First time off-road tips

Many motorheads are interested in wheeling, but very few take the time to read some tips on the subject before slapping a lift kit on a Tacoma and hitting the trail. The first rule of wheeling is to always go prepared, and expect the ​unexpected​. Going off-road is extremely fun, but you need to be prepared for whatever might occur while on the trail. There are several tips and tricks to remember when you go off-road.  

The first tip is to never wheel alone. Wheeling alone is probably the most dangerous thing that a person can do while off-road. Emergencies happen, whether it be a medical emergency or a vehicle emergency, it is wise to have someone there with you, at least one passenger but more importantly another vehicle. Having a wheeling buddy can help you swap out parts on your Jeep, call for medical assistance, pull you out of a tough spot and act as a spotter to prevent rolling your vehicle.  

The second tip is to always respect the trail. As John Muir said, “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time. ” Respecting the trail is extremely important not only to you, or the environment, but also other people that enjoy the off-road. If you wheel off the trail, it can lead to trails being closed. Vehicle off the trail can damage the environment and if you leave the trail, you could face hefty fines.  

The third tip is to know your​ traffic laws​. When you wheel off-road, you are most likely still on a forest service road. Be courtesy to others on the road, don’t exceed speeds, understand who has the right-of-way on a steep incline, etc. Everyone on the trail is out there to enjoy the weekend, there is no need to drive like crazy which could lead to someone getting hurt. With that being said, never drink or drive. Just because you are off-road, doesn’t mean you can’t catch a DUI/DWI charge.  

The fourth tip is to go easy. If you are a beginner, you may want to go fast over obstacles, through mud pits, etc. The moment you begin to go fast, and careless, that is when ​parts​ begin to fail or break. In most cases, off-roading is very slow and methodical. If you try going over an obstacle too fast, it could lead to a costly mistake. As you are driving your rig, don’t force anything. Allow your tires, suspension, and steering climb the obstacle. Don’t put unnecessary strain on your Wrangler.  

The last tip is to have fun. Off-roading is a great time, it builds strong relationships and is one of the only places where you can push your Jeep to its absolute limits. See what your rig is made out of, but make sure to do so safely and if possible with the guidance of seasoned veterans of the sport. While you’re out don’t forget about nature! Enjoy the views and smells of the outdoor, but most importantly do your best to leave the trails in the same condition as it was before you! 

Tom Brown
Tom Brown is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United States. He holds a diverse background in automotive marketing and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.