The weather is turning nicer again and you know what that means, right?
Time to get out on the trail and start enjoying some off-roading with your Jeep!
Whether you’re a well-seasoned trail rider or newer at it all, the basics of enjoying your day out are the same: know how to handle the trail and you can drive it as long and far as you want.
Tip #1 - Understand How Your 4WD Actually Works
If you want to take maximum advantage of your Jeep’s 4WD capabilities, it’s essential to understand how 4WD works and how you gain traction with it.
A 4WD vehicle has the power to the wheels split between the front and rear axles via the two differentials.
This setup enables the drivetrain to power the wheels independently so that whichever wheel is the touching ground or not slipping gets the power, while the one that’s off the ground or is slipping doesn’t end up just free-spinning.
In other words, the tire that’s actually able to grip and get traction gets the power.
There are different types of 4WD and traction control available on different vehicles, each one working slightly differently.
Learn how your 4WD works in different circumstances so you’ll know as you climb over rocks and ditches and through water what to expect from each of your tires as they make contact with different obstacles.
Tip #2 - Lower Tire Pressure
High tire pressure keeps a tire round and hard, which provides less traction on uneven surfaces.
Since you want additional traction when you’re 4-wheeling, lowering your tire pressure can give you that.
A softer tire that can mold to the surface a little bit allows the tire to grip and climb better with less slipping.
A softer tire can also make getting through soft, unstable surfaces like mud and sand easier by increasing the surface area on top rather than digging the tires in deeper and slowing you down.
Tip #3 - Use Low-Range 4WD or Low Gear
As with the above two points, one other way to increase traction without literally spinning your wheels and getting nowhere is to proceed with your Jeep in low-range 4WD or use the lowest gear of your vehicle.
Whether you’re climbing and crawling over obstacles, driving through things, going up and down, or doing anything else that requires precision and skill, you need two things: power and control.
Low gear gives you critical low-end torque; it also gives you the critical control necessary to expertly guide your Jeep to do all those things safely and skillfully by putting all that additional traction to use.
You don't need to use low-range when you're not putting your Jeep to the test such as when driving at higher speeds to the next obstacle; once you get there, drop it down and let it work for you.
Tip #4 - Take It Slow and Steady
Like many other things in life, successful off-roading involves slowly moving forward every step of the way without stopping or looking back.
In low-range 4WD, you have the torque needed to carefully creep along and keep that forward momentum going.
The moment you stop, you’ve lost that momentum and getting started again, whether you’re climbing a steep hill or going through a mudhole, is going to be difficult.
You also want to avoid using excess speed ;as you’ll lose that critical ability to control your truck or Jeep.
Slow, steady motion at just the right speed is what you need to have the momentum and control that will get you through and over any obstacles.
Learning the right speed for tackling different obstacles does take some time, however, it’s part of the skillset you’ll grow as you continue to go out with your off-road vehicle.
Enjoy Your Off-Roading Trips Using These 4 Basic Tips
As simple as they may seem, these 4 easy tips are all you need to get a maximum level of enjoyment from your off-roading trips.
You can avoid the letdown of dealing with off-roading problems with your Jeep by knowing the right basics, then the sky’s the limit when you head out on the trail!