Sure Jeep life is all about off-roading, mud-bogging, trail-riding and the open air. But what if you don’t do any of those things? What modifications can you do to personalize your “Mall Crawler”? Today I’m sharing a few of the Jeep mods I’ve done to my “street princess/bro dozer”
If you follow me on Instagram, then you would have heard me whining about my 2012 Jeep. I looked into getting a hybrid Jeep – $77k, wait list, and only 35km electric. I looked into getting a new Jeep (gas) – $67k and only available in white, black or a version of grey/silver. I looked into Broncos – $60k and waitlisted well into 2024.
I’m about to have two girls in University in the next 2-3 years, so taking on HUGE monthly payments on a car at that time isn’t ideal. I also dislike the fact that almost every car on the road is black, white, or some shade of grey. I can’t help it – it’s just something that bugs me.
SO, after meeting at dealerships and investigating the options, I decided to upgrade my baby to almost new with a few Jeep mods for mall crawlers.
For those that don’t know – “mall crawler” is for Jeeps that have all the features needed for off-roading, but are only used for daily activities like driving kids to school or picking up groceries. “A Jeep Wrangler that is never taken mudding or off-roading. Essentially only bought for looks” AKA. Street princess.
Yes, there is a hierarchy in the Jeep world. lol
I’m okay with it. I love my mall crawler.
But what can you do to a 2012 Sahara Unlimited to “up your
Mom game street cred”?
I put a bit of money into my baby, so today I’m sharing a few things you can do to your Jeeper to amp it up without going full-on mud bogging lifts.
Jeep mods for mall crawlers
Hinge covers: One of the first things to rust on a Jeep are the hinges. Especially if you’ve taken your doors off and have chipped any areas of paint. It takes no time for the moisture to find its way in and start bubbling up under your paint job. I tried to stave it off as much as possible by applying car wax to any exposed areas – that’s the white you see in the photo. Even so, the white and bubbly paint aren’t great to look at.
I picked up these inexpensive (dare I say “cheap”) hinge covers as a temporary fix to the eyesore. There are 10 different colours to choose from, so you can contrast and go bold, or play it save and go black. (Click image for Amazon affiliate links. For full affiliate disclosure please see bottom of the page)
Grill inserts: These are strictly decorative and do nothing at all to enhance the performance of your Jeep in any way. Except to look cool that is. These Jeep grill inserts come in a few different colours and are held on with double sided tape (provided). I’ve had mine on for over a year, through car washes and snow, and they haven’t cracked or come loose.
Mirror sticker: This is a novelty item that you can find on Etsy, or ask a local crafter with a cutting machine to whip up for you. Again, we’re talking Jeep mods for mall crawlers – which is really about making you feel happy – and this mirror decal makes me laugh. (and feel fast which is unusual given that I’m driving a brick lol)
Over-sized rear view mirror: I purchased this over-sized rear view mirror back in 2012 when my Sahara was brand new. I absolutely LOVE the extra-wide viewing which really helps cut down on blind spots. At $14, and no installation required (it clips over your existing mirror), this is a must-have.
Heated seats: When I bought my Jeep, heated seats really weren’t a priority for me, at least not for the added expense. However, after test driving a loaded Rubicon and a gorgeous Bronco, I quickly understood the appeal. But how do you add after-market heated seats without new wiring, upholstery, and an empty bank account?
Lucky me, I found this heated seat cushion that plugs into your car:
I took this photo yesterday while it was snowing – so you know it’s getting used. The one I purchased (in this photo) is no longer for sale? I’ve linked to a different one in the highlighted text above that is getting great reviews.
New radio with CarPlay: I learned from my mechanic that Jeep/Doge/Chrysler radios are notorious for breaking. Sure enough, mine did. Technology has changed a lot since 2012, and I really wanted a touch screen radio that also had GPS. This little baby was EXPENSIVE, but even buying a used radio to replace the exact one I had was going to be $650 and there were no guarantees it wouldn’t conk out. I bit the bullet and forked out about $1000 CDN for this Alpine touchscreen with Apple CarPlay (which means I can hook my iPhone up to it and talk to the dash just like I would Siri). It takes verbal texts, brings up maps by voice, changes my Spotify list – all without my eyes leaving the road.
Rear-view camera: Another reason this little guy was so hefty in price was because I added another feature that I’ve always wished I had; a rear-view camera. If you have a Jeep then you know you can’t see behind that spare tire. I’m always pulling out of spots super-slowly to make sure I don’t run over any small kids or dogs walking by that are in that massive blind spot.
If you’re considering Jeep mods for mall crawlers, then personally, I think a rearview camera is a mandatory add-on. The only downside is that it’s fitted inside your spare tire – for the best view – which means spare tire covers are off.
