12 Ways to Go Off Road without Damage
When off-roading, you don’t want your vehicle to incur more damage than off-roading already does. The experience should be as much fun as track or road driving.
Unfortunately, reckless driving techniques can turn off-roading into an expensive hobby.
The good news is I’ll share the top tips I use to off-road so I don’t damage my vehicle.
1) Slow Down
I can’t overemphasize this. Slowing down while off-roading is the one bit I keep hammering into my buddies’ noggins when they go for off-roading trips.
Go slow, and have deliberate actions. Off-roading is all about going slow as possible and only as fast as necessary.
Ideally, you should ease into your driving and keep everything in moderation. Don’t be too hard on the gas pedals; this will save you lots of scrapes, broken stuff, and money. After all, off-roading is about the journey and not about the destination.
2) Air Down
Tip number two is should always have tires suited for your terrain. More importantly, the tires should be aired down.
Airing down your tires makes a huge difference in how you handle your vehicles. Aired-down tires have an extra grip and deliver a butter-smooth riding experience.
So, how much do you air down your tires?
This is usually a touchy subject. While airing down your tires will help with grip, it makes you more susceptible to blowing a bead.
I usually air my tires down to 10 to 12 PSI, which is the baseline for most off-roading enthusiasts. However, I’ve seen guys air the tire pressure down to 5 PSI with bead locks in the snow.
The size tire is important and determines how low you can go. For example, I’ve gone as low as 1 PSI, but I had a 42″ tire, so I had plenty of sidewalls to play with.
3) Carry some plywood
Depending on the terrain and conditions you’re wheeling on, it helps to pack some plywood. It is handy when you’re stuck and need to regain traction on your tires.
4) Know your Vehicle’s Limits
I usually advise off-roaders not to mess around to impress people or try showing off, especially if they don’t know the limits of their vehicles.
My advice is only to do what you feel comfortable with. Remember, no one will come to your aid when you need to fix broken stuff they challenged you to do.
5) Understand your terrain
Next, it’s important to understand your terrain and know how to maneuver it. Every obstacle and situation requires a different approach.
For example, I’m a lifelong manual Jeeper and can tell you the key to running a muddy course is wheel spin. Meanwhile, rocky terrain requires a slow and steady approach.
The main thing to remember is to know your terrain and the best driving techniques; it’ll save you from unnecessary damages.
6) Giving up is an option
Knowing when to give up, especially when you’re stuck is important. Most damage on off-road vehicles usually comes from people who won’t just stop until they’re completely buried or wrecked.
I advise that you never give in to peer pressure. Friendly encouragement is okay, but stop if you don’t feel comfortable doing an obstacle.
7) Equipment is Key
Having the right equipment and knowing how to use them is crucial for preventing damage to your off-road vehicle.
Most of the things to bring are pretty cheap for the most part, and chances are you already have them. They include:
- Tire gauge
- Spare tire
- Fire extinguisher
- First aid kit
Also, most guys are usually quick to push for mods. I suggest you put that money towards other important stuff like gas. Get out, and see what your vehicle is capable of. If it’s not equipped for the type of trails you’ll go to, then the mods become obvious.
You must also inspect your vehicle before heading out. You don’t want something to break on its way.
8) Don’t Go if You’re Unsure
You must never head out if you’re unsure about the conditions ahead. For example, if you’re unsure how deep the waters are, consider dipping a stick to understand what you’re getting into and determine whether your vehicle can accommodate the depth.
And if you’re in a group and unsure of your rig’s handling ability, allow others to lead you and watch their lines closely. It’ll give you an idea of which way or how you’ll handle an obstacle or terrain, especially if you don’t want to damage your vehicle or have broken parts.
9) Have a Right-Hand Man
It is important to have a right-hand man who knows what they’re doing to pull you out. They shouldn’t be the guys trying to show off and rip your rig or won’t stop even when you’re clear.
If you’re n doubt, look at the direction you’re getting pulled out. Many off-roaders usually have their vehicle broken when getting pulled over or through an obstacle when they should have been pulled the other way.
10) Have Recovery Gear
Have some recovery gear, especially if you’re when eling alone.
11) Have Fun
You should have fun and not get too nervous about the whole experience. Many people, especially beginners, worry more about what might break or go wrong with their vehicle than having fun.
12) Watch and Lean from Experienced Drivers
Like anything else, off-roading takes practice and experience. My best advice is to go out with fellow off-roaders several times, and you’ll quickly learn the dos and don’ts.
It’s best you head out with the experienced guys and watch what they do. Having a veteran in your passenger seat is a bonus. And the good thing with the off-roading community is most guys are more than willing to offer a helping hand.
- Constant revving will screw up your engine
- Never get pulled against the slope of a dune
- Don’t brake hard
- Keep your windows open and listen to your car and surrounding. Most times, you hear shit coming before you see it.
- If you are sliding down and going sideways, go with gravity. It wins all the time.
It’s a wrap and everything you should know about off-roading judiciously. The trick is simply being cautious. Remember off-roading in commercials is just that, a commercial. Take things slowly, don’t try shit you’re unsure about, and do what feels safe.
Regarding your vehicle breaking down, understand it’s part of the off-roading experience. It’ll happen sooner or later.
But the way I look at off-roading is like gambling in a casino. You don’t go to a casino expecting to win money, but it’s nice if you do. Same case with off-roading; always go there expecting to break something, but it’s nice if you don’t.