The actual specifications that add up to genuine capability have become muddled as a result of automaker marketing, which is one of the challenges that shoppers face when looking for a car or truck that can go off-road. These vehicles are more commonly referred to in these parts as adventure mobiles. If you believe what you see in the commercials, all-wheel-drive crossovers and four-wheel-drive pickup trucks are equally capable of accomplishing difficult tasks. However, in reality, one of these vehicles would become immobilised before the other even started to sweat. Why is that the case? And how can you, simply by looking at a vehicle's spec sheet, come to an objective conclusion about the relative capabilities of different models? This is my attempt to explain everything in a single location for your convenience.
Few motorists ever make it off the paved roads, even when the itch to discover something new hits them. And in all honesty, they don't need to because the majority of well-known campsites, landmarks, and panoramas can be reached by road. However, you will need to travel off the beaten path in order to see more unique landscapes and tell more interesting stories.
To our great relief, doing so is now simpler than it has ever been. You no longer have to spend years of your life modifying your rig because numerous automobile manufacturers are happy to sell you a brand-new vehicle that already comes equipped with more off-road accessories than you will most likely ever require. In addition, if you are still interested in making your own modifications, the aftermarket industry offers a wide variety of products that range in price.
Off-roading is a popular hobby in the United States. It's likely that if you own a Jeep, an off-roading SUV, or a truck, one of your favourite things to do is to take it for a spin on the many off-road trails that can be found around Winnipeg and the rest of Manitoba.
Off-roading, on the other hand, presents its own unique set of difficulties. Even automobiles that are manufactured specifically for intense off-roading use can sustain damage after a day-long excursion, whether the damage was caused by the environment or by improper use of the vehicle.
The purpose of this article is to familiarise you with some of the most typical issues that can arise with your vehicle as a result of off-roading so that you will be able to identify them and bring your vehicle in to Ride Time for the necessary repairs.
If you're looking for a top quality service body then give our experienced team a call to see how Ridgeback Service Bodies can make your business, fleet or recreational service bodies make your life on the road easier and safer.
Problems Caused By 4-Wheeling On Moderately Difficult Terrain
You can probably imagine that driving your vehicle up, down, and around multiple obstacles will cause your transmission to experience a higher rate of wear and tear than it would under any other circumstances. This is especially relevant for drivers whose vehicles are equipped with manual transmissions, and it is even more relevant for drivers who are unfamiliar with the proper way to shift gears when driving off-road.
People who drive vehicles with manual transmissions frequently keep the clutch depressed at all times in order to maintain a constant speed and constant power output. However, if this continues for a significant amount of time on a challenging trail, your transmission is going to start heating up, which can cause damage to the gear teeth and various other components.
Be sure that the clutch is only engaged when shifting gears and that you do not use it as a mechanism for coasting. Put your foot on the brake if you feel the need to slow down. In a similar manner, when going uphill, people typically give it their all in order to keep their momentum going. However, not only is this unnecessarily excessive, but it also puts strain on your transmission while simultaneously causing damage to your tyres.
Maintaining a constant RPM at which your tyres are not going out of control is what you want to do. If you feel that you need momentum to get up a hill because the tread on your tyres is not holding or your vehicle does not have enough power, you should think twice before you gun it. Because there is only one other path for you to take if you don't make it to the top, and the likelihood that it will be more out of your control than you would be comfortable with is high if you don't succeed.
The misalignment of your vehicle's wheels is one of the most typical and typical problems that can be caused by four-wheeling. Just consider how many craters and rocks you've traversed; there's a good chance that things won't be as true and straight as they should be. In the near future, there won't be much of an issue as long as the jostling isn't too intense and the space isn't packed too tightly.
However, if you've done some serious four-wheeling and do it on a regular basis, you should check your vehicle's alignment on a more regular basis. It will save you a lot of money in the long run by extending the lifespan of your tyres and reducing the difficulty of any future alignment issues due to the fact that they won't be compounded. In other words, it will make your tyres last longer.
