If you’re rocking a soft top on your Jeep, chances are you will hear some soft top noise at highway speeds. It might be just some minor flapping, or it could grow to sound like a 747 is riding in your back seat. Here’s how to reduce it.
Jeep soft top noise in a Wrangler
Driving a Wrangler is cool, and at slow speeds, climbing rocks, trailing on the weekends, you’re not worried about soft top noise. You’ve probably zipped out the windows anyway, just to enjoy some mountain air and get back to some nature moments to your self.
But as soon as you hit the highway back home, it’s time to turn the radio up and hope it drowns out the wind tunnel you feel you’re driving through.
But what can be done about your soft top?
Tracking down the soft top noise problem
While getting a new soft top is sometimes needed, if your top is in good shape, it might just be a matter of checking out what’s going on with it.
The zippers should be able to zip all the way, and tightly. Bestop offers a zipper lube and cleaner to keep yours in the best working order (Part 11206-00). There’s also the Mopar zipper cleaner, Part 5066440AA. You want the zippers to close tightly so that no air whistles through if they’re not tight. If your zippers are not easy to use, you may not be taking the time to make sure they’re tight.
Soft tops use a windshield header channel to properly mount the front of the top. Make sure yours is tight. No rust, dirt, debris or anything like that, as it could prevent the top from sealing tight. You should get a flush match between the header and the top.
Windshield headers vary with the style of the soft top you use, and the brand that manufactures it. But we carry a large selection of them for just about every Jeep Wrangler, so we have you covered if you need to replace your windshield headers.
Also check the rubber bumpers for any weathered issued or cracks. And the channel latch (if your top uses one) should be in good working order. These pieces work together to all create the best seal possible.
Soft top bows and seals on a Jeep Wrangler
The bows help the soft top keep it’s shape, but they can get damaged, wear out or get lost. So it’s important that if one is missing, that you replace it. Not every kind of soft top uses bows, so if you’re not sure, check with the manufacturer of the top. Obviously a bikini top, or say a Rugged Ridge XHD Bowless soft top won’t use bows, but you get the idea.
Make sure the bows are tightly in place, not loose at all. When used properly, they should exert a small amount of force on the top to keep it taut.
Whether you’re running a half door or a full door, make sure the seals and channels are working, and are in place (not missing). If they’re old and cracked, they won’t seal properly. The fit between the doors and the top is always a fussy area, and you can only go so far to prevent any gaps at all. But good seals and well aligned channels can help
Check all the mountings and straps from the top on the inside. They should be tight and adjusted properly. Along with the bows, these help keep the top taut. You don’t want anything flapping loose.
A helpful solution to some tops is using Skid Row’s Offroad Top Prop for the Front and Rear (Part SR-JP-0108). These support your top over the seats, helping to keep the top tight, which means less flapping and less noise.
You should also check the rear window seals, that they’re not missing or in a bad way. The tailgate bar should also be inspected. Try to get the best seal you can between the upper window and the tailgate top.
Jeep soft top options
It’s hard to say one soft top material is better than another, and opinions will vary. A really thin, cheap, no name brand top could have issues, especially if the material easily stretches, rips, or just doesn’t stand up to daily weather.
Durable Twill materials tend to stand up well over time. It can also depend on how many factory openings you have on the top. For most, it’s two doors and a back window. But for some kinds, the side windows come out, the top flips back, they might have a sun roof. More openings make it more likely you’ll have an issue with air coming in and causing a noise.
At highway speeds, if you’re doing 85, that’s an 85 mph wind rushing past you, and over your top. It doesn’t take much to hear that wind from inside a Jeep Wrangler.
If you feel your Jeep amplifies the sound, you can make sure you have carpet inside, or at least some kind of mat. Something like a BedRug Premium Front & Rear Floor Covering Kit (Part BRJK11F4R4-K). That can go a long way to help quite noise from bounding around in the cabin and making it resonate louder.
You might also think about using some Hushmat material to further quiet sound. While the noise might come from the top, the space inside a Jeep is small, so the sounds carries. There’s virtually nowhere for it to go but bounce around.
Sometimes the material in a top just gets tired, and no matter what you do, you just can’t get it adjusted tight any more.
If you’ve done all you can, then it might be time for a modern soft top, something new. We carry so many full soft tops, from Bestop, Rugged Ridge, Mopar, Rampage, Smittybilt, and many others. If your hardware and doors are good, maybe a new top can wash away the blues for that soft top noise.