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.