Four wheel drive vehicles were made for the jungle and dirt roads. However, it is not strange anymore to see most of these vehicles spending their entire lives on asphalt and well tarmacked roads. As a matter of fact, some of the vehicle owners see the 4 x 4 option not as an extra muscle to take the jungle, but as a way to retain resale value and possibly be able to get out and get some groceries whenever snow starts falling.
If you only knew, that off-road machine on your parking lot has a capacity to take you off the beaten trail.
There are different forms of off-road driving from the casual weekend trail riding to the diehard rock crawling. In the world of off-roaders, very few things can compare to the joy of taking control of your vehicle as you maneuver through trails that ordinary people would never go. When you leave the pavement behind and start pounding the dusty road, only your imagination can limit you the far you can go. Make sure you get a killer painter.
The Essentials for a Successful Off-Road Adventure
The most important elements in any off-road adventure are safety and preparation. You have to get everything that you need to and prepare well for any eventualities. Below is a listing of some of things you can’t afford to ignore.
- A full gas tank
- A tow rope that is heavy enough to pull your vehicle without snapping
- A spare tire and all the other equipment that can help you make a tire change while out in the jungle
- A portable air compressor
- First aid kit
- High lift jerk and vehicle mounted winch
- Spare tanks of water and fuel
- Fire extinguishers
- Communication equipments such as two way radios and mobile phones
This is one of the safest and simplest off-roading options particularly for beginners who are trying to get their bearings in off-roading. The terrain is mostly gravel, grasslands or dry dirt. Many federal and state parks have off-road trails that you can drive in. If you are a beginner in off-roading, keep off from steep climbs, water crossings or descents.
The terrain here is mainly sand and the difficulty level is for an intermediate driver. Before you embark on your journey to the dunes, ensure everything about and around you is legal. Most beaches are clearly marked indicating whether they are 4 x 4 accessible or not. Because sand cannot guarantee you traction, you may have to deflect your tire pressure to anything between 15 and 20 PSI. This will allow your tire to spread more hence gripping the surface perfectly.
This is where you rove through mud and shallow waters up to about 6 inches. Your four wheel drive vehicle must be fitted with tires that are mud terrain or all terrain. To succeed in mud driving, ensure you maintain control of your vehicle and avoid skidding. If you feel that your machine is getting stuck, turn the wheels right and left until you are out of murky situation.
Getting a truck that has exceptional off-road capability and a sleek on-road appearance is a balance that goes beyond the ordinary visual features. Factors such as traction, suspension travel, axle articulation, as well as approach and departure angles go a long way to giving your vehicle a consistent off-road performance. If you are the type of off-road enthusiast who unpredictably chooses to venture into rugged, rocky, and wild trails, the below discussed vehicles can be a great fit for you. Or if you try piano movers philadelphia and movers nyc.
This is a huge and luxurious full-size SUV that besides its plush ride has an amazing off-road capability. It has a durable body-on-frame construction complete with a capable 4 wheel drive system. Because of its auto drive mode, this truck can swiftly send torque upfront whenever required. However, when the going gets rough and tough, the QX80 allows you to lock the center differential into a 50-50 torque split between each axle. It also has a traction control system you can resort to in case the wheels begin to slip.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The off-road legacy of the Grand Cherokee stretches back to over two decades. This SUV has an amazing blend of civilized pavement manners, off-road capability and upscale interior trimmings. For you to get the most out of your off-road experience, get the Off-Road Adventure II combo that brings together all the best gear Jeep has to offer. With the twist of a knob, you can swerve from the highway to trail thanks to its multi-mode four wheel drive system that comes with a generous 2.72:1 ratio. It has skid plates to ensure your under body essentials are protected.
This is an unmatched off-road icon. If you are a hardcore, four wheel drive enthusiast; the Jeep Wrangler can be your off-road SUV companion. Its solid axle suspension gives it ruggedness, simplicity and low cost all in one package. Instead of going for the plain-vanilla Wranglers which tend to struggle a little bit based on the terrain, settle for the Wrangler Rubicon that has an enormous list of hardcore equipment including the rear and front electronic locking differentials. It also has the capability to disconnect the front anti-roll bars so as to free up more wheel travel.
The latest Range Rover models may be sleeker, lighter, and more refined, but that doesn’t mean they have lost their off-road prowess. Its Terrain Response 4WD system is one of the innovative solutions ever developed. It also has an air suspension construct that is height-adjustable to give you the ability to raise the body in response to the terrain you are zooming through. Its Extra Duty package bolsters its capability by adding adaptive dampers and giving the Terrain Response to automatically switch from one mode to the next in light of the changes in road conditions. To ice the cake, the Range Rover guarantees comfort to the occupants even when travelling through bouncy and rocky terrains.
Other vehicles to consider include Ranger Rover Sport, Lexus GX 460, Nissan Frontier and Toyota 4Runner.
Auto manufacturers have a tendency to tout the off-road capabilities of their vehicles oftentimes claiming that the features these off-road machines embody are the best in the market. Looking at the big tires and the overall size of the truck may lead you to imagining that indeed their claims are true. In order to judge the authentic off-road capability of a vehicle, you need to know the basic criteria against which to evaluate the vehicle attributes. Below is a brief mention of some of the features that define off-road capability.
For you to traverse harsh terrain, the space between the terrain and the underside of your off-road machine needs to be plenty. Insufficient ground clearance exposes your vehicle’s underbody to damage particularly when climbing over boulders, rocks, and stumps.
