2018 Jeep Wrangler
2018 is the last year of production for the JK Wrangler, as it is being replaced by the latest JL platform. However, for the duration of 2018, both the final year JK and first year JL were sold side by side. With many differences between the two, a quick way to distinguish a JK from the new JL is through the front fascia and side door handles. JK Wranglers have a smaller front grille, with round turn signals located below the main headlights and fog lights located centrally in the front bumper. Due to the release of the JL, Jeep did not make many changes to the JK Wrangler. An Altitude Edition and Golden Eagle Edition are the only two additions to this year. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 continues as the main engine and two part-time 4x4 systems, Command-Trac and Rock Trac, are available. The former is standard equipment on Sport, Sport S and Sahara models, whereas the upscale Rubicon receives the superior Rock Trac system.
Just like skid plates are used to protect the drivetrain underneath the chassis, plenty of aftermarket manufacturers have developed JK Wrangler body armor to protect the exterior panels from getting damaged when off-roading. There are three main materials used, each with a differing level of intended protection, installation process and of course, style!
- Thermoplastic armor: The lightest weight of the available JK Wrangler body armor kits, thermoplastic pieces are intended to protect against encounters with light trail brush (tree branches and bushes). They generally are reserved for smaller areas such as around the tail lights, edge of the hood and cowl vent. Installation is done simply with 3M automotive adhesive tape.
- Magnetic armor: This type of Jeep JK body armor is pretty unique in the fact that it uses magnets to stick to the vehicle, making them the only armor that can readily be put on or removed in just a couple of minutes. Underlying magnetic panels are covered with a heavy-duty exterior grade vinyl, giving similar protection levels as thermoplastic pieces but with better durability. One area that magnetic armor pieces really stand out is style. Custom designs and patterns are easily printed on the vinyl canvas, therefore giving 2018 JK owners both a means of changing the look and protecting their body panels.
- Steel armor: The strongest of the bunch, there are many steel plate armor options to really give your 2018 JK Jeep the strongest and most durable level of off-road protection. Cold rolled plate steel is the norm here, with the cold roll processing allowing for very precise dimensions in order to properly contour the factory body panels. The only negative to these steel type body armor sections is that they are more or less permanent. Most of these steel armor kits require drilling in order to attach them.
Improve Suspension Articulation
The 2018 JK Wrangler Rubicon model comes with an electronic factory sway bar disconnect system - a fantastic ability to have for those that really enjoy off-roading. Obtaining this same off-road performance to a Sport, Sport S or Sahara Wrangler can easily be done by using an aftermarket sway bar disconnectThe purpose of the sway bar is to control and counteract lateral forces through the control arms and minimize body and suspension roll - a must-have feature for on-road driving (in fact, driving on-road without a sway bar is very dangerous, particularly for lifted Wranglers). However, when it comes to the trail, disconnecting the sway bar will allow the suspension to articulate freely and with greater independence from the opposite side. Aftermarket sway bar systems use a mechanical pin that can be pulled out, thereby disabling the system by disconnecting the bar from the end links. When it is time to head back home, simply slot the pin back in and enjoy regular driving stability. While these systems to require manual labor to activate, they are significantly cheaper and there is no fear of a solenoid or electric motor eventually wearing out.