Taking the road less traveled is gaining popularity in the United States, with 3.5 million people participating in off-roading annually. It’s an excellent way to see a different side of nature and find new adventures with friends and family. Having the proper rig and understanding of equipment maintenance is critical if you want your off-road equipment to stand the test of time.
When you leave the paved roads and head into the wilderness, your vehicle will get exposed to mud, sand, rocks, and more. You’ll face costly repairs if you’re not learning and applying the proper maintenance tips to your ride to overcome the damage.
The good news is that you’ve discovered the perfect resource for learning more about maintaining off-road vehicles and heavy equipment. Continue reading to keep your vehicle running strong for decades to come!
Clean Your Rig
The first thing to do after enjoying your favorite off-road terrain is to clean your rig. Start by washing the outside of your vehicle, and look for especially dirty areas. Lift your vehicle’s hood and wash out the engine bay to eliminate any mud or debris that made its way into that section of the truck or SUV.
Cleaning the exterior will keep your vehicle looking clean while enabling you to discover damaged areas. You can also help the environment by preventing the spread of invasive species you encounter in nature. Sticking with the maintenance guide is much easier when you see each part on your rig.
Check Your Tires
After hitting your favorite off-road park, you should also check your tires when practicing equipment maintenance. It’s wise to check your tire pressure when you get home from your adventure to detect damage or punctures in your tires. Recheck them the following day to see if any air is leaking.
Check the tire pressure in your spare tire as well. It’s best to be prepared if you have a flat tire in the future. The last step with your tires is checking the lugnuts to ensure they’re still tight.
Your rig’s transmission and differential are vulnerable under your ride’s chassis. It’s easy to check their condition after you’ve washed the exterior of your car, especially if you’ve lifted your vehicle for improved ground clearance. Look for damage and signs of leaks when checking this area of your vehicle after an off-road session.
Many people with heavy equipment use protective covers for these vehicle parts. Still, a cover with dents can leak transmission fluid and cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.
It’s also worthwhile to check the color of your transmission fluid if you’ve been driving through high water. The transmission fluid will have a milky color if it becomes contaminated during your adventures. Change your transmission fluid with a central lubrication system to keep your rig running smoothly.
Examine Your Shocks
Your shocks will take a toll if you drive your truck or SUV over intense, rocky terrain. Even upgraded shocks will struggle with the rockiest terrain, so checking them after you get home is vital.
Most damage will be on the surface of the shocks. Look for dents and leaks from your vehicle’s shocks to assess the damage and take proper steps to repair or replace them.
Check the Brakes
The brakes on your rig are also critical for your safety, especially after you’ve finished driving in water, sand, and mud. Check the drum brakes for sand or mud that is stuck in them. This buildup of earth could cause your brakes to malfunction when you need them most.
The brake lines are also worth checking when you get home from your off-road adventures. Running stock brake lines on a lifted vehicle leaves them vulnerable to damage. Brake lines that are too short will face significant stress that could cause them to break or rupture.
Losing braking power on your drive home is a terrifying experience, but one you can avoid. Remember to check your brake lines after returning to paved roads and society.
Inspect Your Axles
Large and heavy off-road tires put much strain and stress on your vehicle’s axles. The ball joints and knuckles could struggle to keep up with their weight. Check your axles diligently to look for signs of stress or wear after you return home from your off-roading or overlanding trip.
You can further inspect your axles by jacking up your vehicle and putting stress on each tire. Look and listen to how your vehicle responds to the pressure to determine if there’s an issue. Wobbles and looseness are alarming signs that you have damaged axles.
Your vehicle needs grease and lubrication to continue functioning as designed. The average truck or SUV has thousands of moving parts, and they’ll experience premature wear if you forget to grease them.
The joints and bearings are the most critical components of your ride that require grease. U-joints and driveshafts are also reusable components. Grease fittings will help you determine which parts need greasing.
Explore Your Suspension
The suspension takes the brunt of your off-road adventures, so it’s a high priority to check for damage and other issues after returning from the trail. The track bar and control arms are common areas that sustain damage from off-road activities.
Crawl beneath your vehicle if you have enough ground clearance to examine your suspension in-depth. You’ll find signs of damage and wear and can check for loose bolts and nuts.
The steering box is another crucial component to check when under the vehicle. Ensure everything is located where it should be before packing and relaxing.
Keep Your Off-Road Equipment Pristine
Learning the essential maintenance tips is critical to maintain your off-road equipment and continue using it for decades. Ensure that you use a central lubrication system to keep parts greased, and explore your suspension when arriving home after your adventure. Clean your rig to look for exterior damage and check your tire pressure for your heavy equipment. Are you ready to enjoy the road less traveled? Check out more of our technology and recreation content for fun adventure ideas and tips today!