How to off road like a pro

2018 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road

Purchasing a pickup truck like a Toyota Tundra can be an absolute dream come true, and driving blissfully along the highway you are bound to feel like you made an amazing choice. But there might be a little nagging feeling in the back of your mind, telling you to test how good your truck (and your driving) really can be. There isn’t much point in you purchasing a 4×4 unless you utilize its off road capabilities, but it can be a slightly daunting journey for the average Joe to begin. It’s not quite as simple as they make it out to be on TV, so it’s unfortunately pretty much impossible to just swerve off the road and drive up into the mountains like you might’ve imagined. However there are a few basics that can set you in the right direction and allow you to off road like a true professional, so pluck up some courage, fasten your seatbelt and put the pedal to the metal.

GET TO KNOW YOUR TRUCK

Every different vehicle has its own individual system, so it’s vital that you understand the one inside your pick up. Traction control is a very important aspect of your truck, as it stops the wheels from slipping on uneven or wet surfaces allowing you to go forward rather than falling back. Your traction control may contain many different settings for select or customize varying environments, or it might just be a basic on or off control with the regular simple features. Investigate for further information inside the manual, as traction plays an essential role in off roading, especially when going in an uphill direction. Another important feature ton ote is the locking differential, which will work to keep your wheels moving in unison and should be used in situations where more grip is needed on terribly uneven and bumpy grounds.

INVEST IN THE RELEVANT ACCESSORIES

Although most pickup trucks are already reasonably suited to most conditions, there are a few investments you can make that can really take the experience to a whole new level. First identify the location you would like to travel through and purchase a set of tires that are specially manufactured to be suited to that specific terrain. Tires are an essential part of your vehicle for many obvious reasons, but as they provide the grip using the wrong type could result in you sliding all over the place and getting into trouble. Another element that should not be overlooked is the shock absorber, as it stops the jumps and crashes of the route from reaching the mechanics inside your truck, or from damaging you. Setting a good foundation will mean that the higher levels (where you will be seated) are safer and further from harm’s way. If you plan on taking your truck to through a body of water or river, do some research regarding snorkels to keep the engine free from liquid.

BE READY FOR EVERYTHING

Things don’t always go to plan you’re off roading, so it’s best to be prepared for absolutely anything your journey might throw at you. Always keep a basic first aid kit and at least one seat belt cutter, as although they are just simple things they can really save your bacon. In some situations you may have to smash the glass to escape through a window. Pack enough supplies with you to last for a few days more than you have planned, it’s better to have extra food and water to keep your energy levels up and make you alert. Store a couple of blankets under the seats in case the engine runs low or a door gets dented creating a draft. Think through every possibility and take steps in order to be ready to tackle any situation.

UNDERSTANDING AND CONQUERING EACH ENVIRONMENT

Although most terrains are similar in terms of traction required, mud is particularly hard to handle. If it looks quite deep and travels for a longer distance, debate the realistic outcome. It might be better to admit defeat and attempt a different route, rather than getting completely bogged down and stuck in the mud. If your team think it’s doable and you’re confident you can tackle it, turn off the traction control and go into the highest gear you can in order to flick any mud away from the tires. Rocky conditions require a different approach, as it’s better to crawl at a slower speed and attempt to be extremely precise with each turn of the steering wheel to place the tires in the right positions. Raise your suspension if you can, so you can avoid scraping the bottom of your truck over any passing rocks. It’s guaranteed to be a different experience in colder months than it is in summer, so make sure your truck is ready for winter when it comes around.

A FEW FINAL TIPS

Having considered everything above, there are just a few final things to remember. When you are driving on tricky terrain ensure you place your thumbs on the outside edge of the steering wheel. This way, you can better handle the whip of a truck without a damper box when the wheel jolts from one direction to another. If you aim to become a veteran off roader, you may want to consider attempting to learn to brake with your left foot. This way you can save time when changing speed and gain more control of the vehicle in difficult conditions.

Hopefully, this guide will help you to transform your truck and learn to off road in no time at all. Safety is one of the biggest aspects of your journey to remember, but don’t forget your reason for wanting to do it all in the first place. Relax, have fun and push yourself and your trucks to reach new heights and explore amazing landscapes. Plan your journey, get the right equipment and supplies, put the right security measures in place and head out into the great unknown.


Photo Credit: Copyright 2019 Victor Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog

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