Offroading in your Jeep or 4X4 is a lot of fun until you get stranded because of broken mods or gear, and nobody is around to help you! Avoiding common offroading mistakes means you’ll stay safe, and your 4X4 or Jeep will withstand much less unnecessary damage.
Not Planning Your Route
Before hitting the (off)road, ensure you know where you’re going! It’s not enough to carry a GPS and wing it; what happens if you’re deep in nature and lose a signal? Take out a good, old-fashioned map and consider your offroad route. Take into account the route’s topography and ensure you take the right tools along to travel that rocky terrain. You could take the wrong turn right off a steep cliff without being armed with that information.
Better yet, talk to your offroading crew or head online to forums to see what other drivers share. These word-of-mouth resources are even better than scoping out a map. You’ll get a solid heads-up and helpful tips on successfully traveling your trails.
Going Offroading Alone
Think about the scenario above: What would you do if you did break down or get hurt on the trail without anyone around to help? Offroading in your 4X4 or Jeep is an inherently dangerous hobby, and having a partner (or team) on the trail helps you out of trouble.
If you don’t have off-road IRL friends, the internet is a great way to find some. There are websites and social media groups designed specifically for offroad adventures. If you absolutely must go offroading by your lonesome, give someone the details of where you’re going and how long you expect to be out.
Forgetting the Proper Gear
Bottom line? You need to bring the right gear with you on the trails. You’ll need a full gas tank, a tow rope, a spare tire and jack, a first aid kit, and your phone — that’s the bare minimum. You could also benefit from recommended mods like a winch, a high-lift jack, LED headlights, and a fire extinguisher.
If you’re unsure which mods are right for your 4×4, ask the technician when you bring it in for regularly scheduled maintenance (something you also need to do before hitting the trails.) Their experience will help guide you in the right direction regarding mods. They’ll suggest the best solutions based on what you need for off-road success.
Using the Wrong Tires
How long has it been since you replaced the tires on your 4×4? If you have a newer vehicle or one that’s new to you, likely, you’ve not yet had to replace them. Because the tires on your 4×4 are different from those on traditional cars, it’s important to do some research before making a purchase.
Mud tires for 4x4s have pretty heavy tread, with deeper channels that can easily dig through sludge and mud without losing traction. If you’re the type of driver that takes your vehicle mainly off-road, these might be your best choice. The tread patterns on them are also great for rocky terrains. They can protect tires from punctures and conform better to the trail’s topography.
Not Staying On the Trail
There are signs marking the route for a reason – don’t go off-trail into the brush that’s not meant for offroading. Make sure your 4X4 crosses streams or water where designated and drive over obstacles (and not around them) to avoid making the trail wider than it’s intended. Additionally, don’t dump your trash on the trail, and be a good citizen by picking up any litter that you see along the way.
Hidden dangers lie outside of the trail, too. Even if you have a map handy, you never know what to expect beyond the marked off road trail. There could be dangerous wildlife or natural hazards that even 4X4 mods, tools, and gear can’t protect you from.
Not Calling Us Before Offroading
Armed with the knowledge of offroad mistakes to avoid and a 4X4 or Jeep equipped with all the right mods, you’ll be hitting the trails in no time! Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team when you’re ready to start your 4×4 adventures and ask them about offroading mistakes they work hard to avoid!