Off-roading is a favorite hobby for motoring enthusiasts everywhere. While
some people enjoy hitting a smooth corner at high speeds, others get a
thrilling rush of enjoyment from flexing their vehicle’s muscle
by scaling the steep side of a hill or climbing over a big rock outcropping.
However, as an off-road performance shop we see too many people come back
to us having either broken something big or even crashed due to making
dumb decisions while behind the wheel.
Nobody wants to see anyone get hurt or trash their vehicle while off-roading,
so to help, here are a few tips you can follow that will keep you save
and hopefully prevent you from wrecking your ride when heading off the asphalt.
Don’t Go Beyond Your Skill Level
Off road trails come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and difficulties. However,
just because you’ve managed to shred the dirt road outside of town
a few times doesn’t mean you’re ready to tackle the Rubicon
Trail in California or the steepest climbs in Moab, Utah. There will be
obstacles that you don’t necessarily know how to handle, and trying
to tackle them before you have the knowledge and experience of clearing
lesser obstacles is setting yourself up for disaster. Work your way up
to them. You’ll be surprised just how quickly you’ll learn
to drive off-road and before you know it that big obstacle that you had
no idea how to handle will become your favorite playground.
Never Wheel Alone
There’s no better way to find yourself stuck in a really precarious
situation than to go out off-roading alone. Off-roading is always better
with friends, not only for the experience but also for the ability to
get help if you get stuck. A friend can winch or tow you out if you find
yourself buried in mud or pull you up a hill if you’re struggling
to get the traction you need. Also, if you do wind up getting into a crash,
a friend can come to your aid quickly and make sure you’re ok, as
well as call for help if necessary.
Prepare Your Vehicle
What’s a really good way to get in an accident or find yourself stuck?
Head out into the off-road without preparing yourself first. When you’re
going to be tackling the off-road terrain, be sure your car’s maintenance
is in good order, that your air filter is clean, and that your tires have
a suitable amount of tread on them. You should also consider lowering
the air pressure in your tires once you do reach your off-road destination
so you can get a little bit of extra traction. Also, make sure your car
is stocked with the supplies you’ll need should you find yourself
in trouble: a small shovel to dig yourself out, a first-aid kit if someone
gets hurt, a tow strap, and flash light should all be in your vehicle.
Know Your Car
The relationship between car and driver is extremely important when off-road:
a driver needs to know the car and how it will respond to even the slightest
inputs in order to safely navigate. Take some time and practice feathering
the throttle until you figure out the point where you reach “equilibrium,”
or the point on the throttle where you aren’t rolling backward but
you also aren’t spinning your tires pointlessly. The more familiar
you are with how your car will respond to throttle, brake, and steering
inputs, the better off you’ll be when you need to make a snap decision
in a hurry in order to keep moving along a tough trail.
Know When to Back Off
It’s one thing to push yourself and want to conquer a challenge,
but off-roading isn’t about who’s got the guts to clear the
biggest obstacles. You and your buddies are going to have a much better
time if you know your limits and back off from a challenge when you know
you can’t get past it. Far too many times people wreck their rides
or hurt themselves by trying to push past an obstacle that they simply
don’t have the equipment or the skill to get past, but they don’t
want to give up out of fear of seeming “weak.” Use common
sense: know your limit, wheel within it.
If you’re looking to improve your ride and start tackling bigger
and better obstacles, the Katy off-road performance experts at HP Motorsports
Contact us today by dialing (281) 321-9950 to request more information!