Novelty buttons: If you’ve followed me for any more than about 15 minutes, you’ll know I’m weird (endearingly weird). I love things that make me smile, no matter how silly. These novelty buttons – stickers actually – are no exception.
Underneath your temperature gauges you’ll see 4 buttons with no labels. Skid, Hazard and Plug are the only working buttons, but in between are these blank squares. I couldn’t resist upgrading; I added in a Flux capacitor, missile launcher, rocket speed (which could represent N20 or “NOS” if you are a Fast & Furious fan), and finally the ejection seat.
I don’t need to reprimand my teenagers when they are irritating me anymore – I just slowly reach down and press the ejection seat button and they know. lol. I really love these, and at approximately $1 each, it’s a cheap way to make yourself – and your passengers – smile
Vinyl wrap: This was a BIG expense.
This is my baby:
With the exception of the rusted hinges, the paint job wasn’t in horrible shape. But it was looking a bit “old”.
Nicks, small scratches, and even a bit of oxidation had me feeling a bit “blah”.
Again, she’s 13 years old – she owes me nothing – so I decided to bite the bullet and get a vinyl wrap.
Look at all those colours! This was my happy board! Sure, there are still far too many blacks, whites and shades of grey for my taste – but just about dead centre is my favourite colour.
I NEEDED a purple jeep in my life! More accurately, I needed a 3M Gloss Plum Explosion in my life. Can you tell I’m one happy “Street Princess”? lol
I investigated getting her painted, but the price was going to be well over $10k for a complete colour change, inside and out. BUT, if your paint is in decent condition, you can spend less than half that and get it wrapped!
I don’t know about other vinyl wrap brands, but it was recommended to me that I go with a 3M wrap because they do not fade or lose their vibrance, even at 7 years. (Vinyl wraps last anywhere from 7-10 years.) 3M vinyl is also a much easier product to remove should you sell your car and they don’t like the colour, or if you change your mind in a few years. The downside of a wrap, from any brand, is that as it gets nicks and scratches my red will show through. I just figured if I barely had any now, the likelihood of accumulating many now are pretty slim. AND, if I got a stone ship in my red paint, a grey primer would show through – so 6 of one, half dozen of the other.
According to the 3M spec sheets, vinyl wraps CAN go through touchless or soft cloth car washes, and don’t need (actually shouldn’t) be waxed. So the maintenance on this Jeep mod for mall crawlers is actually less work than paint.
The team at Street Stars Customs did an AMAZING job – even wrapping my hardtop to match!
They removed my hinges completely and powder coated them in black (you can’t vinyl wrap over rust). They then wrapped them in matte black for extra protection.
Because the inside of my Jeep was dark cherry, I needed to do something about the doors.
Matte black 3M vinyl there as well.
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.
Since I blew a good chunk of the money I’d been saving as a down payment on a new Jeep, these next mods are on my wishlist for down the road:
Jeep Modification Wishlist
Panoramic sun roof: I’m getting too
lazy old to remove the hardtop and futz with putting the soft top up and down all summer. It really isn’t that easy for one person to do. I’ve been looking into getting a sunroof put in instead. All the sunshine, no work or UV rays. These images are from Canadian Panoramic Jeep (a Canadian Company), and they make my heart go pitter-pat.
You can get just the front panels done for around $1,700 CDN, or the front and back for ~$4k. (prices may change after posting date of 01/28/23)
They just take your existing roof panels and insert a tempered, UV protective glass.
There are several companies out there that offer similar products: JeeTops uses aircraft grade acrylic, ClearLidz uses shatterproof poly-carbonate. They all have a different look, and each profess to be the best, so I’m not sure who to go with.
Jeep sill guards: If you have a dog that jumps in and out of your car – any car really – then you know the wear and tear claws on the door sills creates. Jeep sill guards aren’t an expensive mod – coming in between $30-$50 CDN – and can really prolong the life of your paint/vinyl. I’m looking at these because they fit right over the sill ledge and not just the lower portion.
Waterproof seat protector: Speaking of Bentley and the damage he’s causing, these waterproof seat protectors are definitely on my wishlist. I’m using a towel to protect my seats now, but every time he moves around, it shifts. These look like they can contain the mud a bit better. I’m including links to a backseat cover as well as a front seat one in case your dog likes to ride shotgun. (Bentley does)
I 100% understand why Jeep owners are always broke. There are so many modifications you can make to really personalize your ride to what you do. Lifts, rims, LED lights and ‘angry headlights’ aren’t really my thing – but seem to be the primary Jeep mods people are looking up. Today I hope I’ve shown you a few Jeep mods for MALL CRAWLERS so you don’t have to feel left out.
Now if you see my Grape Ape out on the road – don’t forget to “Jeep Wave”.
Have a great one!