So you just bought a truck/SUV and are looking to take it off-roading a bit, as you should. Larger vehicles with four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, higher ground clearance, and other factors make for something capable of handling all that mother nature can throw at it, not just flat pavement.
However, you should never undertake long-term off-roading sessions with your vehicle without the proper supplemental upgrades to ensure that it truly can handle itself on and off the trails. Here are 10 necessary modifications to an off-road vehicle to keep composed and prepared in any circumstance.
10 Steel Wheels
Steel wheels are a great, inexpensive alternative to normal alloys that can withstand the pressures put against them under high-stress off-roading. Steel wheels usually come in very minimalistic designs and can most commonly be seen on police vehicles, which often favor them for their durability against the elements. While they may detract from appearance, steel wheels offer greatly improved functionality in any off-road circumstance over that of a normal set of wheels.
9 Off-Road Tires
Of course, with wheels comes tires, and it is just as key to mount a set of capable off-road tires as it is to mount those steel wheels. Of course, the benefit really is described in the name. Different tire compounds are composed to handle certain circumstances, and the tread pattern produced for each of those individual tires is meant to handle a specific terrain as well.
An off-road specific tire offers its advantage in the form of a significantly more robust tire compound that promotes durability under duress as well as a more aggressive treading pattern designed to grip on to and hold to anything from sand to mud to rock.
8 Light Bar
If you're out in the wilderness at night navigating your vehicle, sometimes the standard headlights in a vehicle simply don't cut it, and even upgraded bulbs do not offer the range of projection needed to have total visibility in less-than-ideal circumstances. This is where an aftermarket light bar comes significantly in handy.
Mounted anywhere on the vehicle where it is necessary, but traditionally from the front of the roof or to the front bumper, a light bar offers vastly increased visibility due to its high-intensity projector lights. This is a must upgrade for anybody looking to ensure that their off-road vehicle is equipped both day and night.
7 Tow Hook/Hitch
Sometimes things can get tricky when you venture off of the paved road, and that is exactly where a tow hook/hitch is ridiculously necessary.
A low-cost upgrade that could potentially save a vehicle and its inhabitant's lives, tow hooks are easily mounted to the front or rear of most vehicles via a readily accessible frame-mount. The hook will allow the vehicle to be pulled from entrenchments and/or towed to civilization if push comes to shove and there is no other option.
6 Lift Kit
Perhaps one of the most common upgrades to vehicles being built for the less-traveled road, a lift kit ensures that your vehicles ground clearance is ample, allowing it to maneuver over the trickiest parts of any trail. In conjunction with a lift kit, a leveling kit may also prove to be helpful for vehicles requiring some suspension leveling that don't plan on hauling heavy loads consistently. The added boost to the car's suspension will also help in long-term durability as well, considering most stock suspensions, even on trucks and SUVs, aren't always equipped to handle extensive off-road work.
For those who like to get their off-road vehicle a little wet, a snorkel is a necessary upgrade to ensure that the vehicle does not cease functioning when submerged in water to an extent. Redirecting the exhaust fumes out of the top of the vehicle—much like a semi-truck—a snorkel ensures that no water drowns out the exhaust and causes the engine to fail.
Although this upgrade may not pertain to every single off-road vehicle build, it is something to consider if the part is already available for your particular model or could be easily fabricated and fitted.
4 Upgraded Front Bumper
Sometimes there are obstacles in the outdoors that you simply cannot drive around and the only option is attempting to go straight through.
This is where an upgraded front bumper comes very much in handy, using its extended parts to deflect and break down any obstacles in the way of the vehicle, helping clear a path for the rest of its mass to safely move through. This upgrade is another one commonly found on police vehicles, which employ extended front deflector bumpers to protect the vehicle and its occupants further.
3 Mud Flaps
This goes nearly without saying, but any vehicle that is going to spend extended time around dirt, mud, and other natural substances could benefit extensively from a robust set of mudflaps.
The flaps will help prevent rocks, dirt, and other abrasive materials from reaching the wheel wells and fenders of your vehicle, ensuring the safety of the paint and occupants inside.
2 Roof Basket
The infinitely increased usability that a roof basket offers is not something to push to the side, as it can effectively nearly double the vehicles storage space, depending on the model of course. A proper sturdy roof basket allows for the safe and secured storage of belongings while freeing up cabin space for more occupants or goods.
1 Interior Liners
After a long day of navigating the wilderness, would you really want the interior of your vehicle to look as dirty as the exterior?
Of course not, and that is why a proper set of weather-proof floor mats and seat covers go a long way in preserving the interior of the vehicle for the long run.