Tires are typically manufactured with a particular activity or set of activities in mind, such as racing, four-wheeling, or just everyday commuting in and around the city. Because of this, off-road tyres are likely the best option for four-wheeling, mainly due to the fact that this is the purpose for which they were designed. For use in off-road conditions, they are sturdier, thicker, and have deeper treads, as well as a longer expected lifespan in general. When driving on uneven ground for an extended period of time, this helps to prevent the tyres from becoming punctured or losing air pressure.
On the other hand, regardless of how sturdy the tyres are, they are still going to be subjected to a lot of pressure. Driving over sharp, jagged rocks and having an uneven distribution of vehicle weight all put a tremendous amount of stress and strain on the tyres, which is one of the reasons why flat tyres are such a common problem. Driving on tyres that are flat or even tyres that have a low level of air in them can cause further damage to the rims of your tyres. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to check that your tyres are up to the challenge of driving off-road.
nicks, gouges, dents, and scrapes on the surface. Off-road vehicles often end up with damage like this as a result of their use. Stickers and decals that demonstrate that your vehicle is capable of four-wheeling and should be displayed with pride. On the other hand, there are some people who would prefer that their vehicles lacked such character and obvious marks.
If that is the case, you might as well leave your vehicle at the trailhead because it is certain that they will appear at some point. When you drive off-road, it is inevitable that your vehicle will get dirty, and the likelihood of this happening is high. It is going to have to absorb some blows. Just make sure you're mentally prepared for the possibility that your infant will sustain some minor injuries.
Ridgeback Ute Bodies provide expert service and repairs for four wheel drive vehicles and can also advise you on the best way to look after your off road vehicle.
Damage To The Undercarriage
When you drive over rough and loose terrain, the undercarriage of your vehicle is going to sustain some damage, as you might expect given the circumstances. Stones will be kicked up, and your vehicle will scrape the bottom over protruding rocks. Your vehicle may even high centre or bottom out, which will cause it to become stuck in the mud. All of these things have the potential to cause damage to a variety of components under your vehicle.
It is possible for your gas tank to sustain dents, which will result in inaccurate readings from the gas level sensors and may even cause the tank to hold less gas overall. If the conditions are just right, mufflers and exhaust pipes have the potential to be bent or even completely ripped off. The damage to your suspension could be caused by either running into rocks at too high of a speed or by flexing more than it is designed to handle. However, the former scenario is more likely to be the culprit.
Last but not least, you risk compromising the structural soundness of the vehicle's chassis. This would indicate that your vehicle has been subjected to a significant impact, but the chassis of your vehicle is literally the skeleton of your vehicle. Wouldn't it be obvious if you had a broken bone, no matter where it was on your body, and it would require immediate medical attention? Your chassis is subject to the same conditions. Any cracks or dents need to have immediate repairs done to them because the longer the problem is left unattended, the worse it can get, and on top of that, it can cause other problems to arise.
Better Parts = Longer Life for Your Truck
When you are constructing your off-road truck, you should give some thought to the quality of the parts that you use. Even though some components can be purchased for much less money, it is not always a waste of money to splurge a little more on mods that are of a higher quality.
You should give it some serious consideration before taking a stock vehicle off-roading for the first time. Although some automobiles, such as the Jeep Wrangler, make excellent jumping off points for the construction of an off-road vehicle, the truth is that the components of these automobiles are not up to the standard required for use on trails.
Tires and suspension are where you should put the majority of your money in this case because they are the most important components. Normal street tyres won't get you through any trail that isn't a dirt road, and more difficult terrain will almost certainly cause them to lose their air pressure and burst. Put some money into better tyres if you want to arrive at your destination with all four of your tyres still attached.
It's also likely that the stock suspension on your vehicle isn't quite up to the task of trail driving. Your vehicle's suspension will take a beating if you drive it over rocks, through mud, and up and down hills. Using your existing parts in this situation is a surefire way to destroy something. To summarise everything that has been said, if you want to keep from damaging your vehicle, you should spend a little bit of money and upgrade from the stock parts.
Ridgeback Ute Service Bodies are designed for good looks and quality protection for your equipment.
