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Jeep Wrangler Roll Bars & Cages

Written By: Louis Orellana

Shop Wrangler Roll Bars

A roll bar adds rigidity and security to your rig. A roll bar spans points on the body, securing them together and making a solid brace. In the event of a rollover, you'll be thankful you invested in a bar or full cage.

Shop Roll Bars

Whether your Wrangler is a YJ, TJ, or JK, they all share an incredible open-air structural design. As a safety provision, Jeep has engineered a sport bar designed to provide minimal protection during a low-speed roll over. In this information guide, we’ll explain the purpose of the factory sport bar and the benefits of upgrading or modifying it with a more robust aftermarket roll bar or cage.

Extreme Terrain

What is a Sport Bar?

If you’ve ever removed your Wrangler’s hard or soft top, you’ve noticed the tubular bars that are part of the Jeep’s overall body/frame. Similar to other vehicles, the Wrangler is surrounded with a skeleton designed to protect occupants during a roll-over. Unlike a passenger vehicle’s aluminum uni-body, the Jeep’s sport bar is constructed from tubular steel for a more robust enclosure. The sport bar also serves another important function; it provides the structural stability and frame for the Jeep. Without a sport bar, each time the doors or hard top are removed, the Jeep would suffer from frame instability and the body would flex excessively during cornering. The sport bar ties the body and frame together, providing the Jeep with the same benefits of a uni-body aluminum structure found on passenger vehicles. It’s important to note however, the sport bar is only designed for light-level roll overs and is often intended as a single-use protection system. In addition, the sport bar offers large openings that give the Wrangler an iconic open-cabin design, but allow for un-belted occupants to be ejected from the Jeep during a roll over. It’s always important to be properly fastened during any driving situation. 


Sports Bar with Mesh Top and Bar Covers

Weak Points of a Factory Sport Bar

Although the factory sport bar is constructed from tubular steel attached to the Jeep’s body, there are several weak points to keep in mind.

Windshield: The windshield has a thin frame that connects to the factory sport bar along the side A-pillar points. There is no reinforcement across the width of the windshield frame and often times during a roll over this is the first point of contact on the Jeep that fails and bends easily. Although the Jeep’s windshield glass is tempered and remains fairly intact when shattered, to prevent any serious harm to the front occupants, the thin frame cannot properly support the weight of the Jeep when it’s turned over and possibly collapsing the front half if flipped over for a prolong time. This lack of cross support in the front also weakens the side bars themselves, causing even further weakness in overall structure.

Rear Seat: Similar to the front windshield, the rear part of the Jeep doesn’t have a cross bar to help reinforce the rear side portion of the sport bar. Older YJ models have a triangular brace that supports the B-pillar and cross brace bars, but the angled tube is short and offers no protection for rear occupants. TJ and JK models were redesigned with an upright extension that curves at a 90-degree corner at the tail end of the Jeep. This design helps protect rear-seat occupants during a roll over. Understandably, the lack of cross brace along the rear creates a weak point for the sport bar that could cause it to collapse under heavy weight/pressure during a roll over.

How do Roll Bars and Cages Help?

A Jeep roll cage is often referred to components that attach to the factory sport bar. These are usually cross braces that help reinforce weak areas with the factory sport bar and help strengthen the overall rigidity of the Jeep while cornering. There are a large variety of cages available for different model Wranglers. 

Cages for JK models: Smittybilt offers an SRC Cage for JK models that consists of heavy-duty 1020 Carbon Steel with steel tubing that has a 0.120-inch wall thickness. These types of cages are typically a direct bolt on to the factory sport bar and utilize a solid knuckle system as attachment points with grade 10 hardware. Utilizing a cage like this on your JK will offer a significant amount of protection during a roll over because it helps reinforce the weak point of the factory sport bar. Areas like the front windshield are reinforced with steel tubing running across the front. This helps support the windshield frame and prevent it from bending or caving in during a roll over.

Roll bar cage for TJ models: Poison Spyder also offers a cage reinforcement kit for the factory TJ sport bar similar to the kit from Smittybilt for JK models. This system is a fairly inexpensive solution that helps strengthen the weak points on the factory sport bar. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive level of protection, Poison Spyder also offers a full replacement roll bar cage for TJ models. The CNC bent DOM structural steel tubing used in the kit offers a tremendous improvement over the factory sport bar. The cage features several cross braces and reinforced sections that are far more superior to the factory design. Cross braces along the front windshield eliminate the possibility of having the windshield frame collapse during a roll over. In addition, the rear occupants are protected by another cross brace, along with an innovative center cross feature that fully protects front and rear occupants, while still providing a great open-cabin feel. The system is also designed to be a direct bolt on, that still works with the factory hard and soft top.

Roll bar solutions for YJ models: To help address the protection for rear passenger in YJ model Wranglers, Poison Spyder offers a rear spreader bar kit that ties into the rear bars and provides a solid cross bar platform and great overhead protection for rear passengers. In addition to the rear spreader bar kit, Poison Spyder also offers a trail cage that ties into the factory sport bar and helps reinforce the factory bar in the critical weak points discussed earlier such as the cross bars in the front.


2 Door JK with Aftermarket Roll Bars & Blue Roll Bar Covers

Conclusion

There are several important structural elements to your Wrangler that make it a tough, dependable vehicle on and off-road. As discussed in this information guide, the roll bar is one of those critical structural components that defines the Wrangler’s profile visually and structurally. It retains the Jeep’s overall stability in off-camber situations while also offering critical protection in the event of a roll over. Like any other component on your Jeep, the aftermarket world offers solutions for improvement and the roll bar is no exception. This guide has highlighted some important parts available for varying Jeep models, but there are many other options and designs available for your Jeep that will help enhance the overall sport bar protection and occupant safety. No matter what you choose, seatbelts are among the most important safety part during a roll over and help keep occupants in the Jeep at all times. Always remember to buckle up in every driving situation and be safe on the trail.


Fitment includes: 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, TJ, YJ, JK, JL, Laredo, Sport, Islander, S, Sahara, Renegade, SE, X, Rubicon, Unlimited, Sport-S