Auto Mechanic Shop Off-Roading FAQ’s

When it comes to outdoor adventures, none is as wild and enjoyable as off-roading. Taking out your 4 wheeler, heading out to rocky terrain, sandy deserts, through rivers and open fields makes for a fun day out. After all, that’s what Jeeps, buggies and other 4WD vehicles are built for.

As off-roading aficionados, we at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive love testing our machines out on the trail. Other than coming up with awesome custom builds for our clients, we also organize various off-roading events. Thanks to living in Utah, we can always go on off-roading adventures whenever we want- something we regularly take advantage of.

In our line of work, we get a lot of clients who are interested in trying their hand at off-roading. They often have lots of questions to ask and are generally curious about how such adventures turn out. We decided to compile some of the most frequently asked questions to help you get started on safe 4×4 off-roading:

How do I prepare my 4×4 vehicle for off-roading?

Before hitting the trails, it’s a good idea to ensure that your 4×4 is trail-ready. Take it to a full-service auto shop and have them rotate and align your tires. You should also check that your battery is securely fastened, all your vehicle’s hoses are in good condition, air filters are clear and all fluids are topped off. Basically, confirm that your vehicle is running smoothly.

What 4×4 upgrades and modifications does my vehicle need for off-roading?

Many 4x4s are already primed for off-roading. However, depending on your rig’s make and model, you might need a few upgrades and modifications to boost its performance. Some basic ones include a lift kit and suspension upgrades for more ground clearance, bigger sturdier tires and wheels for better grip, stronger off-road lights as well as brake and shock upgrades. The modifications you make on your machine depend on the kind of off-roading you intend to do. If you intend to get a lift kit or change your suspension, seek out the services of qualified mechanics from a custom suspension shop to ensure your 4x4s handling isn’t compromised.

What’s the best time of year to go off-roading in Moab Or St. George?

As long as your vehicle is properly equipped, weather shouldn’t be a deterrent to off-roading. Keep an eye on the weather though, especially in Moab as it’s likely to change without warning, giving you a thorough drenching. So be prepared for weather changes by packing extra warm clothing, rain gear, blankets, extra batteries, etc.

What different off roading terrain am I likely to encounter when four wheeling?

That depends on where you’re off-roading. The terrain varies from swampy marshland, snow-covered mountain tops to sandy beaches. Here in Utah, you’re likely to find yourself shredding dunes in the desert, crawling over rocky terrain, mudding and even driving through rivers and streams.

How do I handle rock crawling and approaching other off road obstacles?

Going over huge boulders and obstacles is called “crawling” for a reason. It’s more about skillful navigation and maneuvering than speed and power. The best technique to use is to put your vehicle in low gear and low range 4WD and to let it crawl and idle over rocks with very little throttle. If you’re using manual transmission, letting out the clutch and allowing your vehicle to crawl at the lowest gear should get you over those obstacles. Ensure that your off-roader is fitted with skid plates and rock guards to protect some vital components like the fuel tank and transfer case.

What are the most common off-roading accidents or vehicle issues?

Off-roading has an element of danger and the thrilling adrenalin rush you get from it contributes to the sense of adventure. However, safety is a big part of off-roading too. Some of the most common incidents you might encounter on the trails include broken axles, dead batteries, broken glass (lights, windows), flat tires, blocked air filters, dented bumpers, running out of fuel, getting stuck and sometimes vehicles might even tip over.

It’s vital to pack extra supplies like extra batteries, food and water to tide you over in case you find yourself stranded out on the trail due to an accident.

Are there any general off roading safety rules to follow?

It’s advisable to know the off-roading rules and regulations in your area. Some general safety rules to follow include:

  • Always familiarize yourself with the tail before going on a serious run. The trails in Utah are mapped out and well-marked so it should be easy to go and get a feel of the one you choose to avoid unpleasant surprises. Remember to carry both GPS and physical maps to help you find your way around.

  • Always go off-roading with someone so you’re not alone in case of an accident or mechanical vehicle failure. You should also tell someone else where you’re going and carry enough supplies to tide you over in case you get stranded and have to wait for help.

  • Get the right vehicle for the off-roading adventure you want and ensure it’s running well. Additionally, make sure you are familiar with the vehicle e.g. if it has enough clearance, what kind of transmission it uses etc.

  • Always pack an off-roading emergency kit containing spares, tools, clothing, a fire extinguisher and anything else that might come in handy should you get stuck out there.

How should I behave on the local off roading trails?

Be a responsible off-roader by sticking to the designated recreational and off-roading areas at all times. Also, don’t litter or leave any trash behind. Take it a step further and pick up any trash you find lying around to ensure you leave the trails better than you found them.

Nothing makes us happier at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive than seeing off-road enthusiasts having the time of their lives out on the trails. Stop by one of our shops in Utah and we’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have about your 4×4 vehicle or off-roading.

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