Treating Your Vehicle The Right Way
If you don't know what you're doing, off-roading can be hazardous to the condition of your vehicle. The following is a list of some of the steps you should take to ensure that you are off-roading in the correct manner:
Ride With an Experienced Off-Roader
Ride along with an experienced off-roader and pick their brain about the best way to tackle difficult obstacles before you attempt the activity on your own for the first time. It is important that you acquire as much information as possible before venturing out on the trail for the first time by yourself, as doing so could put both you and your truck in harm's way. When you've spent some time riding with someone else, the next step is to take the wheel yourself with someone else in the passenger seat so they can offer you some supplementary guidance. Just be sure that you are not acting without proper knowledge.
Use a Spotter While Driving
It is in both your best interest and the best interest of your truck to make use of a spotter while you are out on the trail. Having a spotter with you will not only assist you in making it down the trail, but they will also assist you in avoiding obstacles that could cause your vehicle to break. Utilizing a spotter to your advantage is one of the most important things you can do while off-roading because they are one of your most valuable assets.
Take Things Slow
When you drive at a high rate of speed, you put additional strain on your vehicle. This stress is magnified when you are in an off-road environment. If you are travelling at a speed of five miles per hour when you hit a jagged rock, you might be okay. In light of this, if you drive over the same rock at a speed of twenty miles per hour, you could blow a tyre and get yourself stuck. It is possible to extend the life of your truck and the components of it by driving slowly and paying attention to the trail.
Do Regular Maintenance
It is essential to perform routine maintenance on any vehicle. It's a recipe for disaster if you don't give your car and all of its components the maintenance and attention they need on a regular basis. As soon as you pull off the trail, you need to conduct a thorough inspection of all of your components, as well as clean your truck and ensure that everything is in working order.
This will save you money, help you avoid costly breakdowns on the trail, and give you an early warning of any potential issues before they become a problem. Get an immediate inspection done on your vehicle if you notice that something on it doesn't seem quite right. Get something fixed as soon as possible if it is obvious that it is broken, otherwise the issue will only get worse.
In addition to simply checking the condition of your parts, you should bring your truck into the shop on occasion to have it tuned up. A surefire way to wreck your vehicle is to let it run out of fluids like oil, coolant, or any other type that can be replaced at a repair shop. Taking good care of your vehicle can extend its lifespan, which is one of the reasons why we still see cars that were manufactured in the 1950s driving around today. Your off-road vehicle will serve you well for many years to come if you subject it to routine maintenance and treat it with the respect it deserves.
Be Prepared for Breakdowns
Even if you follow each and every one of the steps outlined above to the letter, there is still a chance that you will cause damage to your vehicle while you are off-roading. Off-roading presents its participants with a number of challenges that, despite their best efforts, they cannot always circumvent.
As a result of this, you need to ensure that you are always ready for a malfunction. If you're going to be out on the trail for a while, pack some food and water and figure out a way to get back to civilisation in case your vehicle can't make it. Bring along a spare tyre in addition to a tyre repair kit just in case you end up having a flat tyre. If you have the means to do so, purchasing a winch for your car or truck is likely to be one of the best investments you can make for handling difficult off-road conditions.
Before you head out on the trail, make sure that someone knows where you will be and, even better, bring a companion with you. Not only is going off-roading with a few friends more fun, but it also makes for a more secure experience. As I've mentioned before, there are some problems with your vehicle that simply can't be avoided while you're out on the trail. Despite the fact that you shouldn't be too concerned about this, you should still ensure that you are well prepared.
Equipment Is Not Everything; Knowledge Is
Only with the benefit of knowledge and experience can you decide which hazards your vehicle can safely pass through and how best to do so. How you employ your equipment is far more important than its specifications, such as the size of your tyres, the number of differential locks it has, or the maximum weight it can pull with your winch.
About a month or two ago, I drove a fully-built Nissan Titan to a deserted hot spring in Baja, Mexico, which was about 35 miles from the nearest pavement. A lift kit, massive all-terrain tyres, bumpers, sliders, locking differentials, a winch, and a set of side steps were all installed on the vehicle. It handled better and held more cargo than the beat-up old Honda Civics that most locals drove, but the latter could still get in without any trouble.
