During the summer, more than any other time of year, you are likely to be taking your 4X4 off-roading. The temperatures outside are comfortable and there’s no snow or ice on the terrain impairing your ability to take on the toughest trails. Even if you are exclusively a fan of classic American cars, you can still appreciate the excitement of leaving the pavement and conquering nature.
Whether you pop the roof off of your Jeep Wrangler or remove the doors from your Isuzu Trooper, when you go off-roading, you’ll want to make sure you let the fresh air in and lighten your load as much as possible. But before you take your truck out to the dunes or into the woods.
Here are a few tricks and tips you should follow when you take your ride off roading this summer, so that you avoid any slip-ups that could leave stranded.
Know your trail: While an impromptu trip off the beaten path may sound like a romantic notion to many, if you don’t know the challenges that await you, you aren’t being adventurous – you’re just being stupid. The last thing you want is to find yourself face to face with a rock, log, river or cliff without a means of turning the truck around. Even your best instincts shouldn’t be trusted in every situation, while an up to date map should. Know where every waterway is and make sure that you aren’t the first person adventuring on a particular path at the start of the season. While you may run into a little bit of traffic on some of the more popular trails, these ones are not only the safest, but also offer you the most potential for fun, as they have proven not to be death traps.
Check the weather: In many off-roading areas, conditions are only safe when the weather is perfect. If it is too hot and there has been a dry spell, there may be a fire emergency that makes riding down a particular path especially risky. On the flip side, many wooded trails feature streams and creeks that expand to river-like proportions during unexpected summer downpours. This could not only make a muddy path unstable – causing your car to get stuck and your party stranded – but may also make some trails completely impassable until waters recede. Get an accurate weather report before you head out and keep your radio on for as long as you can without losing service in case there is an unexpected emergency boadcast.
Stay within your limits: It’s nice to think that your car is the ultimate off-roading machine, but for the vast majority of drivers, this isn’t the case. This is especially true if the car you drive hardly leaves the pavement and you only go off-roading once, maybe twice a season. If you already feel like your car is having issues and you only just started on the trail, don’t push it – after all, you’re going to need this thing to get you back home. Make sure your 4X4 is good working order before you beat it up by taking it off roading as any problems you have beforehand will only get exasperated. No one wants to total their car in the middle of nowhere.
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