4 Off-Roading Upgrades You Need To Keep Your Truck Safe
Whether you’re looking for adventure or need a work vehicle that can handle rugged terrain, off-roading capability can be an important feature in a truck. If you’ve just become the owner of a new (or new-to-you) truck, you might need a few upgrades that will help you get the most fun and functionality out of your ride — and keep it safe while you’re out there. Here are four important boxes you should tick:
Is your truck heavy- or light-bodied? Your answer will determine which tires are right for your vehicle. In either case, they need to be all-terrain, so they can safely grip a variety of surfaces, like mud, wet grass, dirt, rock or sand. To make the best use of these tires, your truck should be equipped with genuine 4WD, not AWD, and have locking differentials on both the front and the rear. They should be large enough to roll over the size obstacles you expect to encounter, but not so large that they require ridiculously high suspension.
Most stock suspension systems do not have the capability for true off-roading. If your vehicle isn’t already fitted with a heavy duty truck frame crossmember, you’ll need one with high enough clearance to make it over the kind of terrain features you’re likely to encounter. Plus, upgraded suspension often comes with higher-quality components, which will give you the added bonus of having a smoother ride when you’re on regular pavement.
Your truck could take a beating when you’re taking it off road, so you may need protective equipment to keep the body, frame and undercarriage safe from damage. Depending on how you’re going to use your truck, you should consider:
- Body armor
- Rocker guards
- Roll bars
- Specialized bumpers
Again, it really does matter how you’re going to use your truck. Over-modifying or over-protecting it is unnecessary, and can actually make using your truck inconvenient, uncomfortable or even unsafe during regular use.
4. Recovery and Safety Gear
How far off road will you go? The gear you need should fit how you intend to use your truck. For most purposes, you should have a basic tool kit, air compressor, tire deflator and recovery board, along with snatch strap and shackles — they’re easier and safer to use than a winch.
Off-roading as a hobby, or even as part of your job, can be satisfying and fun, provided you are prepared with the right equipment, tools and vehicle. Make sure you are well-informed, too. There are many resources and off-road enthusiasts out there to answer any questions you might have.