There’s nothing quite like leaving the pavement in your rear-view
mirror to go conquer the wild off-road world. Whether you’re looking
to tear up the trails near you, blaze some new paths of your own, or conquer
massive boulders, rocks, rivers, and other hazardous terrain, off-road
ready vehicles can provide you with a motorsports experience that’s
a whole new kind of thrill.
Those who have an SUV, large truck, or other off-road ready vehicle may
be tempted to head out and see what they can handle, but without the proper
upgrades, even the most capable vehicle won’t be able to handle
everything you throw at it. Deep and, large ruts, and giant rocks will
stop you dead in your tracks and leave you lagging behind the rest of
your group. If you really want to improve your off-road worthiness, check
out these five off-road upgrades you must have for your car.
The suspension your car rides on is arguably the single largest influencer
over its performance, no matter what type of vehicle you’re running.
While a high-horsepower Corvette or track-owning Mustang might choose
a stiffer suspension to help them really grip the road and minimize body
roll, off road cars will want a significantly softer suspension setup
with a lot of extra travel (distance the shocks can compress before bottoming
out). This allows your wheels and frame to flex as you tackle hazardous
obstacles and absorb the punishment of the rocks, boulders, bumps, holes,
and other features commonly found in an off-road setting. If you’re
looking to purchase off-road suspension, you might also want to consider
lifting your vehicle, or giving it extra vertical clearance, which makes it easier
to tackle taller obstacles and gives you the ability to install suspension
with a much greater amount of travel.
When you want to dominate the off-road world, speed isn’t necessarily
the name of the game. While off-road racing is extremely popular, many
people want an off-road experience that allows them to go anywhere they
want, even places nature itself doesn’t seem to want to allow them
to. For that, you’ll want a transmission that’s set up for
torque, not speed. This means you’ll want a lower gear ratio that’s
designed to keep your engine running and your wheels turning at lower
speeds and with better grip, better known as the ability to “crawl”.
A higher gear ratio will often lead to wheel spins, engine stalling, and
getting stuck in places you don’t want to be.
When you’re conquering rocks and boulders, you just might tip yourself
a little bit too far. When you combine your increased ride height with
a heavy weight being placed at a difficult angle, it’s not uncommon
for a lot of vehicles to roll over onto their side. This is both bad for
your car and extremely dangerous for you the driver inside. If you plan
on taking on extremely difficult terrain, you’ll definitely want
to install an aftermarket roll cage that helps preserve the integrity
of your frame and structure while also protecting you inside. Some of
the best roll cages can support the entire weight of the vehicle, while
being dropped directly onto it. This is a particularly important upgrade
for vehicles with softer roofs or tops, such as Jeep Wranglers.
Larger, Knobby Tires
When you hit the off-road trail, the last thing you want is a super thin
sidewall and a street-performance tire. Not only will you have very little
grip, you’ll feel every single bump heavily, and you’ll most
likely damage your extremely expensive rims. This is no place for your
30-inch rims with a two-inch sidewall: you want big, beefy tires on a
small rim that will provide you with as much of an air cushion as possible.
A larger tire will also provide you with more surface area on the ground
at all times, which means you’ll get better grip and be able to
handle the low-traction areas with confidence. Softer-compound tires with
an off-road tread can improve your performance even further by helping
you grip loose dirt, sand, and even the slipperiest of rocks with confidence.
A differential is a device on your axel that allows both wheels on that
axel to spin at different speeds while applying the same amount of force
to each of them. While this is conducive to speed and tire longevity by
avoiding scuffling, it isn’t conducive to good traction, particularly
in an off-road setting where the traction amount on each tire can vary
wildly at any given time. A locked differential requires both wheels to
spin at the same rate under nearly every circumstance, which can help
you conquer difficult, slippery hills or even dig yourself out of deep
sand if you get stuck. Aftermarket locking differentials are available
for all sorts of different trucks and SUVs to help you conquer even the
toughest off-road tests.
Want to find out how we can help you upgrade your vehicle to become an
Contact the Houston off-road performance experts at HP Motorsports today to find out more!