Chances are, there are two types of offroaders reading this article before setting out to hit the trails with their decked-out trucks. Are you the offroader that assumes you really don’t need that much in extras like aftermarket bumpers and big tires or are you the offroader who blows tons of money on every aftermarket upgrade and gadget out there trying to protect your special truck? Neither one of these situations is ideal for what should be some pretty obvious reasons.
So what kind of protection do you really need before hitting the trails? Here’s a little bit of information to help you decide and be well protected while getting the most value from your upgrade budget.
Know Your Truck and Its Limitations
The first and most important element in protection is understanding your truck and what it can do. Based on the make and model of your offroad truck and whatever features it includes, you should be able to estimate from the get-go what you can safely do and what offroading activities you should avoid.
Besides the technical explanations of what to do and not do with the truck, you’ll also want to be really familiar with how it handles in various normal and offroading driving conditions. Using a common sense approach, get a feel for how the truck responds and its offroad strengths and weak points.
How Do You Use Your Truck?
Once you know your truck and what to expect from it, you can pick and choose the types of activities you want to safely challenge. In itself, this is the biggest form of protection as pushing offroad trucks beyond their safe limits is a recipe for disaster. Adding aftermarket parts like lights and tires and custom bumpers doesn’t change the fact that some offroad trucks just shouldn’t be used for certain things like extreme hill climbing or water forging.
Base Equipment Selection On Your Activities
Besides a sense self-preservation, you can best protect your offroad truck by equipping it with the right gear according to your offroading preferences. Prioritize your needs based on your experience and the types of trails you drive to get the best use of your money. Invest in what you need at a reasonable yet adequate price rather than trying to get more equipment at a lower price and risk sacrificing quality. Think about things like bigger and better tires, lift kits, and a more durable suspension if you like rock crawling and hill climbing. Don't forget to add the right kind of aftermarket truck bumpers to protect you in those situations. These things make the most sense to start with, as they can help in most offroading activities.
Offroad lighting is a safety feature if you like traveling the trails at night. If you like the water, make sure you invest in the right snorkels and other water protection for the engine and computer or you could end up taking one last, expensive swim! If you take your Jeep on overnight trips or to really remote locations, you’ll want to pack things like extra fuel, oil, and other parts for a field repair so you can get back to civilization every trip.
A decked-out truck with tall tires, a lift kit, and lighting out the wazoo can look pretty impressive - but that doesn’t mean its necessarily protected from the perils of the trail. Get the protection your truck needs by understanding its limitations, then equipping for those specific needs. By choosing the right aftermarket parts and adding the right operating equipment, your truck will perform better and be appropriately protected against all those hazards out on the trails!