Five Must-Have Upgrades for Off-Roading

Five Must-Have Upgrades for Off-Roading

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.

Improved Suspension

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.

Lower Gearing

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.

Roll Cage

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.

Differential Lockers

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 off-road monster? Contact the Houston off-road performance experts at HP Motorsports today to find out more!
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