1) Wheels and Tires
Changing the wheels and tires is the best way to dramatically alter the way your truck looks and handles in one easy step. The way we see it, this should be anybody’s first modification because it will build a strong foundation for anything they might want to do down the road.
The only four places where your rig touches the road or the trail (ideally) are the tire contact patches. This is your first and last line of control whether you’re heading to the trail or you’re out in the boonies. We are huge fans of Nitto Tire’s relatively new Ridge Grappler series. They offer the best compromise of super aggressive mud-terrain styling with the everyday livability and mileage of an all-terrain. They look cool, work great on and off-road and won’t put you in the poorhouse.
One of our very favorite wheels right now is the Roost wheel from Method Race Wheels. These things tick all of our boxes. They’re strong as well as light, which anyone will tell you is an ideal combination. They aren’t crazy expensive either, with the smaller sizes starting at around $200 per wheel.
2) Lift Kit
You’ve got your JK and now it looks great with its new wheel and tire combo. The problem is that now its just too low to the ground to be cool. Superlift can help with this and they can do it without blowing your budget. They offer a really awesome 4” lift kit for under $500 that will transform the way your jeep looks and drives. Having even a few extra inches of clearance will give you access to new, more challenging trails and you’re going to look awesome while you’re flexing your way up a gully.
3) Cat-Back Exhaust
Come on, you didn’t think we’d tell you to keep that boring, quiet stock exhaust did you? MagnaFlow offers a few different options for the JK in terms of finish, loudness and routing so you can decide what will work best for your style of wheeling. We’d recommend the Competition Series, single-exit stainless cat-back system. This is going to give you a killer sound from your V6 without being crazy loud. It should also free up a few ponies too and because it’s from MagnaFlow, it will be easy to install and has a limited lifetime warranty.
The stock bumpers on the JK are fine if all you plan on doing is mall crawling, but if you’re serious about going out and getting dirty, you’re going to find out quickly that they give you less than ideal approach and departure angles. Thankfully there is a relatively simple fix for that. Call up GenRight in California, and ask for a set of their beautifully made Fusion front and rear bumpers. They’re not the cheapest bumpers out there, nor are they the lightest but they are made in America and they’ll last at least as long as your Jeep will, maybe longer!
5) Rock Sliders
Now that you’ve got your Jeep all kitted out and looking awesome, you want to take it out and get it dirty, right? Well hold your horses there friend. The last thing you want to do is to be out having fun and then let a boulder smack your shiny new JK, ruining the rocker panels. Luckily, Smittybilt and the folks over at 4WheelParts have a solution to that very problem in the form of their Atlas XRC Rock Sliders. These things look awesome and will take a real beating.
Well, now that your Jeep is all kitted out, you’re going to impress your friends and look like a pro out there on the trail. Have fun and maybe we’ll see you in Moab!