The new Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 was designed by men who successfully drove it across the Rubicon Trail, one of the most challenging four-wheel drive trails in North America, without any major damage. Trucks without modifications should not even try to cross the Rubicon. Even though their truck was not particularly powerful, even when compared to other stock trucks, the engineers made it through because they were so familiar with the truck's angles, equipment, and capabilities.
Take some lessons, read some books, and enlist the help of more seasoned off-roaders if you want to spend the money.
How Modifications Affect Your Truck and What They Do
Let's go over the most popular ways people improve their vehicles' off-road ability, starting with the most basic.
Keep in mind that the concept of extra weight will be used in several of the illustrations that follow. An increase in the vehicle's mass has a negative effect on its velocity, gas mileage, stopping power, manoeuvrability, and comfort. If a vehicle has all of these parts, it can easily go off-road. It will be unsafe on the road in a number of ways, including an increased propensity for rollovers and increased stopping distances, and will have a poor ride comfort, less grip, be much slower, handle poorly, and have such a high level of noise that it will be intolerable to spend any significant amount of time on the highway.
Pros: When faced with a substantial obstacle, larger tyres have an easier time of it.
Cons: Because of this, the amount of force your engine can exert on the road surface will decrease, and your gear ratio will decrease as a direct result. Your vehicle's gas mileage will suffer as a result of the costly re-gearing that will be necessary. A larger tire's weight is a natural consequence of its larger diameter. Your truck will go slower as a result, as the engine will need to work even harder to speed up that tyre than necessary due to the ineffective gearing.
The effectiveness of your brakes will decrease as you slow down that tyre because they will have to work harder. The heavier tyres will put additional strain on your suspension as your car goes up and down the road, negatively impacting your vehicle's ride quality. You may notice a loss of control as your truck jumps around on the road thanks to the large tyres' increased propensity to deflect on the pavement as you take corners. They make an ear-splitting racket when travelling at freeway speeds.
Pros: Because of the extra ground clearance provided by a lift, larger tyres can be installed on your truck. Seeing it parked in front of Piggly Wiggly gives off a cool vibe.
Cons: Because of the increased height of the truck's centre of gravity, it will be more vulnerable to tipping over during evasive manoeuvres and high-speed corners, whether you're driving on or off-road. Changes the suspension's geometry, which shortens the life of vital components like bearings and often requires costly modifications to make the vehicle fit correctly. Totally ruins your MPG!
Steel Bumpers and Sliders
Pros: Protect your body from low-velocity impacts that may occur in uncharted territory. Mounting points for a winch and other items (a spare tyre, lights, jerry cans, Hi-Lift jacks, etc.) should be provided.
Cons: Bring down the vehicle's crash resistance and weigh a tonne.
Pros: Make it so you can lug around more of your junk. The car looks really cool parked in front of Sheetz.
Cons: The problems that are caused by lifts are made significantly worse by the addition of weight in the worst possible location, which is on top of your vehicle. Carrying things on the rack makes that problem even more difficult to deal with. Destroys your fuel economy.
Drawers, Fridges, and Other Interior Modifications
Pros: Facilitate the organisation of your camping supplies and medical supplies for recovery. Be Instagram-worthy.
Cons: eat up the interior room, making your truck less versatile. This whole lot of stuff not only makes the ship heavier, but also makes it less roomy for people and things.
Pros: Permit you to free a stalled truck or assist another driver in need.
Cons: A vehicle weighing more than five thousand pounds creates enormous pressure and weight that can be deadly in the wrong hands. Helps to bolster the load.
Actual Helpful Modifications
Light All-Terrain Tires
Both puncture resistance and off-road traction can be improved by maintaining the same size as the factory tyres or a size very close to it. Purchase a set of lightweight all-terrain tyres because they are the best upgrade you can make to your vehicle for use off-road, where punctures are no laughing matter. These should be viewed as mandatory. They will still increase your vehicle's unsprung weight, which will have a negligible impact on your vehicle's speed, stopping distance, gas mileage, and comfort.
