Episode 4 Thumbnail: 5 Must Have Options

5 Must Have Manufacturer Installed Options When Purchasing a New Jeep Wrangler

There are 5 must have manufacturer installed options when purchasing a  new Jeep Wrangler.  As stated in the Jeep Wrangler JK vs JL article, the New Jeep Wrangler JL does come equipped with a few extra standard options than prior Jeep models. In my Sahara JL model for example, firm grab bar handles, grill inserts, a gas cap cover are just a few items that we don’t have to order extra as options. In order to save money and get the most Jeep you can afford, are there certain options that are ok to leave for later but some that can’t?  To find out, read this article or watch this Cheaper Jeeper TV video, to learn about the 5 Must-Get manufacturer installed options when buying a new Jeep Wrangler.

(The information below is just my opinion as a Jeep Wrangler JL owner. I am not a mechanic and the information in this article is to be used for information and entertainment purposes only)

Discussion of Must Have Options

Here is an alphabetically ordered list of some options that were available when I ordered my 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL.  I’ll provide a small description of them, and categorize for you as to whether or not it is a manufacturer installed option only, or if it can be done with aftermarket options. PLUS, I’ll provide my opinion, based on my experience, as to which ones you must have as manufacturer installed options. The following discussion is also summarized in the table below the discussion.

Air Conditioning

Air Conditioning is definitely a manufacturer installed option. Given most vehicles are ordered with air conditioning, we will go ahead and just file this under the must have manufacturer installed option category.

All Weather Floor Mats

Mopar’s comes with an actual drain funnel attached, that goes through a hole in the Jeeps floor pan. If you like that, then great. However, from what I’ve read in the forums, some owners disliked the fact that water is still able to get past the seal of the floor mat with the hole in the floor pan. I had ordered a set, and was disappointed that the sides of the mats didn’t go up enough on the sides, near the gas pedal. I felt my snow and salt covered boot would soak and ruin the carpet near the gas pedal, as what has happened in previous vehicles. There are aftermarket options.  I ended up purchasing WeatherTechs as the sides go up far enough for my liking, especially near the gas pedal. So, the Mopar all weather mats would not be a must-have manufacturer installed option. But for those who do like the design, by all means enjoy ordering them for you.

Automatic Transmission 

The new 8 speed transmission is a  well reviewed and very popular option. Of course if you wanted an automatic transmission, you must attain it as a manufacturer installed option. Most people are ordering automatic, and from my experience, and as well as those on the forums I have read, it has been one of the best upgrades to the Jeep Wrangler. So, it is definitely a must have.

Cold Weather Group 

The Cold Weather Group, like the heated seats and steering wheel, are a manufacturer installed option that I have and enjoy.  From my experience, and from what I read on the forums, people are very happy with their performance. If money is lean, it is something you can choose not to get, but also, aftermarket options may not be an easy upgrade for later.

Head Liner 

The Head Liner, they say, reduces noise and insulates from the hot summer sun beating on the roof, and helps keep the warmth from escaping through the roof in the winter.  I had mine manufacturer installed. If however you were looking to save money, this is definitely an option that can be fulfilled later by other worthy aftermarket options. One thing I noticed on my Mopar Head Liner, is that the area above the middle cross bar(roll bar) does not have any liner material, whereas other aftermarket liners do have some in that area.  This I find a little disappointing.

Leather Seats 

Some people find that Leather Seats are easier to keep clean, and feel better that cloth seats. So if it’s in your budget, you may want to order them from the manufacturer, but it’s still an item that can be done in the aftermarket.  I have read on the forums, where people have been happy with their aftermarket leather seat options, but I don’t have any personal experience with them. So if you’re looking for another area where you can save money until later, this is another one of them.

LED Group

Anytime on the forums I read people talking about their Wrangler stock headlights, they’re always complaining about how dim they are. Many forum threads are filled with accounts of aftermarket lights, and bulbs, with varying degrees of satisfaction. There are many sited issues with some aftermarket approaches. They range from; brighter bulbs that burn out too quickly, poor LED bulb light dispersal patterns, flickering from improperly matched wiring harnesses to how costly complete LED headlight unit replacements can be. I purchased the LED light group after reading many threads on this issue. I am extremely happy with the brightness of them, and as seen in the image below, they also look amazing.  With the package, you get LED lights all around; headlights with the halo ring, fog lights, tail lights, and signal & side marker lights. Given the reasonable price, compared to aftermarket options, plus the freedom from any electrical gremlins you may encounter, I’d recommend them as a must have manufacturer installed option, but given there are aftermarket options, LED lights are listed below as an aftermarket option for those who want to save money at the purchase time.

