, you’ll have to consider that these parts might not be produced especially well. As this Jeep owner learned, the part provided them with more musical accompaniment than actual illumination:
“Trailmaster 50″ led light bar. I followed every god damn tip and solution on the internet after install to get that thing to stop whistling. Sounded like a 40 pound harmonica mounted to the roof. Every solution I tried just changed at what speed the sound happened. And the wind buffeting was another issue on it’s own. Bought it Friday and returned it Monday, and just got some bumper lights instead.”
While we previously preached that it’s in the customer’s best interest to pursue a manufacturer-produced part, it actually might be more beneficial to opt for the aftermarket alternative. Yes, any Jeep-produced part will certainly last longer than its counterpart. However, in some situations, as WranglerForum.com user Pkai described, the inexpensive alternative option might be just as effective, and customers won’t have to dish out additional money to acquire this specific option:
“Not exactly a “mod”, but I regret paying $495 for “Max Tow” — which on a Rubicon is just the hitch and wiring. Fully knowing it was a bit pricey compared to aftermarket, I still got it because I figured a factory install just had to be cleaner and better than aftermarket…. specially with the wiring…… WRONG!
Soon after ordering, I started reading and discovered that all the wiring is plug and play and an OEM equivalent or better hitch can be had for less than 1/4 the price. For less than half the price, I could have had a much-superior-to-OEM VersaHitch… <<kicking myself in ass!!!>>
I console myself by saying that if this is the costliest mistake I ever make with this Jeep, I will be doing pretty good compared to some of the multi-thousand-dollar horror stories I’ve read.”
Ultimately, the best course of action is to refer to a mechanic or professional modifier when you’re considering customizing your Jeep. They’ll provide plenty of guidance, and they should be able to alert you of the parts that should be embraced and the parts that should be avoided.