2015-2018 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited (JK)
Upgrading the stereo system in your Wrangler or Wrangler Unlimited
2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018
In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Jeep's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Wranger or Wrangler Unlimited.
Overview of the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited
For the 2015 model year, Jeep continued the ongoing process of improving and refining the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. Since both were very well-liked to begin with, this can only be considered good news for Jeep enthusiasts.
The "JK" series, introduced in 2007, was pretty close to perfect right from the beginning. If you're into hardcore Jeep activities, these Wranglers are ready when you are. But if you also have a normal life that involves commuting, shopping, kids, and other things that don't involve climbing over house-sized boulders, they're totally into that, too.
For our purposes, the most significant updates in 2015 were in the audio department. The standard system grew to 8 speakers with the addition of two soundbar tweeters, while the premium system changed to a 9-speaker Alpine package with a subwoofer in the cargo floor. Both of these are better than what they replaced, but if you're as serious about sound as you are about exploring the great outdoors, you'll want to upgrade. The Torx tool kit Jeep includes as standard equipment will come in very handy when you do.
The nav receiver can be replaced by single-DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) aftermarket models (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Factory stereo system
The standard Wrangler system is an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 receiver that includes an aux input and SiriusXM connectivity. The optional 9-speaker Alpine package, available with either the standard radio or an optional navigation system, includes a weather-resistant 8" subwoofer in the cargo area.
If you replace the stock receiver, you'll lose the factory navigation, satellite radio, and/or aux input. All of those things can be replaced – and improved upon – with an aftermarket stereo. The 2-door and 4-door models are the same in terms of receivers and speakers. There are different aftermarket subwoofer packages available for each, so enter your vehicle information in our Outfit My Car page to see what's out there for your Wrangler.
The factory radios aren't hard to replace, but there are a few steps involved (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Replacing your factory radio
You can replace your Wrangler's stock radio with a variety of single-DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) receivers. Removing the factory unit involves a fair amount of dash disassembly, but it's nothing that the average do-it-yourselfer can't handle. The 2015 Wrangler's dash design is exactly the same as the previous model, so if you've already replaced a stereo on a slightly older Wrangler, these instructions will seem awfully familiar.
The difficulty of installing a new stereo depends on what kind of receiver you choose. A single-DIN receiver is pretty easy to deal with. You'll secure the receiver to a custom mounting bracket, then make the necessary wiring connections. The bracket and the wiring adapter are available at a discount when you buy your stereo at Crutchfield.
Remove two screws and lift this bracket out of your way (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Installing a double-DIN receiver is a tad more complicated, because you'll have to remove the metal receiver support bracket behind the factory radio. This is actually pretty easy, and only involves the removal of two screws. Next, you'll have to trim the bar at the top of the dash opening to create room for the new receiver. You don't have to trim it much, just enough to get the receiver in, but this is still detailed work, and you'll want to proceed carefully.
Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions
Note: In certain cases, the double-DIN mounting kit doesn't work very well with fold-down face receivers. Those receivers will fit – eventually – but you might have to modify the kit or fabricate a spacer. The entire process will require patience, so take a deep, soothing breath before you start. Better yet, stick with a double-DIN receiver that doesn't have a fold-down face.
Tools needed: Panel tool, socket wrench, extension, 7mm socket
Steering wheel audio controls
If you want to continue using the steering wheel controls on your Wrangler, you'll need an adapter to hook everything up to the new receiver. We stock several models that will work, even with UConnect-equipped Jeeps, and our website's Outfit My Car feature will match things up for you. If you have questions, a Crutchfield Advisor can help you get the equipment you need.
Replacing your factory speakers
The Wrangler's front speakers aren't easy to replace, but the dash and soundbar speakers are pretty straightforward. Overall, the work isn't hard to do, there's just a lot of work to be done. The results are worth it, though.
Getting to the passenger's side speaker is a lot easier than getting to the one on the other side (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The Wrangler's doors aren't like the doors on your average SUV. For one thing, you can remove them whenever the mood strikes you. As cool as that is, it means the speakers you'd normally find in the doors have to go somewhere else, so the front woofers are mounted to plastic enclosures that are bolted to the sub-dash.
Removing the enclosure on the driver's side is, to be quite honest, difficult and time consuming. The passenger's side is much easier, but all in all, this job can easily eat an entire afternoon.
There's no single part of the job that requires mechanical genius, it's just that there are a lot of parts of the job to get through. Take your time, stay patient, and be sure to keep all the various parts and screws organized as you're removing them.
The factory speakers are oversized 6-3/4", 4-ohm GM/Chrysler units. Aftermarket 6-3/4" speakers will fit using the factory bracket. 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" replacements will also fit, with the help of a speaker adapter bracket, and it's available at a discount with your speaker purchase. No matter what size you use, you'll need to shave the tabs off of the face of the stock enclosure in order for the new speaker to fit flush.