Limited Slip Differential 

If you go and read this link on what a limited slip differential does, and how it works, you would wonder why they would sell a Jeep Wrangler without one. Essentially, it helps prevent your rear tires from spinning on slippery surfaces. With this relatively inexpensive manufacturer installed option, is an upgrade with nicer A/T tires as well.  There are more costly aftermarket limited slip differential options, but I don’t have any experience with them, and recommend that a LSD is a must have option should you purchase a Jeep.

Remote Proximity Keyless Entry 

This option allows you to open and lock your Jeep from your key fob, or buy touching the door handles.  Due to the electronics involved it would clearly be solely a manufacturer installed option, but if this technology is not important to you, we could leave it off the recommended list and it can be an area you can save some money.

Remote Start 

The remote start comes as an option that can be either manufacturer installed or purchased as an aftermarket item. If you were looking to save money, and can do without one, then this is an item on which you can pass. I have the manufacturer installed one, where the remote start button is located on the Jeep’s key fob.  Should you choose to get an aftermarket remote start later, you will be looking at adding to your Key Fob collection. Hopefully it won’t be as gargantuan as the Jeep’s fob.

Safety Group 

The Safety Group is something that must be a manufacturer installed option due to the complexity of the sensor locations, and electronics involved. I am very happy with it’s performance on my Jeep, but it is an item that someone who is not interested in such technology can avoid, and save a little money in the process as well.


Selc-Trac is a newly added powertrain option to the transmission of the Jeep Wrangler JL. It is essentially useful when you have changing road conditions that are not optimal for the 4H 4WD setting. 

To explain briefly, 4H in 4WD is good on unstable road conditions, such as dirt, gravel, snow or uneven off road terrain. Once you encounter firm or dry pavement conditions, it is recommended that you slow down to switch your transfer case to 2H RWD. 

With Selec-Trac, Jeep owners who may be driving on highways with altering conditions from dry pavement to snow for example, can use the Selec-Trac to manage automatically the Jeep’s 4WD requirements.

Jeep Wrangler owners have done without this for years, but this newly added manufacturer installed option is highly recommended as a must have item. I have it, and it simply improves the driving experience for anyone driving up north in the winter. Look for a Cheaper Jeeper TV video coming soon on “How to Drive a 4WD vehicle”.

Tow Package  

The Tow Package comes with a larger capacity battery and alternator, both the 4 pin and 7 pin connectors, as well as pre wired Aux Switches for other aftermarket items, like a winch, light bars, etc. A Tow Hitch can be installed aftermarket, but for the price and the upgrades mentioned, it’s an attractive package that I’d recommend, but some people won’t need that, so it can be one of those items left off the recommended list.

8.4” uConnect Premium Nav and Audio System 

The 8.4” Premium Nav & Sound manufacturer installed upgrade is an option for those wishing a larger touchscreen than the already capable 7” stock Infotainment System. There are aftermarket upgrade options now available on the market, and as such this option can be put off for later if you needed to save money. However, it has been noted by many Automotive Journalists that the FCA Infotainment System is one of the best out there, and far superior than other premium automobile manufacturers’.  So getting an aftermarket option might not be a better system.


Getting an upgrade to another wheel(rim) option from the manufacturer is definitely an area to save money.  The Jeep already comes with a perfectly good set of aluminum wheels(rims) already. Paying up to $800-$900 to change the look to another set of manufacturer optioned wheels seemed wasteful to me.  There are aftermarket ones that can be attained after you purchase the Jeep, and you can then sell your stock ones online afterwards. The Tips segment of Cheaper Jeeper TV’s Episode 4, which mirrors this article has more on this topic, and may prove helpful.  

The Must Have Manufacturer Installed Options When Purchasing A New Jeep Wrangler

5 Must Get Manufacturer Installed Options Table

Thus as seen in the list above, some of the options available for consideration when buying a new Jeep Wrangler are only possible when ordered from the manufacturer.  So when buying, you need to know this to make the right decisions. From my Jeep Wrangler ownership experience, I strongly believe the 5 Must Have Manufacturer Installed Options When Purchasing A New Jeep Wrangler  are; Air Conditioning, Automatic Transmission, the LED Group, the Limited Slip Differential, and the Selec-Trac. I believe that having these items from the must have column will contribute to a much more enjoyable Jeep ownership experience.

As for waiting to purchase options in the aftermarket, links to aftermarket options referred to in this article can be found on this website’s Featured Products page. 

(The information above is just my opinion as a Jeep Wrangler JL owner. I am not a mechanic and the information in this article is to be used for information and entertainment purposes only)