Jeep Gladiator Upgrades

Jeep Gladiator Upgrades

Last Updated June 13, 2023 | Alison Smith

Just like the Wrangler, nearly every part of the Gladiator is customizable. You can keep it simple and add off-road lights or go big with a lift kit or new exhaust system. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your rig, here are some of the best Jeep Gladiator mods.

Jeep Gladiator with aftermarket wheels and tires

Gladiator Wheels & Tires

A new set of wheels is an easy way to improve the look, feel, and performance of your Jeep truck. Pair your new rims with a set of rugged tires for improved off-road capability and a more aggressive look.

You can stick with the stock wheel size of 17-18” or upgrade to a larger diameter. Larger wheels mean you can run a wider tire, which gives you more rubber on the ground for better traction.

If you’re looking to switch to a bigger tire, you may need to install a lift kit or wheel spacers to prevent any rubbing or clearance issues.

Exterior Gladiator Mods

There are plenty of exterior upgrades you can make to your Gladiator that will add both style and utility. Bumpers are one of the most popular JT modifications. Not only do they add a more sinister look, but they also provide extra protection.

Some bumpers even have added features such as a winch plate, LED lights, or D-rings. They can also improve your approach angle so you can tackle off-road obstacles easier.

Side steps offer another layer of protection by shielding the sides of your Gladiator from rocks and other debris. They’ll make it a lot easier to get in and out of your truck, too. Along with side steps and bumpers, there are other armor upgrades that can make your truck even more rugged.

If you need extra cargo space, try installing a roof rack. Roof racks are popular not only for their storage capability but for their style as well. Tonneau covers will help protect any cargo in the back of your truck. They’ll also improve NVH by reducing drag.

Interior Gladiator Mods

Although the outward appearance of your Jeep matters, you’ll be spending the majority of your time on the inside. Both the seats and floor are easy to get dirty, especially if you use your Gladiator as a work truck or for off-roading. Protect the interior of your new Jeep truck with floor mats and seat covers.

Grab handles make it easier to get in and out of your truck, especially if you’ve installed a lift kit. They come in a variety of colors and can add a nice accent to the interior of your Jeep. Storage bags and cargo bins will help you stay organized and give you a place to keep all your tools.

If you rely on a GPS, portable device mounts help keep your hands on the wheel. They come in handy when you're driving down the highway or out on the trail.

Gladiator Recovery Gear

Recovery gear is a necessity if you plan on doing any off-roading. It’s also useful to store in your truck in the event of an emergency. Recovery gear includes D-rings, recovery straps, winches, and winch accessories.

D-rings carry a lot of strength in a tiny package. They’re usually sold as pairs and come in different load capacities. D-rings are often used with recovery straps, which are also rated based on how much weight they can tow. Both recovery straps and D-rings are more affordable options compared to a winch.

For more frequent off-roaders, investing in a winch is well worth it. You’ll be able to pull yourself or your friends free if you accidentally get stuck. Winch accessories include snatch blocks, shackles, ropes, and rollers. With the right recovery gear, you’ll be prepared for any situation.

Gladiator Engine Upgrades

Airaid Jeep Gladiator cold air intake

When it comes to vehicle modifications, there’s one thing almost everyone can agree on. More power is always better. Engine upgrades can boost performance and help you squeeze out every drop of power.

A new cold air intake will improve both airflow and engine efficiency. Most cold air intakes will work with your factory components for an easy installation. Not only do they look good under the hood, but they can increase horsepower and torque numbers as well.

If you know you’re going to be water fording, then a snorkel can help protect your engine. They draw in air from above rather than below to avoid accidental water intake.

Gladiator Lighting

Jeep Gladiator LED Lights shown in the dark

Lighting is key when you’re off-roading at night. You’ll need to ensure you have the proper visibility to see any potential obstacles on the trail. There are several options when it comes to adding exterior lights to your Gladiator. Off-road lights can be mounted practically anywhere. Many of them will also use LEDs for the brightest output possible.

Light bars mount to the windshield, hood, or bumper. They light up the area in front of you so you can see every little bump in the road. Not to mention, light bars just look really cool. They aren’t always legal for on-road use, so be sure to check the light bar laws in your state.

Rock lights come in handy if you need more visibility around your Jeep. They mount on the front, back, sides, and underbody of the truck so you can see exactly where you’re going.

Upgrading your factory fog lights can give you better visibility in hazy conditions as well as rain, snow, and even dust storms. Along with LED fog lights, some opt for yellow lenses since they reflect less light.

Gladiator Exhaust Upgrades

Jeep Gladiator exhaust tips close-up

Exhausts are always one of the most popular modifications to make. Although exhaust tips look nice, they won’t do much for your performance. Installing an aftermarket cat-back exhaust system offers more performance benefits. It’ll give your Gladiator an aggressive sound and boost power.

Cat-back exhaust systems allow your exhaust to exit faster for better airflow. They’ll replace everything from the catalytic converter to the exhaust tip. Cat-back exhausts can give you a louder, more pronounced sound note. By letting your engine breathe better, they also increase performance.

Red Jeep Gladiator with lift kit installed

Gladiator Suspension Upgrades

Another common Jeep truck mod is adding a lift kit. Depending on your preference, you can lift your truck just a few inches or go big with a six-inch lift.

Lift kits can give you better handling, travel, ground clearance, and articulation. This will improve your off-road performance and let you tackle obstacles easier. Plus, who doesn’t like the look of a lifted Gladiator? Shocks and steering stabilizers are other suspension upgrades that can enhance ride quality.

Gladiator Accessories

Accessories are an easy way to upgrade your JT and personalize it to your liking. From camping gear to hitches, certain accessories can add capability and good looks. Badges, decals, and emblems are an easy and affordable way to customize your truck.

If you want to go overlanding, then you’ll need the right camping and outdoor equipment. Tents will give you more room to sleep if you don’t want to crash in the cabin. A camping chair is a must if you plan on fishing or sitting by the fire.

Hitches and hitch accessories will provide you with everything you need for towing. Tools and supplies are always good to keep in your truck or the garage. License plate frames add a nice touch and keep your plate securely in place.

Make Your Gladiator Your Own

From new wheels and tires to a cat-back exhaust, you can fully customize your Gladiator to your personal style. Keep it simple with a few upgrades or go all-in with more performance-oriented mods. Whether you want to increase power or off-road capability, the right aftermarket parts can help you accomplish your goals.

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This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.