Going off-road is one of the most visceral experiences you can get while driving a car. But it’s not something you should consider doing in your standard, compact city car. Many people from all over the world enjoy off-roading, and if you want to join them, it’s going to take a fair amount of work.
In today’s guide, we’re going to take you through everything you need to know about the off-road experience. There are some essentials that you should put in place before trying out your new hobby – so let’s take a closer look.
The right vehicle
Technically, you can go off-roading in any car. You just need to make a lot of changes to it – which is going to cost you an absolute fortune. So, we’re going to start at the most obvious place – buying a 4×4. First of all, we recommend going for a real 4×4 – not your city driving SUV or crossover. Yes, these types of vehicles can probably take you over grass and mud, but for hills and rough trails you need something more sensible. And herein lies the issue. 4x4s are beasts, and it costs a lot in fuel to run them. For this reason, it is a good idea to buy an off-roader as your second vehicle, or it will end up eating up a lot of your money.
The right seller
So, where can you find an off-road vehicle that matches your needs? There are plenty of options. While it’d be good if everyone could buy new, we appreciate that not everyone has the budget. The good news is there are plenty of other alternatives. The used market is always a good place to start, and you should also check out off-roading websites. Many will have marketplaces, and also – most importantly – guidelines to help you avoid buying a lemon. It’s also worth getting to know your local farmers. The vast majority will have several off-road vehicles, and will often give you a bargain when it is time to sell.
The right upgrades
Your next step is to ensure that your vehicle is ready to take it off-road. There are two things to think about first – your suspension and your tires. Suspension tuning is something that is an absolute essential. Going off-road can cause havoc to your vehicle – and to your body. The better suspension will help your vehicle roll with the punches, and keep you comfortable along all but the bumpiest of paths. You will need a variety of tires, too. Consider finding cheap mud tires for those rainy days, and also look at all-terrain versions that can conquer any surface.
The right attitude
Off-roading can be a lot of fun. But it’s also incredibly dangerous. The safety of you and your passengers is paramount, so never take on anything you think is beyond your capabilities. It’s a good idea to bring someone with you at all times. One of you can drive, while the other can navigate and watch out for hazards. It’s also worth checking your speed in the early days. When you are off-road, you don’t have to travel fast to have a severe accident. And it’s far easier to speed up than it is to slow down – so always be sensible about putting your pedal to the floor.