Whether you enjoy rock crawling, hill climbing, or just driving the trails, off-roading puts demands on your truck that are above and beyond what would normally be experienced on the road.
It’s one significant reason why serious off-roaders modify their trucks, beefing up certain components that face more abuse, to make them more durable and reliable in those extreme conditions.
The brakes on your truck are definitely one of those high-abuse components that you have to consider before ending up in a dangerous situation.
Factory brakes are designed to withstand normal use; however, once you take your truck off-road it’s a different story.
Can yours handle the demands of off-roading or do you need to add bigger, stronger brakes?
Off-Roading Is More Demanding&
It’s essential to realize before hitting the trails that off-roading is much more demanding on your truck than street driving, even taking the novice trails.
That’s because you’ll be touching the brakes more frequently and many times in a different way than you would just slowing down at a corner or stoplight.
Effective braking done with techniques like threshold braking for safe forward and backward downhill crawls and maintaining safe speeds while going through mud and water all wear rotors and brake pads faster.
This happens partially because of more frequent braking in general; however, it is also due to increased friction and heat buildup that quickly deteriorates rotors and pads.
Off-Roading Requires More Stopping Power
Why is off-roading so particularly hard on brakes?
It’s because you need more stopping power overall, since braking is one of the main ways to keep control of your truck while tackling obstacles and keeping the ride smoother when rolling down uneven trails.
Threshold braking is especially hard on the brake components since it essentially involves holding the whole weight of your truck under control on a downward decline using just the brakes, something that normally does not happen on the road.
The steeper the decline, the more pressure you need to apply to the brakes and the more friction affects them and generates more of that destructive heat.
The conditions are not at all the same as other types of driving; in terms of coming down or slowing down, brakes are the main component that gives you total control.
Factory Brakes May Not Be Enough
With this in mind, it’s critical to understand that the factory brakes on your truck may not be enough to handle the type of off-roading you want to tackle.
Trucks equipped with off-road packages frequently come with thicker rotors and bigger brake pads that can handle more friction than standard factory parts can.
This is definitely an advantage; however, it still might not be enough if you off-road frequently or really test your truck’s capabilities with hill climbing and negotiating especially difficult trails.
If you already sense that your factory brakes aren’t as strong as you need for safe off-roading, whether due faster wear or not getting necessary control and performance, upgrading your truck's brakes is a good idea.
Thicker rotors and bigger brake pads can handle harder work without warping or wearing out too quickly.
Rotors designed specifically for off-roading with vents that help dissipate friction heat are another option.
Consider replacing rear drum brakes and shoes with rotors and pads as drum brakes are generally not strong enough to deliver the type of control of your truck that is needed for safe off-roading.
Don’t Get Stuck with Broken Brakes!
The brakes on your truck are one of the most important control components for fun and safe off-roading.
When your truck's factory brakes wear out quickly and don't give enough control or you want to try more aggressive off-roading activities, upgrading your brake components might be necessary.
Like other parts that need a durable replacement to withstand the demand that off-roading can deliver, your brakes might need beefing up, too!