Off-roading enthusiasts might be familiar with the power a Jeep Wrangler allows them on the road. When you sit behind the wheel, you can truly attest to the saying that "fun starts where the road ends."
Owning a Jeep Wrangler and driving it far and wide into the most difficult terrain is an unexplainable feeling, especially if you are an adrenaline junky. However, just like any other vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler could leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere in case you get caught in an emergency situation.
Therefore, it is essential to have the right tools at your disposal. In the following paragraphs, we will look at some of the tools every jeep wrangler owner needs.
Tow Points and Recovery Gear
The chances are you don't leave the city in your Jeep Wrangler very often. However, having tow points and recovery gear is always a good idea. Sometimes, your friend's vehicle might need to be towed, or you might get stuck on the trail. With the right gear, the likelihood of a vehicle coming out of a problematic situation increases.
When it comes to recovery gear, tools can range from a chain and tow strap to a rope strong enough to pull the weight of your vehicle. Regardless of the build and model of your vehicle or where you are heading to, it is better to have some form of recovery gear in your Jeep Wrangler at all times. Idealistically, a 30-foot nylon recovery strap should be a part of your recovery gear.
There is a reason a 30-foot strap is recommended. This length allows you a lot of room to stretch and provides you with a high tow capacity while making sure the gear won't fail. Another thing you must have within your recovery gear is a synthetic rope.
Some people use a cable or chain, which is fine. The only problem is that cables and chains can snap easily, and when that happens, there is a good chance of someone getting hurt. On the flip side, when a synthetic cable or tow line snaps, it won't hurt anyone standing nearby.
The next thing you need in your recovery gear is a tow line. In the case of an emergency, tow lines can easily be attached to your vehicle. However, the job becomes much easier with D-rings on the front and rear end of your Jeep. When installing tow points or D-rings, don't skimp on the budget.
Tow points and D-rings must be sturdy, even if you have to pay a few extra bucks for them. With a cheap D-ring or a tow point, you can hurt yourself or someone else while seriously damaging your Jeep wrangler.
There are a few companies out there that make soft shackles that are stronger, safer and lighter. As with any off road rig, the lighter the better. As builders, we always struggle with weight versus benefit when it comes to add-ons.
All of us have seen a lifted jeep at least once. These jeeps are mounted with massive lights, and some people might think that it is a waste of money. In reality, aftermarket lights are crucial for a jeep wrangler. However, it is essential to know that light bars are illegal in a city. They are designed specifically for off-roading purposes.
Let's suppose you are on a trail somewhere in the middle of a forest. It can be extremely tricky for you to navigate. However, with extra lights at your disposal, you can illuminate your surroundings and avoid the possibility of accidents.
Furthermore, before you decide to pitch your camp in the middle of the wilderness, you will need sufficient light to investigate the surrounding. A lamp or a flashlight won't suffice since you are in an unfamiliar area where hungry carnivores may live. In these situations, the light bars or spots on your Jeep can come in handy.
Before you decide to install light bars on all four sides of your jeep wrangler, let's talk about some intelligent aftermarket light upgrades. Most stock headlights are good enough, so replacing them with something more substantial is better.
Moreover, you can include some more miniature spotlights on the sides, thus illuminating any blind spots. Then comes the light bar, which can either be installed over the hood or the windshield. It is up to you how extravagant you want to get with your lighting.
Remember that with the addition of mega lights, radios, CBs, onboard air, welders and winches, your power supply will probably need to be upgraded. This could include improved batteries and alternator. I'm not a big fan of upgrading one with out the other. I've seen stock alternators get smoked with Optima batteries.
Whatever you do, you must always follow the DOT laws. Don't ask how I know; just saying....
A lot of people might argue over this. However, the truth is that the factory jack isn't simply good enough, especially when you are working on your Jeep on the trails or flexing the suspension.
What you truly need is a high-lift jack. Contrary to popular belief, a high-lift jack isn't just a jack for your Jeep Wrangler but a multipurpose tool. You can use it to winch, clamp, push, pull, and the list goes on.
The high-lift jacks can be complex and straightforward at the same time, depending on how you utilize them. High-lift jacks come in various types, and multiple accessories can be attached to them, depending upon your off-roading needs.
A high-lift jack is a simple but effective tool that will keep you moving and prevent you from being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Next up is the body armor for your Jeep Wrangler. As the name suggests, it is designed to keep your Jeep Wrangler in the best condition possible. When it comes to body armor or protection, there are so many ways you can provide it for your jeep wrangler. However, let's take a look at some of the easiest ways you can do so.
It is better to get rid of the factory side steps. You can replace them with some heavy-duty tubular rock guards, anything made from hard metal. When you are on rocky terrain, the rock guards will be the ones to endure the abuse, rather than the 18 gauge steel body.
You can also invest in some magnetic body armor panels. These panels are easy to install and retrieve. They protect your Jeep's body from scratches from brush and tree limbs.
Other fabrications for protecting the Jeep's body include tube fender flares and rear corner armor. Stock fender and fender flares are good, but they don't provide optimum protection. What you can do is replace them with aftermarket fenders and fender armor made out of high-quality aluminum or steel.
Lastly, upgrading the skid plates on the rig's underside would be best. Most Jeep Wranglers come with a good skid plate, but you can always upgrade the quality when adding an aftermarket skid plate.