The speakers in the Alpine system are low-impedance (1- or 2-ohm) speakers. Replacing them with standard 4-ohm speakers will result in lower volume levels. Instead, look for aftermarket speakers that have a lower impedance rating to maintain your volume levels.
Tools needed: Panel tool, socket wrench, extension, 7mm, 8mm & 10mm sockets, Torx T-20 driver, file
The Wrangler's tweeters are much, much easier to deal with, and they're wired in parallel with the front speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The 3-1/2" tweeters are located in pods on the top of the dash and are wired in parallel with the front speakers. To replace them, you'll simply need to pry the tweeters out of their pods. Provided the depth and cutout are sufficient, you can flush mount the aftermarket tweeters using the aftermarket hardware.
If not, you may need to use backstraps, hot glue, or silicone to secure them. But you should be able to re-use the factory grille.
Tools needed: Panel tool, socket wrench, extension, 7mm socket
The Wrangler's 2015 audio update included the addition of 3-1/2" tweeters in the soundbar. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The Wrangler has oversized 6-3/4" 4-ohm GM/Chrysler woofers and 3-1/2" tweeters located in the overhead soundbar. You can replace the woofers with same-size, 6-1/2", or 5-1/4" units. A speaker adapter bracket is required for the smaller ones, and it's included at a deep discount with your speaker purchase.
Aftermarket tweeters should fit right in, but as with the dash tweeters, you may need to use backstraps, hot glue, or silicone to secure them. Pay attention to depth specs to make sure your new speakers will work with the factory grille.
The factory soundbar speakers are weatherproof, but if you do a lot of topless (the Jeep, we mean) off-roading, you should still consider a set of marine-rated speakers. You'll get the same level of power, plus the security of knowing that your speakers will still rock even after you've spent the afternoon splashing through creek beds and mud holes.
Tools needed: Torx T-20 and Torx T-15 drivers
The Torx tools that come with your Wranger will come in handy when you're replacing the 8" factory sub (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Bass in your Jeep
In Wranglers equipped with the Alpine system, the factory 8" dual voice coil subwoofer is located in the cargo area floor. To access the sub, remove the cargo mat (if present) and the floor panel, then remove eight Torx T-20 screws securing the sub to the factory enclosure. Unhook the harness and remove the sub – simple as that.
You'll need to fabricate a mounting bracket to install an aftermarket 8" sub (or two 6-3/4" subs) to the factory enclosure. The factory sub has thick foam pads on the magnet to aid in shock absorption. It's a good idea and one that you might want to emulate in your installation.
If your Wrangler doesn't have a factory sub at all, or if a new 8" sub isn't enough bass, you have some interesting options. Several manufacturers, including Kicker and JL Audio, offer custom enclosures designed to fit your Jeep perfectly. You can choose from several unloaded (pick your own sub) or loaded (comes with a sub installed) models that will add plenty of thump to your driving adventures. Just enter your vehicle information in our Outfit My Car page to see the entire selection.
There's also the Select Increments Stealth-Pod, a rugged 1/4"-thick black plastic box that mounts on the inside of your tailgate. Just install the sub of your choice, then add an amplifier and wiring. A marine-rated subwoofer would be a great choice here. For added security, you can easily disconnect the Stealth-Pod, bring it inside with you, then reinstall it in a flash when you return to your Jeep.
Of course, if you really want maximum bass, there's only one way to go: a subwoofer box stuffed with the biggest subs (marine-rated, or otherwise) that you can cram in there. In the Wrangler's case, you have a 35" (with factory sub) or 41" (without) W x 12" H x 9"/12" D space to work with. For the Unlimited, the space increases to 13" H x 26"/33" D.
Other upgrade options for your Wrangler
Here are some suggestions on how to make your Wrangler or Wrangler Unlimited even better.
Add an amplifier
The factory amps are okay, but they're just not as powerful as you need them to be. In a boxy (and often topless) vehicle like the Wrangler, you need clean power (and lots of it) going to your speakers and sub. A new amplifier will give you the "headroom" you need to get the sound you want at highway speeds.
If you're using your Wrangler as intended, it's probably going to get dirty every now and then. Keeping it in great shape really helps retain resale value, so protect your carpets (and your investment) with a set of custom-fit WeatherTech floor liners.
Remote start and security systems
Adding remote start capability to your vehicle lets you warm it up in the winter or cool it down in the summer. The iDatastart system is incredibly convenient and makes it easier than ever to install a remote start system, so we highly recommend it. The module requires a vehicle-specific T-harness (sold separately) to connect with your vehicle's computer, security, and ignition systems, so we ask that you call to order so that we can make sure you get the right harness for your ride.
You can also talk to your Crutchfield Advisor about a security system. They’re not as easy to install (we usually suggest letting a professional do the job), but we can help you choose a system that’ll work in your vehicle.
Find the audio gear that fits your car or truck
Visit our Outfit My Car page and enter your vehicle information to see stereos, speakers, subs, and other audio accessories that will work in your vehicle.