That's why lighter alternatives like the Maxxis Bravo 771 or the Yokohama Geolander are worth considering. An all-terrain tyre designed for heavy loads may be the best option if you drive a large and heavy vehicle. Many situations still call for the BF Goodrich K02.
An Air Compressor and Plug Kit
If you have a flat tyre, you can change it on the side of the road in under ten minutes and for next to nothing in materials. You should buy an efficient air compressor that won't blow your circuit breaker every time you need to fill your tyres. A quality plug kit will fix a variety of tyre problems, including punctures, for good.
Snatch Strap and Shackles
Having a snatch strap as well as shackles of the appropriate rating on hand will allow you to pull another vehicle out of a jam or to be pulled out of a jam yourself. Compared to winching, this approach is far more secure and convenient. For those who want to go off-road but don't want to break the bank, ARB has released a new kit.
These highly textured nylon boards make getting around any kind of obstacle simple and risk-free. They can be used as shovels as well.
A Basic Tool Kit
You probably won't be able to handle major mechanical problems on your own if you don't have lot of experience with turning wrenches. Still, the bumps and vibrations that come with off-road driving can cause a surprising number of minor problems. Having a set of pliers, wrenches, a ratchet with bits, some zip ties, super glue, and duct tape on hand will allow you to make these simple but potentially important repairs.
An Easy Tire Deflator
Do your tyres work on muddy terrain? Great! Get some training on how to make good use of them now. Tire pressures should be kept at the levels specified on the sticker in the driver's side door jam while driving. Doing so will maximise fuel efficiency without sacrificing safety.
The optimal tyre pressure for off-roading is between 20 or 8 pounds per square inch (PSI), though this will vary from surface to surface. An easy deflator will make short work of this task, and once you're back on solid ground, filling the tyre with air using the air compressor you already have will take no time at all.
Driving off-road, the greatest threat to your vehicle is not from above, behind, or to the sides, but from below. You could damage your oil pan, transmission, differentials, or exhaust system if you drive over a sharp rock. Skid plates are incredibly useful because they add a lot of protection and can be fastened with bolts. They are also easy to remove and won't change how much gas the car uses or how safe it is. Consider them a low-cost form of protection.
If you put a lot of miles on your car each week, you probably have a good idea of its turning radius and gas mileage. Off-roading, however, calls for an even deeper familiarity with your car. The approach, departure, and break over angles all account for the amount of ground clearance under the front and rear bumpers and the distance between the axles. Having a distinct mental image of the area under each of these parts of your vehicle is helpful when driving off-road. That way, you won't get wedged between rocks, slopes, or ruts that really called for an oblique approach (or skipped entirely).
The marketing strategies of car companies have confused the actual specifications that add up to real capability. Numerous automakers are happy to sell you a brand-new vehicle already equipped with more off-road accessories, so you no longer have to spend years of your life modifying your rig. The transmission of your vehicle will wear out faster than usual if you routinely drive up and down steep inclines and around tight turns. Using the clutch as a coasting device is illegal, so only use it when shifting gears. Wheel misalignment is one of the most common and widespread issues that can arise from four-wheeling.
Longer tyre life and easier alignment problems in the future mean less money out of pocket. Surface flaws such as chips, scratches, and dings. Used off-road vehicles frequently show signs of wear and tear like these. Your vehicle will kick up stones and scrape the undercarriage on outlying rocks. Many different parts could be harmed by all of these factors.
Repairs are needed right away for any damage, such as cracks or dents. If the issue isn't fixed quickly, it could get much worse. Your vehicle's suspension is probably not designed for off-roading. Avoid wrecking your ride by upgrading factory components. Off-roading can be dangerous for both you and your car if you aren't prepared.
It is possible to drive more securely on the trails by following some simple guidelines. To keep any vehicle running smoothly, regular maintenance must be performed. To let your car run out of fluids is to guarantee its destruction. There are still cars from the 1950s on the road today because their owners took good care of them. When you're out in the wilderness, there are some obstacles you won't be able to dodge.