Unless you have more money than brains, it's a good idea to upgrade your armor. The only exception to this is if you're bored and are really good at body work. If not, you'll become good in no time.
Even though jumper cables can get a little pricey, they are worth the investment. You will be amazed at the number of people with power issues on the trail. With the shade tree mechanic, sometimes wiring up aftermarket equipment leads to constant on accessories installed incorrectly.
There might be a situation where your vehicle may not start due to a drained battery and you need an extra jump. It happens to the best of us; me included.
While battery pack jumpers are available in various forms, the best ones come with an air compressor for tires, built-in lights, and battery jumpers. Sure, these charging systems can be a little costly, but they are worth it if you don't want to rely on anything else.
Moreover, jumper cables these days are handy, and unlike their big and heavy ancestors, they can fit into a pouch. They can be easily stored anywhere in your Jeep. So, if you are new to Jeep Wranglers, make sure to add some good jumper cables to your toolkit.
Spare Tires and Tire Repair Kit
The best thing about Jeeps is that they come with whole-size spare tires, which is a better upgrade than others if you're on a budget. It is alright to drive around without a spare tire, as long as you are in the city. However, when you choose to off-road, you can't make the unforgivable mistake of taking off without a spare tire.
Let's suppose carrying a spare tire isn't in the cards. What will you do then? The answer is simple. What you need is a tire repair kit. Mending a tire with a repair kit is a hectic process, but a repair kit is an excellent alternative to a spare tire if you don't have one already.
If you run without a spare, you'll need a repair kit, onboard air compressor, tire spoons, and possibly a ratchet strap to reseat the bead. If you can afford true beadlock wheels, even better. Another option would be three piece (H1 Hummer) wheels with aftermarket centers.
If you plan to invest in tire upgrades, it is better to get a five-tire set. The spare wheel must also be the same size as other tires. Driving around with a 31-inch spare tire, while others are 37 inches, looks ridiculously awkward. Also, it can affect your drive line and throw something out if you have to use it. Envision transfer case and axle carrier explosion.
Next up, we have the fire extinguisher. Driving your Jeep Wrangler in the city without a fire extinguisher isn't much of a problem. However, on the trails driving without a fire extinguisher is pretty dumb.
Just like any other vehicle with a gas tank, your Jeep Wrangler can also catch fire. A fire extinguisher is your first line of defense in preventing something utterly horrid. Most fires will generally start as electrical and turn flammable soon after.
By carrying a fire extinguisher, you do an excellent service to yourself, the people with you, your Jeep, and the environment you are in. There are different types of fire extinguishers available in the market for you choose from, and each of them serves its unique purposes.
Some of the most common fire extinguishers out there include carbon dioxide fire extinguishers, ABC powder fire extinguishers, AFFF foam fire extinguishers, and wet chemical fire extinguishers.
You need to select the one that fulfills your needs best. Some people make the mistake of using water to put out the fire. The Jeep Wrangler is a machine and contains electrical elements. Using water to put out the fire in your Jeep can be disastrous and will not stop oils, grease and gasoline from burning.
I've never had a Jeep of mine catch fire, but I have a Ford F150 with the 300 six cylinder catch on fire under the hood from an oil leak on the exhaust manifold. With in minutes, the truck was totaled. I put it out with a fire extinguisher from a gas station I was at.
When you are away from urban centers, the first and foremost thing you need to ensure is effective communication. Sometimes due to a shortage of signals, cell phones seize to work. This is where CB radios come in handy.
If you don't know already, CB radios are short-distance radio tools. You can think of them as walkie-talkies. The only difference is that they are more heavy-duty, and therefore, they have been used by truckers for decades.
CB radios are powered by your vehicle, and they allow you to stay in touch with other people during your trip. An excellent alternative to CB radios is the HAM radio, and it comes with better features. However, to use a HAM radio, you need a license. Compared to CB radios, HAM radios allow you to expand your range in a preeminent way. They can handle higher power levels and extensive frequencies as well.
Both CB and HAM radios have their benefits. The CB is obviously the more common of the two, but you'd be surprised at how many people use the HAM. As a Jeep enthusiast, you need to learn how to use one or the other. Some ORV Parks and adventure rides require an operational CB radio be in the vehicle.
You should have a small tool set in your rig. Included in your tool box should be a set of Torx bits. It is challenging to differentiate between a Torx bit and similar tools such as Allen wrenches if you aren't familiar with them. The thing that sets them apart is the star-like pattern towards the end.
Torx bits are used all over the Jeeps, such as headlight beam adjustment, suspension components, linkage and other areas. Having a Torx bit set in your toolkit is vital, especially when heading out to a remote location.
The Final Word
Owning and driving a Jeep Wrangler to distant and unknown locations is an adventure unlike any other. Jeep Wranglers are designed to be heavy-duty vehicles, and they can endure what most vehicles can't. However, it is your job to keep them in top condition and have all the tools that make your ride pleasurable and safe.
If you are new to Jeep Wranglers, you might be intrigued to learn more. If you do, you have come to the right place. Feel free to visit our website regularly to know more about Jeeps, tools, DIY fabrications and common first-timer Jeep mods.
If you think I left something out or you have a tool that you won't be caught on the trail without, please leave a comment below.