Having good ground clearance is a critical prerequisite but not sufficient to keep you from damaging your vehicle especially when you are rock crawling. This is where skid plates come in to protect the underside of your truck. Rock sliders are instrumental in protecting your rocker panels while gas tank skid plates and transfer case skid plates will keep you from breaking out your fire extinguisher or having to walk home. It is always a great idea to ensure your differentials, oil pan, as well as other components under your vehicle are protected.
Wheel travel is very important when going off-road. Maintaining vehicle stability and maximizing traction are important attributes to consider as you keep your tires on the surface. A lot of people doing off-road, prefer having a solid axle compared to independent suspension because the former provides enhanced wheel articulation. If you are into desert racing, independent suspension will serve you best by giving you a smoother and more compliant ride.
Low End Torque
Low end torque is a critical component when assessing off-road capabilities of vehicles. This is because it allows you to maintain your momentum even when riding over obstacles without the need to wring out your engine. With just a soft touch of the gas pedal, you can easily get over some obstacles especially when this combines with the right gearing.
When venturing off-road, you have to ensure your tires are all terrain or preferably mud terrain tires. Having street tires will take you nowhere. The most important factors in off-road tires are deep threads, a right rubber compound to match the terrain and tough sidewalls. The size of the tires is also crucial and 33 to 35 inch tires are recommended.
In addition to the above, your ideal off-road machine should have locking differentials. Lots of vehicles come with open differentials which mean the wheel that has the least traction gets most of the power. When it comes to off-roading, you want the wheel that has the most traction to get the most power and this means locking differentials.
Fixing up your truck can be an enjoyable experience and one which can save you time, money, and lots of unnecessary frustration. Wheels and tires are among the key determinants of the performance of your truck both on-road and off-road. Choosing the right wheels can open up a whole frontier of fun and adventure which could have otherwise remained unexploited. The key question you need to ask yourself as a truck owner is – what are the key factors to look at when picking wheels and tires? To make the exercise much easier for you, below are some key pointers you should consider.
Wheel Size and Tread Pattern
The size of the tires you pick will have a tremendous impact on the quality of riding you will experience. For instance, if you are the sort of person who frequents off-road regularly particularly rocky, rough and extreme terrain, heavy-duty wheels with tires measuring at least 35 inches in diameter can be appropriate for you. The tread pattern is also a critical aspect of your wheels that you need to look at. For sloppy and muddy terrains, you need a more aggressive tread design which is different from the one you will go for when rolling over a hard-packed wilderness floor.
The Type of Truck
Inasmuch as where you plan to drive is important, when choosing wheels and tires, what you drive is equally critical. It doesn’t matter whether you stick on-road or decide to go off-road your set of tires and wheels should be matched to the type of truck. In the case of a classic truck, you will enjoy your rides more with a basic set of wheels fitted in a traditional rim size. If you are driving a late-model truck, you will look and feel good with 20 inch or even larger set of wheels.
The Wheel Materials
While every truck owner desires high quality materials for his wheels, it can be a challenge telling them apart especially due to the lots of alloys and different grades of steel wheels that exists in the market. Steel and alloy are the two basic types of wheels available for trucks. Each of these wheels has their own advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of so as to make the right decision.
Steel Wheels – These are much heavier than alloy wheels and have a solid construction. They have heavy duty durability and highly resistant to sand, dirt and brake depletion. Due to their consistent composition, they are less prone to wobbling.
Cast Alloy Wheels – These are made from lightweight aluminum composite which allow for a variety of designs. They are excellent for activities that require heavy duty braking or speed. Because of their rust-resistant shine, cast alloy wheels tend to give your truck an exceptional finished look that is not common with steel wheels.
If you find it a challenge to pick the right wheels, always tag an auto technician along.
Owning a jeep is one thing and getting the most out of its off-roading capability is another thing altogether. There are lots of things you can do to your jeep such as the choice of tires and the drive train to enhance its performance. A lift kit is one of the essential modifications you can’t do without if you want to experience the roaring power of your machine. When looking for a suspension lift kit for your jeep, your goal should be to strike a balance between off-road suspension flexibility and on-road drivability.
Before scouting for a lift lit, you must address a number of questions such as the regular use of your jeep, the type and size of tires you will use and the much you are willing to spend on the lift. The following are the basic types of lifts you may want to consider.
This is appropriate if you just want a little more clearance or room under the transfer case to run 31 inch tires. This type of lift comprises coil spacers that are positioned under the stock springs. This gives it a little bump in height at the front section with long shackles at the back. If you have strong or new springs, you can go for blocks in the rear. The small lift commonly measures between 1.5 and 2 inches.
For most wheelers, this is the best choice. It gives your vehicle good tire clearance as well as a well handling on-road drive. The ideal tire size for this lift is anything between 32 and 34 inches. Inasmuch as you do not require lots of additions to the lift when you choose the medium suspension lift kit, you may still need longer brake lines or wheel spacers. If you own one of the newer jeeps, you may also need a different drive shaft, but this only applies on automatics because stock drive shafts work fine with manual transmissions. Medium shifts also come with new shocks. The most common medium lift is between 2 and 3.5 inches.
This suspension lift kit is more aggressive and gives you an exceptional off-road performance without compromising on the jeep’s on-road capability. These lifts come with a totally new set of parts and thus you need to know the dynamics before installing these lifts. With bigger lifts, you can run 35 inch tires and still have an amazing experience.
At first, going bigger on your lift kits can be a little bit scary but don’t worry because once you find your balance and right fit, everything works just fine. Asking friends as well as reading reviews can help you get your perfect suspension lift kit match.
This blog is dedicated to all things off road and well any other stuff we feel like reviewing because sharing is caring.