Ready to jump into your off-road vehicle and hit the trails? If so, remember the importance of establishing a game plan. You need to look out for the safety of yourself and your vehicle. Here we’ll be discussing how to protect your vehicle from mud, sand, and other elements, as well as various off-road parts you might need while on your trip.
Before Taking Off
You need to know what you’re getting yourself into in terms of the location, terrain, weather, and so forth. Your vehicle needs to be able to handle these factors. Be sure to do the following:
- Research – Understand the trail or area in which you’ll be off-roading. There are often websites that will grade certain trails based on their level of difficulty, as well as provide information on what you can expect. Many times, these sites include areas where people can post pictures of the trails and leave comments on what they thought of them. Not only do you want to know your vehicle can handle the terrain, you also want to be sure it’s a trail that sounds fun and exciting to you.
- Have your vehicle inspected – You should have a multipoint inspection on your vehicle before taking off. This involves taking your vehicle to a mechanic or local dealer and having them inspect all of the key areas of your vehicle to ensure it is going to function properly. They should inspect the engine, shocks, tires, belts, hoses, fluids, and so forth. Usually this costs roughly $100, although this depends on the make and model of your vehicle.
- Inform – Tell someone when and where you’re going, and when they can expect you back. That last thing you want is to get lost knowing no one knows where you are. Even with modern technology, reaching a point where you are incommunicado is very possible. It’s also a good idea to travel with someone.
Bring Back-up Recovery Gear
There’s always the chance of getting stuck on the trail, even if you’ve had your vehicle thoroughly inspected. It happens to just about all off-roaders at some point. Some essential recovery gear you should have includes:
- Tire Repair Kit – Some of the more difficult trails are rife with jagged rocks that are sharp enough to puncture even the toughest off-road tires. You should have a tire repair kit in your vehicle with a spare or two.
- Jump Starter and Power Bank – It’s common for people to get out on the trails only to have their vehicle die. In these cases, you will want a jump starter and power bank that’s powerful enough to bring your vehicle back to life. It should also be able to power your GPS unit and phone.
- Winch – This can be mounted to the front or rear bumpers of a vehicle and incorporates a chain or cable that can be tied around a tree. Then, it can pull your vehicle out of an area in which you’ve gotten stuck. It can also be used to help out another off-roader if they’ve gotten stuck.
- Traction Ramps – These are essential if you’re going on a trail that’s excessively muddy or snowy, especially if there aren’t going to be any other vehicles around to tow you out when you’re stuck.
How To Handle The Terrain
The two main factors that determine the level of trail difficulty you can handle are the way you drive your vehicle and what kind of vehicle you are driving. You will need a basic understanding of the terrain. Are you driving in mud or snow? How about a desert road with a lot of gravel and sand. Will there be large puddles? These are all things you need to keep in mind before taking off. Here are some tips to keep you safe while off-roading.
- Dirty and gravely trails – Keep your thumbs outside of the steering wheel. The reason is so you don’t break one of them if you go over a sudden bump. It’s also important to make minor steering corrections when necessary. Pay close attention to the trail and avoid overcorrecting.
- Sand dunes and beach trails – First and foremost, make sure it’s legal to off-road in these areas. Check for nearby signs. There are cases when you may need a permit before you can access these areas. The air pressure in your tires should be lowered to roughly 15 PSI. Also, don’t lose momentum; that said, don’t exceed 25 miles per hour. If you’re driving on a beach, research the tides. If tides are high, your vehicle can sink into the sand, in which case you’ll have to gain traction by moving your tires back and forth.
- Muddy trails – The conditions of muddy trail are similar to those of sand. It’s important to drive consistently and at relatively slow speed. If you begin to get stuck, gently move your steering wheel left and right to gain traction. All Terrain Tires are a great thing to have if you are going to be off-roading on a muddy trail.
Red Desert Off-Road For Off-Road Vehicle Products
For all of your off-roading needs, contact Red Desert Off-Road. They provide a wide variety of off-road products and accessories, as well as Line-X, a protective liner product that can give your vehicle the rugged exterior protection it needs for your next off-road adventure.