Five Things to Know Before Going Off-roading

August 21st, 2018 by

Jeep® brand vehicles are designed and built for off-roading, earning them borderline cult status while on the open road. Life on the trail is no walk in the park by any means, but Jeep makes it easy for consumers to get comfortable quickly. With top of the line safety features, and many 4×4 systems available, consumers can rest assured that off-roading in a Jeep is a bonafide adventure.

Preparing Your Vehicle

It is recommended that consumers perform a thorough vehicle check before heading out on the trail. Adventure fiends should check that the battery is fastened, all oil and fluids are topped off, all hoses are in good conditions and that the tank is full. All four tires should have sufficient tread in good conditions and adequate tire pressure. Off-roading alone is not recommended, especially in remote and unknown areas.

When to Engage 4WD

Drivers should be able to gauge when the need for additional traction presents itself. Engaging four-wheel-drive (4WD) after getting stuck is incredibly difficult and can quickly turn an afternoon of fun into one of horror. By looking over the hood and scanning from left to right, consumers will quickly see what they’re approaching on the trail and know when to engage 4WD. Experts say that drivers should avoid putting their head outside the vehicle to see what’s coming as it makes them lose focus on either side, further increasing the chances of getting the tires in trouble.

To speed or not to speed?

Off-roading is not intended to be a race – in fact, speed and power are not required in rough off-road driving. Experts recommend that vehicles crawl over obstacles in the lowest gear, and low speed (almost idling) will generally pull a Jeep 4×4 vehicle victoriously over a trail. Fun fact: the average speed at the famed Rubicon Trail is a moderate range of one-to-five miles per hour.

Maintaining Momentum

Just like we mentioned before, low speeds and knowing when to engage the 4WD system are key to responsibly off-roading activities. If snow or mud is present on the driving surface, drivers should engage their on-demand or part-time 4WD system. Particular attention should be paid to the gears, making sure not to shift to a lower gear than necessary to maintain momentum. Experts recommend that drivers should steer clear of over-revving their engine – this will cause for the tires to spin in place and lose traction. If traction is lost in snow or mud, rapidly turning the steering wheel back and forth will help the tires bite into fresh terrain and regain traction.

Trail Behavior

Leave it better than you found it is the motto when venturing outdoors. Sound judgment to protect the beauty and solitude of nature should always be used. Nothing should be left behind, and all trash needs to be disposed of accordingly. Off-roaders should observe all posted signs, stay on trails and only off-road in approved and designated recreation areas. If the terrain looks fragile, an alternative route should be chosen. Treading lightly is the key.

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