The method by which it is put to use is far more critical than its technical specifications. Pack some food and water if you plan on being on the trail for a while, and have a plan for how you'll get back. Men who have driven the new Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 over the Rubicon Trail were responsible for its design. Adding weight to a car reduces its speed, gas mileage, stopping power, and comfort. The increased up and down movement of your vehicle caused by larger tyres can damage your suspension.
Shortens the lifespan of crucial parts like bearings by altering the suspension's geometry. The best modification for off-road driving is a set of lightweight all-terrain tyres. All that's needed to repair a flat is an air compressor and a good plug kit. With the help of snatch straps and shackles, you can tow another vehicle or free yourself from a jam. Tire pressure should be between 20 and 8 psi for off-road driving.
Skid plates are extremely practical because they can be securely bolted into place and provide a high level of additional protection. They are also not going to affect your gas mileage or be difficult to remove.
- The actual specifications that add up to genuine capability have become muddled as a result of automaker marketing, which is one of the challenges that shoppers face when looking for a car or truck that can go off-road.
- The purpose of this article is to familiarise you with some of the most typical issues that can arise with your vehicle as a result of off-roading so that you will be able to identify them and bring your vehicle in to Ride Time for the necessary repairs.
- This is especially relevant for drivers whose vehicles are equipped with manual transmissions, and it is even more relevant for drivers who are unfamiliar with the proper way to shift gears when driving off-road.
- However, if you've done some serious four-wheeling and do it on a regular basis, you should check your vehicle's alignment on a more regular basis.
- Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to check that your tyres are up to the challenge of driving off-road.
- Stickers and decals that demonstrate that your vehicle is capable of four-wheeling and should be displayed with pride.
- When you drive off-road, it is inevitable that your vehicle will get dirty, and the likelihood of this happening is high.
- When you drive over rough and loose terrain, the undercarriage of your vehicle is going to sustain some damage, as you might expect given the circumstances.
- All of these things have the potential to cause damage to a variety of components under your vehicle.
- Last but not least, you risk compromising the structural soundness of the vehicle's chassis.
- If you don't know what you're doing, off-roading can be hazardous to the condition of your vehicle.
- It is in both your best interest and the best interest of your truck to make use of a spotter while you are out on the trail.
- It is essential to perform routine maintenance on any vehicle.
- Your off-road vehicle will serve you well for many years to come if you subject it to routine maintenance and treat it with the respect it deserves.
- As a result of this, you need to ensure that you are always ready for a malfunction.
- If you have the means to do so, purchasing a winch for your car or truck is likely to be one of the best investments you can make for handling difficult off-road conditions.
- Let's go over the most popular ways people improve their vehicles' off-road ability, starting with the most basic.
- An increase in the vehicle's mass has a negative effect on its velocity, gas mileage, stopping power, manoeuvrability, and comfort.
- If a vehicle has all of these parts, it can easily go off-road.
- The heavier tyres will put additional strain on your suspension as your car goes up and down the road, negatively impacting your vehicle's ride quality.
- Purchase a set of lightweight all-terrain tyres because they are the best upgrade you can make to your vehicle for use off-road, where punctures are no laughing matter.
- Off-roading, however, calls for an even deeper familiarity with your car.
FAQs About Off-roading
Overall, off-roading isn't harmful to your vehicle. Problems with your car and truck can be expected while going off-road, but if you take the proper precautions, you'll make it home without any broken parts.
These trucks typically are perfectly capable of driving on and off the road. They have larger tires, enhanced suspension systems, and higher clearances. You may see these vehicles flying over dunes or rough terrain on the highway. They can be used as daily commuter vehicles or for Overlanding adventures.
Here is what you get with ABS off. When you hit the brake excellent and hard, the wheels will lock up - the tires will immediately begin to dig in, pushing against sand and gravel - this builds little berms in front of each tire, which effectively slows down the vehicle.
As you can imagine, driving up, down, and around multiple obstacles will add more wear and tear to your transmission than would typically occur otherwise. This is especially true for people with manual transmission and even more so for those that don't know how to shift correctly when going off-road.
For dry ground, you need only good tires and knowledge of the route. Pre-planning and research are essential – know what you are getting yourself into. You can often find trails meant for off-roading in state and national parks. It's best to take on mud with tires to tackle slick situations.