1) Choose the Right Vehicle for Your Excursions
Though many modern SUVs offer All-Wheel-Drive (AWD), or Four-Wheel-Drive (4WD), most are not built to handle the distinct challenges of off-roading. Before you hit the trails, make sure you can adequately answer these questions:
- Does my vehicle have 4WD, or AWD?
- Do I have enough ground clearance for the trails?
- Will my suspension handle the challenges of the trails?
- Does my vehicle have the right safety features?
- Does my vehicle have enough horsepower and torque?
There are several off-road ready vehicles from which to choose in the Asheville area. A few of our favorites include:
- Jeep: The Wrangler, Cherokee, and to some extent Grand Cherokee are all perennial off-road capable vehicles. Depending on the trails you intend to drive, Jeeps are often trail-ready with few necessary modifications.
- Ford: The Raptor and Bronco (old and new) are capable off-road ready vehicles.
- Toyota: The Four Runner and Land Cruiser SUVs are favorites of off-road drivers.
- Land Rover/Range Rover: Hit the trails in luxury with one of these Rovers.
- Mercedes-Benz G500: On the pricier side, the G500 is capable of conquering a wide range of trail conditions.
2) Make Sure Your Vehicle is Properly Maintained
Even if you are taking on the trails with an old beater, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. There is nothing worse than breaking down deep in the woods, miles from civilization. Proper off-road vehicle maintenance includes:
- Changing the oil every 3,000 miles
- Having tires rotated and balanced
- Checking and filling other fluids: brakes, transmission, etc.
- Replacing worn brake pads
- Replacing coolant and antifreeze
- Ensuring effective and maintained fuel-injection
- Tending to 100,000-mile tune ups
- Belts and timing chain replacements
3) Avoid Off-Roading Alone
Especially when you are new to off-roading, make sure you bring along plenty of friends and experienced drivers. If you are not sure with whom to ride, there are off-road numerous forums and social media groups in the Asheville area. Experienced drivers can help novices know how to handle various obstacles, navigate networks of trails, and be there for support in case of mechanical failure.
4) Know What Weather to Expect
You know the saying, if you don’t like the weather in Asheville, wait five minutes. In the mountains, weather may change rapidly through the course of the day and with elevation. Sudden rainfall, snow, and wind can alter the feel of the trail dramatically; therefore, it is important to know the weather forecast for the area in which you are driving. If inclement weather is in the forecast, make sure you are prepared to take your time exiting the trail.
In our next article, we will continue our off-road driving list. For more information, or to schedule your next vehicle maintenance, give us a call.