Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Preparing Your Car for an Off-road Adventure

Off-road driving is a lot of fun. You can do it as a sport, a way to spend great time with family and friends or a way to get around while hunting or camping. Whatever the case, it is not just enough to have a huge truck with huge tires. Here are a few important things to consider if you want your vehicle to be unstoppable off-road.

Get good ground clearance

When driving in harsh terrain, the underside of your vehicle is exposed to a lot of tree trunks, rocks and boulders sticking out of the ground and a very uneven ground surface. Ground clearance is the space between the underside of your vehicle and the terrain; you will need a lot of it if you do not want to do any under-body damage. Even with good ground clearance, you still need skid plates when rock crawling. The steel skid plates can protect your gas tank, exhaust piles and other exposed items on the underside of your vehicle.

Get your angles right

There are three important angles to off-road driving; approach, departure and break over. The approach angle is the steepest hill the vehicle can climb without slamming the front bumper against the slope. The break over is the steepest crest that the vehicle can get over while the departure angle represent the steepest slope the vehicle can come down without slamming the rear bumper. It is advisable to have a lot of ground clearance and short overhangs for great angles.

Wheel articulation

When driving off-road, your wheels have two important roles, maximizing traction while maintaining stability. For off-road adventures, it is preferable to get a solid axle instead of independent suspension when your sway bars are disconnected since it gives better wheel articulation. Independent suspension is best for desert driving or driving in sandy places.

Get the right tires

You cannot go off-roading with street tires, unless you want to walk back home. You should get all-terrain tires or mid terrain tires for off-road driving. Good off-road tires have deep treads, tough sidewalls to withstand the harsh environment and the right rubber compound. 33inch and 35inch are the most popular off-roading tires. When driving off-road, reduce the inflation a little bit for greater contact patch between the tires and ground surface for maximum traction.

Get a high mountain air intake

You need a high air intake to avoid sucking water into your engine since it will hydrolock your engine. This can happen when your vehicle travels through a shallow puddle. You can use a snorkel to allow the vehicle to drive while completely submerged in water. It is important to also have good driving technique along with the high air intake to prevent hydrolocking your engine.

Other items that you should have in your off-road driving checklist include at least two spare tires, a wench in case you need to get pulled out of a muddy patch, a survival kit, a first aid box and a handy toolbox.
Posted by: Crawfordville Auto Repair and Tire