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How To Insulate A Jeep Hardtop

Jeeps are designed for outdoor elements, off-road driving, and battling wind and sand, sun and snow. Whatever the environment is on the outside, you have to be comfortable inside to enjoy the ride. Hence, insulating the hardtop is a necessity. But are you wondering how to do so? We've asked Jeep experts how to insulate the hardtop and here's what they recommend. 

Insulating the Jeep hardtop is a fairly simple job with no real tools needed. It takes approximately one hour to complete, and here are the steps:

  1. Clean all the surfaces with an alcohol-based cleaner. In some instances, you may need to detach the hardtop from the Jeep body.
  2. Attach the insulating panels and foam filler strips at the windows and hardtop by removing the adhesive backing strips at the underside.
  3. Check all insulated surfaces and apply pressure to the panel against the adhered surfaces. Reassemble the hardtop if needed.

Though insulation kits for Jeep hardtops come in many variations depending on the brand and manufacturer, the insulation process remains basically the same. Stay on this page for more information about insulating your Jeep hardtop.

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A late model Jeep Wrangler JL Unlimited Rubicon off-road SUV, first seen in the 2018 model year, is parked in a snowy parking lot before trees in winter, How To Insulate A Jeep Hardtop

How to Install Insulation to a Jeep Hardtop

Watch the video below, and you'll see that the installation process is fairly simple. It would take approximately one hour to complete with no real tools needed. The only material needed is an alcohol-based cleaner. The steps can be broken down into three separate tasks.

Cleaning Preparation

Lay down all the panels to make sure that the correct panel is positioned exactly where it fits. There are also insulation kits that include filler strips of foam that are designed to fit the recesses of your hardtop.

You need to account for all these materials to avoid costly and laborious mistakes of redoing due to wrong positioning. Also, take note of the positioning of the adhesive strips at the underside of the panels.

More importantly, for most designs of insulation panels, you need to detach the hardtop from the Jeep body. Flip it up against the ground, lay a blanket or any smooth cloth underneath, taking extra care to avoid scratches on the hardtop surface and breakage of the glass door. This gives you more space to work conveniently on the interior surface.

Thoroughly clean the interior surfaces of the hardtop and the window sides with the cleaner. Be sure to remove any grime or grease that may hamper adherence. Focus on specific areas where the adhesive strips will adhere to. Make sure that you dry the surfaces, or else, do not proceed until they are completely dry.

Click here to see this alcohol-based cleaner on Amazon.

Insulating the Hardtop

 Modified Off Road Jeep Wrangler JK Sport Willys Wheeler

For the driver and passenger window sides, position the correct panels, remove the protective backing tape of the adhesive strips at the underside. Take extra care to avoid dirt or grease coming into contact with the adhesive surface. Afterwhich, apply pressure against the surface to secure it into place.

For the hardtop surface, attach foam filler strips to the recessed areas. The foam fillers have also adhesive strips attached in order to position them securely. This ensures an even surface of your hardtop after all the panels are attached and well-positioned.

Then carefully slide the panel between the hardtop and the soundbar. Take note of the correct orientation that it should exactly fit before proceeding. Remove the backing tape of the adhesive strips at the underside and apply pressure.

In this step, allow approximately 72 hours of curing time to allow the Velcro adhesive to set up and attach completely.

Wrapping Up

You now have the hardtop and windows fully lined with insulation in your Jeep interior. Check and apply pressure against the hard surfaces when needed to create a uniform and plush look all throughout. You may need to reassemble the top and install it.

What Are Included in Jeep Hardtop Insulation Kits?

Modified Off Road Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon Unlimited Hardtop at a local enthusiast rally.

There are different types of insulation kits available in the market. Generally, the more common types fit all 2007 and up JK models. Additionally, there are variations for the 2-door and 4-door JK models. Always make sure you get the right version for your Jeep.

All insulation kits should basically contain the panels for the driver and passenger windows, rear panel, and middle panel. The latter is specific for Jeep 4-door models. These panels are customized cutouts and should exactly fit the window sides and the Jeep hardtop including the recesses.

