Most jeep wranglers come with the traditional door lock, which you have to insert the ignition key onto the door lock and twist to unlock. You can open all doors individually or unlock all from the diver’s door.
But this car lock system has its flaws, and this is one of the reasons why most people prefer having the proximity lock for jeep wranglers.
There are wranglers which come with the proximity lock system. Still, it is mostly an optional feature, and you will probably pay more for it.
Wranglers with proximity locks also cost more than wranglers with the old school door lock system. However, you can upgrade your wrangler with an aftermarket proximity door lock switch
What is a proximity lock?
A proximity lock mostly referred to as keyless car entry, is a method that uses a unique key to unlock your wrangler, depending on the distance between the key and your wrangler. It can be a physical key or software integrated into your smartphone.
If your wrangler has a keyless entry, proximity unlock can also be integrated into your keyless key. You won’t have to remove or press the keypad when opening the doors or your trunk.
Most proximity unlocking systems work when you have the key around your wrangler within a distance of 3 feet to 5 feet, but 6 feet is the maximum proximity you’ll get.
Do proximity unlock systems compromise the security of your wrangler?
The security of your wrangler is not compromised, as when someone tries to open your doors, the system will scan around for the key, and when it does not sense the key, it will keep the doors unlocked.
The proximity that such keys offer cannot allow one to unlock the doors if there are any obstructions such as walls or other cars between the key and your wrangler
This means that if someone tries to open your wrangler in a car parking or a hotel and you are near your wrangler, they won’t succeed. You will also most likely see a person trying to gain access to your wrangler.
With most key fobs, you can turn them on or off if you feel that someone can access your wrangler, regardless of whether you have the key near or far away.
No signals are transmitted when the key fob is off; thus, the doors cannot be unlocked. But before you switch it off, ensure all doors are locked.
If you cannot switch off the key fob, get a wallet or a purse lined with a signal-blocking layer that prevents the key fob from transmitting signals to your wrangler. Suppose you are at your workplace or at home.
In that case, you can store the key in an enclosed box, preferably one made of aluminum or tin, as these materials block out signals too.
To enhance the security of your wrangler, ensure you have a GPS tracker installed in a discreet location in your wrangler. This eases the process of locating your wrangler if someone manages to drive it away.
Pros and cons of a proximity lock
Some wrangler owners will need to know the advantages and disadvantages of having the proximity unlock system over the ordinary car unlock system.
The advantages and disadvantages influence the choice regardless of the proximity unlock system’s features, as both methods are used to lock and unlock your wrangler.
- The probability of key theft is low
Unlike the proximity unlock key fob, the standard wrangler key can be easily stolen and made a copy of. Once the software has been programmed on the key, it cannot be programmed into another key fob, so the risk of key fob cloning is eliminated.
- Auto-locking feature
The key fob transmits signals to the wrangler if close enough for the doors to unlock. If you get out of your wrangler and forget to lock it, the transponder will sense that the key is out of range to transmit a signal and automatically lock the car.
This is unlike when using the ignition key to lock your wrangler. Sometimes when using the ignition key, not all doors will be closed.
But you may find that the proximity unlocks system you want to buy does not have such features. Get one with the auto-locking feature to enhance the security of your wrangler.
- The risk of locking your key fob in your wrangler is low
When using the ignition key to lock and unlock your wrangler, there’s the risk of locking your keys in your wrangler. Especially if you close the door when the door lock is in the unlock position.
For proximity unlock systems, this rarely happens as the doors will not lock if you leave the key fob inside. Some systems will have some sort of alert, such as honking automatically when you leave the key inside.
The risk of leaving your key fob inside your wrangler is also low because you don’t have to remove the key from your pocket when locking and unlocking your wrangler. If the key stays in one place, you’ll not lose it or leave it in your wrangler.
When using a key fob that needs to be manually pressed or a key to lock and unlock your wrangler can be stressful at times. For example, when you carry a lot of stuff you want to load onto your wrangler, you’ll have difficulties reaching for the car keys in your pocket.
If you use a proximity lock system, you just have to reach for the door handle, which is not that hard. You also don’t have to manually lock your wrangler as all you have to do is walk away from your wrangler but ensure you have the key fob on you.
