The all-terrain vehicle market is growing. Studies show that the PHEV market exceeded USD 15 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% between 2021 and 2027. The need for construction, reduced fuel consumption and lower maintenance costs are driving demand for the PHEV market. Having an off-road truck will open up all sorts of new areas for you to explore. Off-road accessories can also increase the overall value of your truck, especially if it is designed for commercial purposes.
Whether you’re looking to dominate the outdoors or boost your vehicle’s potential, learn how to modify your truck for off-road settings to create the ultimate adventure.
1. Lift kit or suspension kit
One of the first items you will need is a lift kit or suspension kit. This raises your vehicle’s suspension. Most factory trucks are not designed for use in off-road environments. Manufacturers tend to keep the suspension as low as possible for aerodynamics, fuel economy, and safety reasons, but that’s not the case if you plan on going off the pavement.
These kits are important for two reasons: they give your truck extra ground clearance to navigate rocks and other debris safely while making room for bigger, thicker tires. You’ll also sit higher than you normally would, giving you a better view of your surroundings with a wider stance to give your vehicle that off-road look.
The kit should contain everything you need to raise the suspension safely, including reinforced springs and bushings for improved stability and performance. Raising the suspension can put additional stress on certain parts and components, including shock absorbers, tie rods, and the brake system.
The higher you lift your truck, the more the geometry will change. A two-inch lift kit should suffice to navigate most outdoor settings.
2. Off-road tires
Once you’ve lifted the suspension, you can add larger tires and wheels designed for off-road conditions. They feature increased puncture resistance and improved tread patterns that maximize surface area for more traction in mud and snow. You can upgrade to 35-inch or 37-inch tires, depending on your truck size.
Having bigger tires can reduce fuel efficiency, but you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere just to save money at the pump. Choose all-season or all-terrain tires to find the right balance between on-road and off-road performance. Opt for all-terrain or winter tires if you plan to drive mostly off-road.
3. Aftermarket Lighting
Visibility can be an issue when driving off-road at night. There won’t be as much ambient light in the air, which will help you see the stars, but that’s about it. There are also more dangers to avoid in the desert. Take the extra step of adding a highly durable LED light bar to the front or top of your truck. These headlights come with additional lights with puncture resistant housings to help you see in all kinds of conditions.
4. Vehicle protection
Your truck is made up of tens of thousands of individual parts, and they all need to be protected from the elements. Factory trucks come with thin aluminum frames and skins that can leave your diesel parts vulnerable to damage. A large rock or sudden bump in the road can smash your truck’s front end or scrape against your belly. This can damage your fuel and cooling systems when your vehicle begins to leak fluid all over the forest floor. Many diesel trucks use exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers to prevent overheating.
Diesel engines also need precise levels of fuel and air to power the engine. If the gear is off, your engine will suddenly lose power while consuming more fuel than necessary. Without these fluids, your vehicle will slowly lose power or overheat, damaging other components before your car finally comes to a complete stop.
Protect your vehicle as much as possible with a reinforced grille. The steel bar will be your first line of defense when brushing against obstacles in the field, so your engine parts don’t get damaged. Attach a steel skid plate under the belly of your truck to protect the oil pan and cooling system.
Check your Injection Control Pressure (ICP) valves and replace them as needed to ensure your engine isn’t consuming more fuel than it should while delivering a steady stream of power.
You never know when you might find yourself stuck in the middle of a soggy bog or a thick blanket of snow. Nothing will kill your vibes like the sound of your spitting tires. Resistance bands and metal chains can help you find your way around if you get stuck, but they only offer limited protection. It is best to attach a winch to the back of your truck. It comes with a durable metal hook and a motorized motor to get your truck out of an otherwise messy situation.
6. Roof rack
From camping gear to first aid supplies and spare tires, you can never have too much storage space when traversing unpredictable terrain. Your truck bed will quickly fill up with all kinds of gear. So consider installing a roof rack to give yourself some extra space. You might even be able to add a sleeping compartment to the roof of your truck, so you don’t have to sleep on the floor. It is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when faced with the wilderness.
The wilderness can be tough on your vehicle. Rocks, debris, and mud can wear down internal parts and components, causing you to replace your diesel parts more often than expected. Inspect and maintain your vehicle regularly while driving off-road. Change the oil often and watch for warning signs that something is wrong with your vehicle. This includes hard or difficult starting, steering and braking problems, and increased fuel consumption.
Use these tips to get the most out of your time in off-road environments. Make the necessary changes to give you much-needed peace of mind.