However, there are variations among insulation kits depending on the brand and manufacturers. We've listed them here below:

Alcohol-based cleaner

Not all insulation kits include an alcohol-based cleaner. In any case, there is no hard rule on what specific brand of cleaner to use. 

Adhesive Velcro backing of the insulation panels

The adhesive Velcro backing at the underside of the insulation panels is not the same among all kits available in the market. Some brands have adhesive backing at the entire underside of the foam insulating material. Other brands have adhesive backings that are in long strips positioned parallel to each other at the underside.

And still, other brands just contain pieces of 4” long adhesive strips that are unattached from the panel. In this latter case, there is an instruction guide included on what specific areas of the underside panel the strips are to be attached to.

Insulating panels with an adhesive backing at the entire underside are usually high priced. They have thicker, high-density, and high-quality foam material that can provide more insulation against temperature and sound.

The heavy adhesive backing ensures that the panels will not easily fall off over time. Since this type is strongly attached to the hardtop, the disadvantage is that you will tear off the panel in case you need to reposition at a later time.

The thickness of the insulating panels

According to the type of material, there are thicker ones that are made of dense foam material that can provide better insulation. On the contrary, there are types that are thinner but have cleaner and neater external properties.

The thick insulation liners need to be installed with the hardtop removed from the jeep body. You can either have it flip upside down or at least raise up a little in order to give you more space while doing the task. The thicker ones are usually the high-priced brands—more durable and resistant to molds and mildew. 

Click here to see this Rugged Ridge hardtop insulation kit on Amazon.

Why Insulate A Jeep Hardtop?

Jeep Wrangler 2016 cockpit interior details cabin

From the factory, the Jeep hardtop is bare and painted white in the interior as you may have seen in the video above. Jeep owners add insulation for many reasons which we can categorize according to function and aesthetics. 

Insulating your Jeep hardtop can serve the following functions:

  • It serves as temperature control from the extreme temperatures of summer and winter, making the riders more comfortable.
  • It eliminates noise while on the road, especially since Jeep models have big and knobby tires installed. It also lessens the annoying wind noise.
  • It makes the AC unit function more efficiently since the heat in the interior gets regulated. It also lessens the wear and tear of the AC unit.
  • It protects your Jeep’s interior, especially the leather seat covers, against heat that may get brittle and result in cracking and discoloration over time. 

Jeep Wrangler 2016 cockpit interior details cabin

And similarly, the aesthetic reasons for insulating the Jeep hardtop include the following:

  • It gives a headliner-style look.
  • It completely transforms the interior of your Jeep, giving it a nice and plush finish.
  • There would be better sound quality of your Jeep's speakers to let you enjoy better audio while on the road.
  • The factory white finish clashes with the dark components of the interior such as the black plastic and dark seat covers.
  • It reflects the personality of the Jeep owner.

In Closing

Grey Jeep Wrangler on the street of New York

To complete your accessories for your Jeep, you need to have hardtop insulation. It basically serves as a temperature and sound control while on the road. Aesthetically, it gives your Jeep interior a more plush and finished look.

Installing your hardtop insulation is simple and would take you roughly an hour. You need to clean the Jeep interior with a cleaner, then attach the insulating panels by removing the adhesive backing at the underside. To finish off, apply pressure on the insulated top and windows to ensure everything is secured and fit.

There are many variations of hardtop insulating kits available in the market. Make sure you get the right version for your Jeep body and model. You also have a choice between thicker and thinner panels which essentially differ on their insulative properties.  It is a matter which best suits your personal preference and budget.

Whether you are driving the trail or on the beach, crawling, or going off-road, enjoy maximum comfort with the insulated hardtop of your JK, TJ, or YJ Jeep Wrangler.

If you have enjoyed this article, and you're now even more fascinated with Jeeps, you might as well go check out these other posts:

Can You Flat Tow A Jeep Gladiator?

Why Are Jeeps So Expensive? [And Yet Popular]

Michael S Keller

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Live in Arizona and the summers are brutal. I haven't found any glue or otherwise to hold up the insulation in my 2 door Jeep Wrangler. Brain storming, has anyone used rivets to hold up the insulation?