When it comes to setting up your off-road truck or Jeep, chances are you’ve been given a lot of different advice. Naturally, you want to make do the mods that will make your vehicle more capable on the trail, in the mud, or wherever you plan on driving it. You also want to spend wisely, which can really add up when you're talking about steel bumpers for your ride.
So what about all this advice? The truth is, there are a lot of off-roading myths out there. At the very least, you could pay for custom modifications that won’t give you what you really want. At the worst, you could end up trying to tackle more than your ride can really handle. Learn the truth about these 5 common off-roading fables so you can make the best decisions.
1. Lift Kits Improve Your Truck’s Abilities
Body lift kits raise your truck's body with its custom bumpers to make more room for bigger wheels and tires and prevent fender interference. Suspension lift kits do that and also give more ground clearance. While both of these details can be very important if you need bigger tires and want to maximize ground clearance, that is all lift kits do.
You may have more of an ability to climb rocks and negotiate really aggressive trails, but that comes with a trade-off. A taller truck with steel bumpers has a higher center of gravity and can roll over more easily. This can make actually doing such climbs more challenging and even more dangerous.
2. More Horsepower Means More Off-Road Power
Another common myth about off-roading is that you need more and higher horsepower to do more with your truck. This is completely false and can even make off-roading very dangerous.
Because off-roading is done at slower speeds, what you need is torque, not horsepower. The more torque your engine has and the lower your gears are, the more capable your ride will be on the trail.
3. Leaf Springs Are Better Than Coil Springs
Many people believe that leaf springs are stronger than coil springs, so they should always be used on an off-road vehicle. While this may have been true in the past, there are plenty of durable, off-road capable coil springs available that are just as strong.
Both leaf springs and coil springs are each great for different reasons, so don't assume you can’t use one or the other. Use whatever one is best for you.
4. Manual Is Always Better Than Automatic
Although it has been and always will be one of the main arguments among off-roaders, there really is no difference between manual and automatic for off-roading today. Today’s more advanced automatics offer greater control and smoother, more efficient torque conversion than most manuals. Generally speaking, they are nearly the same. If you find a manual to be more fun, go for it. Don’t discount any off-road truck just because it has an automatic, though.
5. 4WD Is Always Better Than 2WD
Of course, 4WD is essential for getting you over rocks, up and down hills, and through mud. In most off-road situations, all you want is 4WD. In other conditions, 4WD can actually get you in more trouble than 2WD. Whether on the road or out in the field, ice is only going to cause you to spin 4 wheels instead of 2.
Driving in 4WD also tends to make some off-road drivers careless if they develop a sense that they can conquer anything. 4WD is an important tool for great off-roading; however, it is just that - a tool and one that must be used correctly at the right times.
So, before you run out to get that lift kit or start thinking you need an engine with more horsepower to tackle bigger obstacles, think again. These 5 fables of off-roading could steer you wrong, and even get you in trouble. Once you understand your truck or Jeep's capabilities and how to handle it, you’ll have better luck in choosing the best modifications. Save some money for those great steel truck bumpers!