Off-Road SUV Prep

How to Prepare your SUV for an Off-Road Course

Driving on off-road courses can be a lot of fun. These courses are expertly designed for thrilling, fun rides in your off-road vehicle. But your stock SUV isn’t built for some of these off-roading courses.

To prepare your SUV for an off-road course, you’ll have to perform some substantial modifications*. Find out what needs to be upgraded in your SUV by reading our preparation steps below.

Adjust your suspension

Lifting your suspension will let you more easily clear uneven ground. Generally, a stock SUV needs a suspension lift of about 1 to 4 inches. Without this lift, your SUV will be susceptible to undercarriage damage.

However, if you raise the SUV too high off the ground, it will be top heavy and the drive will be impractical, making your vehicle more prone to tipping over.

Install a skid plate

A skid plate goes under the nose of your vehicle and improves its safety and strength. The plate’s main goal is to protect the underside of your car from scratches and damage. When off-roading, you’ll go over boulders and logs, which can cause damage to your SUV. However, a skid plate will deflect sharp, jagged edges away from your rocker panels, oil pan, and gas tank so you won’t have to worry about damage or even a fire.

Upgrade your differentials

Most standard SUVs are equipped with open differentials, which send the most power to the wheel with the least traction. While helpful for everyday driving, this isn’t ideal for off-roading.

To maximize your off-roading potential, you need to send the most power to the wheels with the most traction. So you should equip your SUV with brake lock differentials, which trigger the caliper of your spinning tires and send power to the wheel with the most traction in order to effectively take on steep slopes and obstacles.

Upgrade your tires

Larger tires improve your ground clearance, lead to a smoother ride, and provide better handling, which you’ll need for particularly difficult off-roading courses. Optimal off-roading tire size ranges from 29 inches to 35 inches, and you’ll want to make sure that the PSI in these tires are around 5 to 15. While that may number seem low, you’ll benefit from more traction and flexibility. Plus it will be more difficult for sharp rocks or the uneven course to damage your tires. Check with the officials at the off-road course to see whether standard treading will be sufficient for your vehicle’s tires.

While normal SUVs with four-wheel drive can handle difficult road conditions, they’re certainly not ready for off-road courses. To ready your SUV for such courses, you need to make some significant changes to your vehicle.

*It should be noted that these mods are done at your own risk! Some may void the manufacturer’s warranty, so do plenty of research on the pros and cons for your unique situation before you make these upgrades.


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