The top 10 Jeep tech tips

By Robert B.

Here are MY recommendations for the most important Jeep tech tips. I believe all of these items would be needed for a fun and safe trip.

Please keep in mind that this list is entirely my opinion, and you should consult other information before making a final decision on what to take on your trip.

Here is a good list of off road supplies that I've put together; you should never go without on your next trip.

  1. Front and Rear Recovery points ( approx. $200 )
    Everyone will get stuck from time to time and will need to be pulled out. If you don't want to risk bending your frame, you will need recovery points on both the front and the rear.

    You can use tow hooks or a front receiver hitch in the front, which I've compared and discussed extensively here.

    For the rear recovery point, I recommend a regular hitch. Draw-Tite and Hidden Hitch make hitches that tuck up nicely behind your bumpers, which makes them hardly noticeable.

  2. Recovery Strap ( less than $50 )
    So you've got your recovery points, but what good are they with out a strap? A 2" wide and 30' long recovery strap will be more than enough for most circumstances. Not sure what a recovery strap is? Read my page on recovery straps to learn how they work and how to properly use one.
  3. Manuals ( less than $130 )
    Many ask why I say the manuals cost so much! The most expensive manual, but most important is a Factory Service Manual that will cost you about $100. Everyone knows how expensive mechanic's labor costs are, and I promise you that this book will pay for itself many times over.

    They allow the mechanically unskilled (including myself) to make repairs that would cost a small fortune. Contact your local Jeep dealer to get one, or visit DaimlerChrysler online to order one. Be sure to select "Service Manuals" as the category.

    Also, a Haynes repair manual will help you to repair your Jeep. Although notas extensive as a Factory Service Manual, it does help you to fix many thingsthat may go wrong with your Jeep.

    You can also pick up a copy for $15 at a local AutoZone.

  4. First-Aid kit ( about $10)
    Don't risk your health while out on the trails. Make sure you have a first-aid kit on hand at all times. I've included a list of minimum items to be included in your kit on this page, but if you feel it is lacking, by all meanslet me know so I can update my list.
  5. Fire Extinguisher ( about $20)
    This is another MUST HAVE for any off roader. The fire department will NEVER be able to respond to a vehicle fire in a timely fashion when it ison a trail in a remote location. A fire extinguisher is the cheapest insurance you can have on your Jeep. You can pick up one here .

  6. Hi-Lift Jack ( less than $60 )
    The jack that comes with your Jeep is great for fixing flats on the side of the freeway, but not on unstable terrain off road. I've only heard great things about this jack. It's a necessity for any off road enthusiast.

    You can probably find a cheap knock-off version of one at a Tractors Supply or Farm and Fleet, but I would only trust the original which can be found here .

  7. Add sway-bar quick disconnects ( around $100)
    This includes adding sway bar disconnectors to the front sway bar.

    Many remove the sway bars, which offers far better flex off road, but the problems arise on road. Removing the sway bar makes it harder to make sharp turns and more likely for your Jeep to flip.

    Of course you could remove your sway bar every time you go off road, but that would be a very cumbersome task. That is why I recommend you get quick disconnects. They allow you to disconnect and reconnect your sway bars in a matter of seconds, without sacrficing handling on the pavement.

    The JKS Quick Disconnects are the best front sway bar disconnects on the market because they are cheap and very easy to use. All you have to do is pull a pin on each side and swing your sway bar up out of the way and you're ready for better flex on your front end.

  8. Small Lift and Larger Tires ( $400 - $1000)
    Although a Jeep performs very well off road, adding a SMALL lift can do wonders. My definition of a small lift is anywhere from 1" to 3".

    The main purpose of adding a lift is to give your vehicle more wheel-well room when you add larger tires. Check out some jeep lift kits here . The benefit of larger tires is increased performance off road, and a raised underbody to help prevent damage to your axles, gas tank, etc.

    Also when selecting your tires, consider what type of environment they will see. All-Terrain tires work great in wet and some off road conditions, but often have trouble in very muddy conditions. Mud-Terrain tires perform exceptionally well in mud and all off road conditions, but may lack some traction on pavement.

    I really don't see much benefit in getting a lift if you don't plan on upgrading your tires as well.

  9. Underbody Skid Plates( from very cheap up to $500 )
    If you don't want to replace a gas tank, transfer case, or other driveline components, I highly recommend you get some good, high quality skid plates, such as Skid Row Skid Plates. Their price and quality can't be beat!

    Many people have made their own from steel or billet aluminum, but I would not recommend attempting this if you don't know what you're doing.

    Any finally, one of the most important items.....

  10. Know your vehicles capibilities
    ( free, the only cost is your time )
    The easiest way to get unstuck on the trail is to not get stuck in the first place! Through experience, you will know when you can try the hard stuff, or when to take the easy road.

    Also learn about your vehicle inside and out. Look through your owners manual (yes, there are actually things you need to know in it.) This may make it easier to fix a problem when it arises, rather than holding up everyone on the trail while you search through your owners manual for a solution.