Cheap Jeep Challenge Ep. 4: How Much Value Did We Add To Our Wrangler TJ?

Small improvements can go a long way.

When Roman and Tommy originally purchased the cheap Jeep in California, there were a few matters that needed addressing. While the 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ was a mechanically solid “cheap Jeep”, we figured we could improve the look and function without breaking the bank.

To that end, as soon as they drove the Jeep back to Colorado, the work began. The headlights, for example, performed terribly in night conditions. That’s no good, especially considering the nature of the winters here in the Rocky Mountains. Fortunately, there are simple and inexpensive ways to tackle the issue. Sealed beam headlights are available for about $30 a pair, depending on where you buy them.

Cheap Jeep Challenge ep. 3
Changing out the headlights in the Cheap Jeep. [Photo: TFLcar]

Then there’s the question of looks. The fenders as well in the bumper were well-faded after nearly two decades sitting in the California sun. Fortunately, since they’re simple steel bumpers and plastic fenders, that’s also an easy and inexpensive problem to sort. If you’re in the DIY mindset — as you likely are if you’re following our Cheap Jeep series — a few cans of spray paint will make those pieces look like new. They also help protect those parts against the elements. Sure, the Jeep may not rust in California so easily, but here in Colorado is a different story.

How about off-roading mods?

Even with a base model Wrangler TJ like ours, it makes sense to install some modifications. The Wrangler is well-known for its off-road capability out of the box, but this isn’t a Rubicon. Here, it’s necessary to install some more rugged kit, and we’ll definitely be doing that. Stay tuned for more Cheap Jeep updates coming soon!