Joining the off-roading community can seem like entering a new world that's complete with its own language. If you just got a souped-up truck and are new to off-roading, you’ve likely heard some words and terms tossed around and be wondering what they mean, especially regarding modifications and different vehicle components. Here are some of the most common off-road components used in off-roading and what they are.
>>>>Bead Lock Wheels - These are wheels designed with metal clamps at the edges that hold the tire bead in place. Bead lock wheels are important when airing down your tires to keep the tire from coming off the wheel and leaving you with a flat.
>>>>Differential - The differential is the set of gears that receives power from the drivetrain and diverts it to the axles to turn the wheels. There are a number of differentials used on off-roading trucks such as automatic differentials that put the truck in 4WD on its own, limited slip differentials that reduce slip but do not fully lock the differential, and a locked differential that keeps the truck or Jeep in 4WD all the time.
>>>>D-Ring - A D-ring or D-shackle is a heavy-duty D-shaped shackle used for recovering or towing a vehicle. The D-ring is used to connect snatch straps and winch cables to a vehicle at its D-ring attachments on bumpers for safe pulling. The D-ring attachments are connection points welded to the frame, making them a safe anchor point.
>>>>Fairlead - This is a steel part installed on the front of the winch drum that keeps the winch cable rolling in flat and laying straight on the drum.
>>>>Lift Block - This component is a metal spacer block used in some types of body lifts to raise the body higher off the suspension springs.
>>>>Locker - This is a part that can be added to a differential to ensure it is locked in 4-wheel drive so it always sends power to both wheels. Lockers prevent slipping and increase traction by keeping all wheels going even if they lose traction.
>>>>Skid Plates - These are protective steel plates that bolt up under your truck and shield critical components. Skid plates are available in many types and sizes to protect your oil pan and gas tank, drivetrain, control arms, and other vulnerable parts.
>>>>Off-Road Bumpers - These bumpers are heavy-duty steel replacement bumpers that offer superior protection to the front and rear of your truck or Jeep. They are stronger and higher off the ground than standard Jeep or truck bumpers and some are welded to the frame so they can function as a towing anchor point.
>>>>Snatch Block - This component is a heavy-duty pulley that is used for winching from a bumper so you can winch from an angle. Snatch blocks can also be used to double up the winch cable on the bumper to increase pulling power.
>>>>Stinger Bar - This strange-looking component is a tubular steel off-road bumper that comes to a high point in the center, which makes it look like the stinger on a bee. Stinger bars prevent an off-roader from rolling should it lose balance while descending at a very steep angle.
>>>>Transfer Case - This part is an essential part of the transmission on every 4WD vehicle. The transfer case receives its power from the transmission and its gears then transfer this power to both the front and rear axles.
>>>>Tow Hooks - These units are heavy-duty hooks welded to the frame in the front and back of an off-roader. Tow hooks are sturdy enough to use as anchor points for snatch and winch recoveries.
>>>>Winch Drum - This component is the spool on a winch that rolls up the winch cable. Winch drums come in a variety of sizes depending on the size and capacity of the winch. Winch drum capacity indicates how much cable or rope can be wound on the drum.
While these are far from the only components you will encounter in learning more about off-roading in your truck or Jeep, they are some of the more common and important terms you should understand. As you get more involved in the activity and begin talking to more off-roading enthusiasts like yourself, you will definitely pick up more of this lingo with every off-road trail you travel!