Best Jeep Upgrades

Best Jeep Upgrades for a new Jeep Owner

We’ve all been the starry-eyed new Jeep owners at some point, dreaming of the first upgrades we’d make when given the chance.grade at first chance. I’ve curated this list of the Best Jeep Upgrades for a new Jeep owner on two concepts. First, these upgrades need to be affordable, readily available and worth their price. Second, they must be easily installed and not require any shop or professional service.

Jeep Upgrade Requirements:

  • Affordability – Must be affordable.
  • Self-Install – Can be installed at home with little to no tools.
  • Readily Available – Sourced locally or available on the Internet.
  • Solves a problem – Not just something to change looks or style.

What are the best Jeep upgrades? What Jeep mods should you do first?  Read on for our Best Jeep Mods and aftermarket upgrades.


If you have a Jeep JK, it’s likely that it came with subpar halogen headlights, and one of the initial upgrades recommended is to switch those out for LED lights. The improvement in nighttime visibility and the increased sense of safety I experienced after upgrading to LED lights was remarkable. If you haven’t already upgraded to quality LED lights, it should be a priority on your list of initial modifications.

Fortunately, the newer JL models and the premium JK versions, such as the Sahara and Rubicon, are now equipped with LED lights, mitigating this concern. However, customization options remain available for these models as well.

Personal Recommendation: Raxiom LED Headlights.  Love these lights!

best jeep upgrades - Raxiom LED Halo Headlights

I know lots of people think upgrading headlights is boring when they’re dreaming of big tires and lift kits. Don’t be fooled; I drive in the dark now with a giant grin on my face rather than a concerned squint.

New headlights with LED technology improve not only your ability to see at night but increase your overall safety. That is why it’s on the top of our must-do Jeep upgrades.

Oh s**t Handles

A set of quality grab handles is an affordable and practical first purchase for new Jeep owners, providing a secure grip when entering, exiting, or maneuvering on trails. While some Jeeps may include these depending on the dealership, grab handles can also be bought online for $15 to $50.

Such seemingly minor additions like grab handles prove to be incredibly valuable. As you continue to enhance your Jeep with a lift and larger tires, their usefulness only increases. They are undoubtedly one of the most cost-effective upgrades on our list for Jeeps.

best jeep upgrades - grab handles

All-Weather Floor Mats

Factory floor mats are often considered inadequate by Jeep enthusiasts worldwide. They fail to meet the standards of such a distinguished vehicle. Switching to all-weather floor mats is a wise choice to enhance your Jeep’s protection and ensure an easier cleaning process.

The cost of upgrading your floor mats typically ranges from $100 to $300. It’s a straightforward improvement – simply remove the subpar carpet mats and replace them with your selected all-weather mats.

Personal Recommendation: I use the MaxLiner Smartliner floor mats for Jeep Wrangler, and they have held up well, fit great and look fantastic.

best jeep upgrades - Smartliner Floor Mats Jeep Wrangler

Cleaning up your Jeep is a lot easier with these mats. They hold the dirt, mud, water in and keep your vehicle protected from the elements. They also provide a reservoir of sorts for materials to rest in so you can lift them out and spray them off to instantly clean them.

If you have dogs and pets and drive them around in your Jeep, you will want these floor mats. Otherwise, you will have dog hair in your carpets that will never come out no matter how hard you try.

Locking Lugnuts

The incidence of wheel theft is increasing, and it’s advisable to take all possible precautions to safeguard your investment. Regrettably, due to the prevalence of theft, locking lug nuts are highly recommended.

Investing in quality locking lug nuts or wheel locks can prevent thousands of dollars in losses and save you from the inconvenience of insurance claims.

Always carry the lug nut key with you to be prepared for a flat tire or breakdown. It’s important not to leave the key in an unlocked glovebox or center console.

I wish this wasn’t on our first things for a Jeep owner to buy list, but they are. Better safe than sorry! Be sure to find a kit that can lock all 5 tires!

best jeep upgrades - Jeep Wrangler Locking Lugnuts

Running Boards

Jeeps may come from the factory with plastic running boards, which some might find subpar, and occasionally, some models do not include them at all. Running boards have various functions and make an excellent initial upgrade. They facilitate entry and exit from the vehicle and offer protection during off-roading activities. It is preferable to incur minor damage to your nerf bars than to sustain significant dents in your doors or undercarriage.

Personal Recommendation: Tyger Auto Jeep Running Boards – I’ve had these on my Jeep for a year now, and they have held up great on and off the road.

best jeep mod - Jeep Wrangler Runningboards

Jeep Rubicon’s will come with very narrow rock crawling nerf bars, and they too can be replaced or upgraded with aftermarket parts.

Aftermarket running boards run anywhere from an average of $150 to $350 dollars but there are sets for extreme off-roading or ones that have electronic controllers to hide them that cost much more.

Tire Deflators

This one may seem odd if you’re new to off roading, but if you ever travel over washer board roads or rocky-terrain then one of the best things you can do to improve the performance and ride of your vehicle is to “air down”. I use the Staun Tire Deflators with my Jeep Wrangler and they work great.

Tow Hitch

Although the Jeep Wrangler is not renowned for its towing capacity, it proves quite handy for towing small trailers or equipment. I use a bumper-mounted hitch to tow my trailer, which carries my rooftop tent.

Read our comprehensive guide on Jeep towing capacity for the JKU model series or consult your manual for towing limits.

I’ve carried everything from my overland trailer to lawn trailers and some small U-Haul trailers. Be warned, U-Haul will not rent to you unless you have a hard top Jeep Wrangler.

Best Jeep Upgrades Summary

Why isn’t there a bunch of wheels, rims, tires, lift kits, bumpers, and such? Well, we wanted to stay true to our opening comments. These first jeep upgrades should be easy for anyone to install, affordable and create immediate value.

First Jeep Mods Shortlist:

  • Headlights
  • Handles
  • Floormats
  • Locking Lugnuts
  • Running boards
  • Tow Hitch

We’re firm believers in getting to know your Jeep and knowing your mission before we recommend upgrades that will change the way your vehicle handles.

If you’re looking to take the next step with Jeep Upgrades, checkout our guides on Choosing Off Road Wheels, our guide to Jeep Body Lift Kits or our in-depth guide to Jeep Body Armor.

If you want to keep it stock, we have a guide about Stock Jeep Wranglers off-roading.

Best Jeep Upgrades

We’d love to hear what first jeep mods we may have missed, please leave a comment below and we’ll update this post as we get feedback! Tell us what your best Jeep upgrades were and why!

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