- Cost of buying, installing or replacing
Proximity car unlocks systems are not cheap to buy and install, especially for older wranglers that use the ignition key to lock and unlock the doors. The cost might be a bit lower for newer wranglers who have the key fob with buttons that unlock and lock the doors.
You’ll have to get a new key fob, and if you misplace it, replacing it is more expensive than replacing an ignition key or a manual key fob.
What to consider when buying a proximity lock system?
- Single door or multi-door unlock
Some proximity unlocking systems are made only to unlock the driver’s door. In contrast, others are made to unlock all doors at once. Get one that suits your preferences, but you can unlock the other doors from the driver’s door, so if you want to save some cash, you can go for a system that unlocks the driver’s door only.
- Added transmitter range.
You can adjust the proximity of different transmitters that the key fob can transmit the signal to unlock or unlock your wrangler. Most people set the transmitter to the lowest proximity settings to prevent theft.
Still, the added proximity comes in handy when you want to unlock your wrangler for someone else from a distance. If you set the transmitter to the highest proximity settings, ensure you have the key fob off when you need to lock and unlock your wrangler.
- Whether you can turn the key fob on and off
This feature is put in place to maximize the security of your wrangler. When the key fob is off, it cannot transmit signals to the transmitter regardless of the distance.
- Alarm system
When you forget your key fob inside your wrangler, the alarm will go off, alerting you. It also alerts you if someone attempts to access your wrangler.
How to install the proximity unlock system on your wrangler?
Removing the door handle
- Remove the rubber seals on the outer edge of the door, which will reveal two screws on the inside of the door.
- Loosen the screws but remove them entirely as the door handle might fall off.
- Then pull the smaller tab of the door handle outward, and if it is stuck, wiggle it a bit to ease it out.
- Pull the door handle towards the opening you have created and gently pull it off the door.
- Install the proximity door handle starting with the door handle first, then install the smaller tab you removed.
- Reinstall the screws and the rubber seals covering the screws.
Removing the door panel and door harness
- Remove all the bolts on the edges of the plastic door panel and store them carefully.
- Using a stiff plastic prying tool, pry around the edge of the door panel lifting the panel off. But do not remove it entirely, as you’ll have to remove the wiring harnesses behind it.
- Remove the wiring harnesses by pressing on both sides then pulling them off from the other harnesses.
- On the lower side of the door, remove the plastic kicker panel by pulling it back inside your wrangler.
- There is a wiring harness with a red tab. Slide the red tab up and flip the harness up like a switch to allow you to remove the door harness.
- Remove the door harness from the retainer, then insert your new door harness into the wiring harness and into the retainer.
- Reinstall the kicker panel.
- Remove the bolts holding the old door harness into place on the door, then remove it. Install the new door harness at the same point where the old one was.
Removing the inner door plate and the window
- Roll down the window until you see the bolts holding the window on the two circular openings on the plate.
- Hold the window up using tape to keep them out of the way as you remove the bolts holding the window.
- Pull the old door harness off the edge of the door plate until you get to the harness it’s connected to separate the old door harness from the wiring harness by pulling the red tab off the pull both harnesses from each other
- If rubber grommets are still holding the old door harness, pull them off to remove the door harness from the door plate.
- Slightly pull the door plate off and insert your hand on the opening, then follow the old door harness to the door lock harness and squeeze it while pulling it out.
- Pull the old harness out of the door.
- Connect the two wiring harnesses on the door harness with the shorter wire connecting to the tab on the door and insert the longer one through the opening from which you removed the old harness. Then connect it to the door lock harness.
- Reinstall all screws holding the door plate to the door, then drop the window.
- Reinstall the two window screws, then test to see if the window goes all the way up and down the door.
- Connect the wiring harnesses on the outer door panel, then press it onto the door before reinstalling the screws that hold it into place.
Regardless of the price of proximity lock systems, have you been assured of better security than the traditional car lock systems. Ensure you get the right door lock for your wrangler, as they can differ for different models.
For wranglers that don’t have the standard keyless entry key fob, you’ll have to get an antenna installed before installing the proximity lock system.