How to Mod Your Car for Off-Roading

Off-roading Jeep.

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If you’ve got some extra coin, it’s easy to buy a car with off-roading capabilities. That said, they can be costly. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll get all the features you need or want for your off-roading adventure. The easiest way to make the most out of your off-road experience is to install mods in the vehicle yourself.

Don’t let this project intimidate you. Here is an essential checklist of what you need to do to mod your car for off-roading.

Choose Your Starter Car Carefully

Before you start modding something for off-road use, you must decide which car you will mod. Choosing your canvas is just as crucial as the mods that you install. Avoid sedans or other vehicles with low ground clearance.

The best option is often a truck or SUV with 4-wheel or all-wheel drive. They may not have all the bells and whistles you’ll need to enjoy an off-roading experience, but it provides a near-perfect platform for any mods you want to install.

Don’t waste your time and money installing mods on a sports car or something that only has two-wheel drive. It won’t be able to navigate trails or climb rocks, and the first time you try to take it off the pavement, you’ll likely do some severe damage to the undercarriage.

Getting Under the Hood

First, let’s look at some under the hood mods for your off-road experience. The engine is the heart of your off-road car and it could use some upgrades before you head out onto the trail. Adding a snorkel to your air intake, for example, can save your engine if you’re heading into a muddy track.

Opt for upgrades that will increase your torque, especially the torque available at low RPMs, which helps pull or climb over obstacles. These can include installing a turbo or supercharger or investing in an ECU tune that will help you make the most out of an otherwise stock engine.

Upgrades in the Undercarriage

Even cars and trucks equipped for off-roading will need a few modifications to be ready for the trail. Be prepared to invest in a few upgrades to ensure you have everything you need to navigate even the roughest terrain. These can include but aren’t limited to:

1. Suspension

Even if you opt for the off-road package when you buy your trucks or SUV, the suspension likely isn’t hardened or ready for uneven terrain. The exact details of your off-road mods will vary depending on the make and model of your offroad ride, but in most cases, you’re going to want to upgrade the shocks and tune the suspension.

Other mods include reinforcing the leaf springs, adding torsion bars and strut braces or even using lift kits to give you more ground clearance.

2. Tires

Not all tires are created equal. The tires you use during your daily commute won’t provide the traction you need to navigate trails or climb rocks, and your trail tires will wear out too quickly on paved roads.

Pick up a larger set of wheels for offroading and equip them with trail tires. You can easily swap them for your regular tires without needing any extra tools or trips to the mechanic.

3. Skid Plates

The last thing you want on the trail is for a stray stick to punch its way up through your oil pan. In addition to being bad for the ecosystem where you find yourself suddenly emptying your engine of oil, it’s also not great for your vehicle.

A skid plate will add some extra weight to your off-road vehicle, but the added pounds are worth it when it can help protect your undercarriage from significant damage while off-road.

Don’t Forget Your Accessories.

Mods for off-roading aren’t limited to engine and undercarriage upgrades. There are plenty of accessories on the market that can help make your off-road experience that much better. Adding a winch to the front bumper can make it easier to unstick yourself from a muddy trail.

Lightbars are infinitely brighter than vehicle headlights, so you can safely off-road after the sun goes down. Fuel tanks and spare tires can keep you from being stranded if you run out of gas or a flat. Backup batteries and power packs can keep your devices charged while exploring the trails. Shop around and figure out what might work best for your offroad mod.

Stay Safe Out There

Whether this is your first time modding an offroad vehicle or your 50th, there are still new things to learn and new techniques to try. It doesn’t matter if you’re opting for the most expensive mods or the fanciest new toys. Make sure that no matter what you’re doing, you stay safe out there.

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