You don’t have to take your Jeep Wrangler to the shop every time you need to do a little painting. Believe it or not, you can do it adequately and inexpensively yourself. And you’ll be impressed as well!By David Weitz – December 8, 2015
This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-present).
Ah…the life of an off-road Jeep owner. Scratches, mud damage, rock dings, branch marks. What do you do to keep your Wrangler JK looking good while still enjoying the great outdoors? Nobody has the cash to take their Jeep to the shop every year to repair and touch up the paint job because they’re an ambitious off-roader. Fortunately, there are some paint modifications you can do yourself that will protect and repair your Jeep, make it cooler (we’re talking temperature here), and make it cooler (now we’re talking envy).
Touching Up Paint and Repairing Dings/Scratches
DIY Cost – $50-$75
Professional Cost – $200-$400 per fender
Skill Level – Moderate to Difficult, depending on the type of touch-up work you’re doing. The more extensive, the more difficult.
One of the areas most affected by your off-road expertise and fun is your fender. Rocks, brush and the occasional scrape from driving too closely to a tree can leave your fenders looking a little worn. Touching up your fender’s paint job is one of the repairs most often done by Jeep owners.
Your first step will be to take some rubbing compound to begin removing the defects. How deep the defects go will determine the type of compound you use. But rest assured; by investing a few dollars and some time, you can take care of most scuffs and blemishes.
- MOPAR touch-up paint will not work on painted fenders. MOPAR paint is a lacquer. After you realize it won’t work and have to wipe it off, it will take the fender’s actual paint with it and then you will really have problems.
- Be very careful mixing paints of different brands. It it is much better to use the same brand paint over your entire fender.
Painting the Top and Lowering Temperature
DIY Cost – $100
Professional Cost – at least $500
Skill Level – Moderate; You will have to do some masking to avoid splatter and overspray
Here’s something we bet you never thought of before you started your off-road adventures. In the middle of the summer it gets hotter than you-know-what when you’re bouncing around the trails and desert. What to do? Think about this: why not paint your hardtop white to cut down on the temperature inside your Jeep? Believe it or not, it actually works.
This paint modification could mean the difference between it feeling “burning hot” and “just warm” on the inside of your Wrangler when it’s 108 degrees outside. It could also prevent your head from sweating while the rest of your body remains cool from the air conditioning. If you’d like to be comfortable all-over, then consider painting your hardtop white.
Use many “extremely light” coats of paint rather than a couple of “normal light” coats in order to avoid any irregularities.
Painting Grille a Flat Black
DIY Cost – Less than $100
Professional Cost – $300-$400
Skill Level – Moderate; It’s best to take the grille off to spray paint it.
This is probably one of the easiest paint modifications to do, and we think it adds touch of class to the Wrangler. Simply take off your grille and spray away. We recommend adding approximately four coats of paint and then a couple coats of clear to give it a beautiful satin-like finish. If you’re not sure you really want to go black, here’s a wonderful idea to experiment. Why not try it first with Plasti-Dip? Plasti-Dip is a rubberized coating which not only will give you the “look” you’re going for, it will also protect your grille somewhat against rocks and stones. If you decide you want to go back to your old color, you can simply peel it off and you’re back to the way it used to be