There’s a chill in the air as fall is approaching, warning that winter is right around the corner.
If you’re planning on doing any wheeling once the cold weather hits, it’s essential that you prep your truck or Jeep with a few things more than a new front bumper for the challenges that cold weather off-roading presents.
Get your off-road beast ready for winter trails following this simple guide so you can have fun in the snow while avoiding unnecessary problems!
Start With Winterizing Maintenance
Cold temperatures affect your truck’s many systems differently than hot temperatures, that’s why it’s important to do winterizing maintenance before you start heading out to the trails in the snow and sub-freezing weather.
Include these maintenance tasks in your winter preparations so your truck runs and functions in the cold just as if it were other day:
- Battery Check – Colder temperatures can kill a weak battery, so test yours and if it’s weakening, think about replacing it before you risk heading off-road and have it die.
- Change and Top Fluids – Start off with an oil change and switch to a lighter-viscosity oil that will keep your engine well-protected even during cold starts. Change to fresh anti-freeze and make sure your cooling system is working properly, then check your brake system to ensure you have enough fluid there as well.
- Windshield Care – Keeping a clear windshield becomes more challenging in cold weather, so change to an anti-freeze windshield fluid and keep the reservoir filled. New wiper blades heading into winter are another good idea so you’ll have streak-free vision.
- Interior Heating – While you’re checking to make sure your new front bumper is properly mounted and all your critical systems are functioning and well-maintained, check that your heating system works as off-roading in winter with no heat in your truck or Jeep is uncomfortable at the least, dangerous at the worst.
- General Overall Check – Lastly, just go around your truck and make sure the lights all work, it’s well lubricated in all the important places, and your auxiliary outlet works so you can keep your phone charged or your other communication or GPS devices connected
Take Care of Traction
The next step is to consider your traction, as driving on ice and snow is somewhat different than driving on dry trails or even in the mud.
A good set of A/T tires is usually fine for occasional off-roading in the snow, so you may be able to make do with what you’re using the rest of the year as long as the tread is good and you air down just slightly to soften them up a bit.
In necessary, you can add a set of chains to improve your traction when you need to, just remember to bring them with you!
If your plans are to spend a good amount of time playing in the snow or want to get more extreme with your snow driving, you’d be wise to invest in a set of snow tires.
Snow tires are designed with a tread that will grip the snow and are also more flexible than other tires, so they stay a little pliant in the colder temperatures for better traction.
Be Ready for A Recovery or Repair
As always, no matter when or where you’re out off-roading, be prepared to do a recovery.
Whether you end up stuck in deep snow or something breaks, plan on it happening and needing to find a way out.
Recovery in snow is almost the same as any other recovery, except you’ll need to have a few extra items on hand to help in case you need to dig yourself out, including a shovel, traction mats, and some kitty litter or sand.
A winch mounted on a new steel bumper is most handy in any kind of recovery, so make sure yours is well-maintained so it works when you need it, then be sure to carry the right recovery straps, shackles, and more to use with it.
In addition to your recovery gear, keep basic repair tools and items with you just like you do any other time you go off-roading.
Carry a spare and a way to change it, extra fluids, a tool kit and whatever basic parts could give you trouble; add an emergency kit to those items and you’re ready to roll.
Get Ready for Snowy Off-Road Fun
Now that your truck is prepped and ready to go, all you need to do is get yourself ready with the right winter wear to keep you toasty while you spin donuts in the snow.
As a last bit of maintenance to prevent corrosion and keep your truck or Jeep ready for its next time out, stop off at the wash bays on your way home to rinse all the ice and road salt off your truck that could otherwise cause a lot of damage over time.
Take these recommended tips to prep and care for your off-road truck and you’ll enjoy a 4-wheeling winter wonderland once the snow starts falling!