Did you just buy your first Jeep or 4X4 vehicle and decide you want to try some four wheeling? I bet you are already scouring all the aftermarket websites and catalogs trying to figure out which upgrades you are going to do first. I recently had a discussion with long time off-roading enthusiast Donnie Langdale about this and he had some great advice on how to settle on what modifications you should start with.
STOP! Before you break out the credit card and spend a ton of money on parts you need to take one very important step fist. Take your rig off road! Driving your vehicle in 100% stock from makes you a better driver and gives you a clear picture of what the limitations of your 4X4 really are. This gives you a good base line of what off roading is really like and in many ways will tell you quickly what upgrades need to be done first.
That being said here are the fist changes you are likely going to want to make:
- Bigger is not always better! It is tempting to buy tires that are taller than you are but it is about traction and not looks. Street tires don’t offer much grip on the dirt so look for a good all-terrain or mud tires. This will give you a lot more traction and you will be amazed on the difference this simple change can make.
Get a traction device for rear axle:
Known as “Lockers” these devices are inserted into the differentials of your axles and then they force both of the wheels that are connected to it to spin at the same time even if one of those tires is in the air. These can cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending if you buy the mechanically actuated kind or the push button selectable versions that are available.
Heavy duty bumpers and towing points:
Face it, you are going to get stuck eventually. I have been on the trail with people too many times where they get stuck in a rut and don’t have a good place to hook a strap to. This is dumb! Not only can you hurt your vehicle but you have the potential of hurting others. Most stock bumpers are not made to drag your 6 thousand pound jeep out of a hole. You can get heavy duty off road bumpers or at least mount four rescue hooks two in the front two in the back (with clips!) to your rig. Trust me if you don’t you will look like an idiot the first time you get real stuck.
For other great tips on: Off-roading for beginners check the Podcast.
Have more questions about off-roading or the out doors? I would love to here from you! Post a comment or shoot me an email at Preparedidiot@gmail.com.