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How to Change a Jeep Wrangler Hardtop to Soft Top Guide

How to Change a Jeep Wrangler Hardtop to Soft Top Guide

The Jeep Wrangler is a staple vehicle for any outdoor enthusiast. The Wrangler is universally the best vehicle to have for rugged terrain. So, it only makes sense that the customization options include separate tops for Owners. Unfortunately, times change, and so do Jeep Wrangler tops; it can be challenging to keep up with how to change a Jeep Wrangler hardtop to a soft top.

Change A Jeep hard-top to a soft-top by first removing all the bolts holding the hard-top in place, usually a Torx-30 bit is required. Have a place to put the hard-top and friend to help you lift it before removing. Install the soft-top using a guide like, the steps shown below.

Jeep Wrangler owners can customize the wrangler from top to bottom. Different accessories made by Jeep are explicitly designed for the Wrangler, including different styles and types of tops to go with it. Additionally, several kinds of soft tops exist for the Jeep owner. The tops are easy to change, and all the soft tops only require one person to complete the installation!

Changing A Jeep Hard-top

Most Jeep hard-tops will be just bolted into place and to remove them, it’s as simple as finding all those bolts and removing them. Grab a friend to help you actually lift the hard-top off the Jeep though.

How to Change a Jeep Wrangler hard to a soft top:

  • Make sure the Soft Top is Compatible with the Current Model
  • Use the Torx-30 bit to release the bolts to the hardtop
  • Remove any accessories that prevent the installation of the soft top
  • Install the soft top according to the style of soft top that is compatible

Here’s a more in-depth walk-through video showing some tips and tricks:

Is It Better to Have Soft-top or Hard-top Jeep Wrangler?

Deciding which top is the correct top for the individual depends on the activities and weather patterns in the area. The hard and soft tops have pros and cons, and truly both tops provide different resources to Wrangler owners. However, if only one top is an option, the hard top is better than the two.

Hard Top Pros and Cons Table

Quieter RideDifficult To Remove
DurableExpensive to Replace or Repair
WeatherproofRequires a Large Amount of Storage Space
InsulatedRequires Two People to Install

The hard top provides a nicer and quieter ride over the soft top and is more insulated. The hard top is weather resistant and heavier than the soft top.

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The hard top can handle terrain that is both dry and wet without compromising the comfortability within the cabin of the Wrangler. However, if the hardtop becomes damaged, it is expensive to replace.

Soft Top Pros and Cons Table

ConvenientProne to Rips and Tears
Cheaper than the Hard TopFrequent Replacement Needed
Provides ShadeNot Weatherproof
Easy to Install 

The soft top is easier to install over the hard top, and a single individual can accomplish the task. The soft top is made of a tough cloth-like material that is durable, light, and easy to install.

  • The soft top is more of a canvas-style cover than a top and should be used accordingly.
  • The soft top is not weather resistant and is easier to damage.

The soft top is cheaper than the hard top and can even be stored away with little storage space. For example, the soft top windows can roll up and be placed in the back of the wrangler or on a shelf in the garage.

Can a Jeep Wrangler have both a hard and soft top?

A Jeep can have both a soft top and a hard top. There are different soft top styles, some with frames and others without. The hard top does not go over the soft top, so if the soft top that is being switched out is a framed soft top, the hardware for the soft top must be removed.

However, if there is no frame for the soft top (partial soft top, frameless, sunroof, etc.), then there is no need to remove the hardware.

  • Different styles of soft tops work with varying sub-models of the Wrangler and other accessories that a Jeep Owner has installed.
  • When considering owning both the soft top and the hard top, the Jeep Owner needs to be sure that the soft top configuration is compatible with the frame.
  • Additionally, the soft tops come in different materials and installation styles.

The Jeep Wrangler hardtop can only be removed with the proper Torx 30-bit. So first, loosen all the T-30 bolts, including the ones for the door. Then unclip all the electrical connections and lift the top straight upwards and towards the rear of the Jeep. Finally, always store the hardtop at an angle on a proper stand.

How do you put a soft top on a Jeep Wrangler?

The soft top on the Jeep is designed similarly to how a convertible top is used on a car. The rack is already installed on the Jeep; pull the top of the rack to the front of the top of the Jeep.

Underneath the visors is a latch with a place to attach the hooks on the soft top frame; put them in place but do not latch them completely.

Here’s a video walk-through of the process with written steps below:

  • Make way to the rear of the Jeep to pull down the two back corners of the soft top.
  • Ensure the soft top’s bottom latch is securely connected underneath the lip of the body frame.
  • The rear panels should rest easily in place, and it is okay if they slide around a bit.
  • These two items must be completed before installing the windows.

The windows install similarly to the rear corners of the soft top; there is a latch and cleat system inside the door jambs of the Wrangler to attach the windows.

After securing the windows to the latch system, proceed to zip the windows closed and repeat this process for all the rear windows on the Wrangler soft top.

The bottom groove of the window is the last step to installing the windows after zipping them closed. The rear window installs easiest when the tailgate is open.

With the tailgate open, the Wrangler’s rear window provides access to the zippers that allow the back window to be rolled up. The final step is to latch those two metal latches underneath the visors in the cabin.

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Choosing the Correct Top is Half the Fun

Jeep Wrangler owners have the most customization options of any vehicle on the market. Doors, no doors, top, no top, the possibilities are limitless regarding how to design and style the Jeep.

In addition, numerous aftermarket parts are made specifically for the Jeep Wrangler, including different soft and hard tops.

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