Off-roading is tough and any truck or Jeep can take a beating.
Even though yours may come with the special off-road package or it has been modified to make it more durable and rugged, there are certain issues that could affect a truck after a day on the trails.
Keep these concerns in mind and when arriving home from all those hours of fun, give that 4x4 a once over and check for the most common problems that tend to arise from all the bouncing and bumping.
Tire and Wheel Damage
The most common breakdown seen when heading off-road is usually with the tires and wheels since those are what face all the rocks, roots, and everything else on the trail.
A flat on a truck or Jeep isn’t that serious of a problem when carrying a full-size spare; however, if the tire has been punctured or torn, the best move is to replace it.
Another common concern might be a tire coming off the wheel if the bead breaks, but that is easy to fix by simply having the tire remounted.
You might also dent or bend a wheel and need to replace that; however, these are more minor problems in comparison to some of the others.
The other issue that shares the top spot with wheel and tire damage on an off-road truck or Jeep is wheel misalignment.
Driving over those rocky, uneven trails, each bump and depression that the tires hit has the potential to twist or jolt it out of alignment from the other wheels.
It may not be noticeable while driving over uneven terrain; however, it will definitely be felt when hitting the pavement again.
If a funny vibration, shake, or wobble is felt coming from one of the tires and/or the steering wheel shakes while driving, chances are the truck or Jeep needs to be realigned and, if anything has been bent, required repairs made.
Exhaust and Undercarriage Damage
The most vulnerable area on any truck and Jeep when driving over uneven terrain is the exposed undercarriage, especially the exhaust system.
Those parts can get knocked and scraped very easily, which is why ground clearance for a truck or Jeep is so important and serious off-roaders always want more of it.
A hard knock to an axle or differential could dent or break it and exhaust parts can get crushed or pulled off along the way.
If this kind of damage is a concern, invest in some skid plates to cover it up and give your truck or Jeep some underbelly armor to protect it.
Body and Windshield Damage
When the going gets really rough, body damage can be a common occurrence.
At the very least, go off-road knowing that the paint on a truck or Jeep might get scratched and scuffed.
Beyond the scratches, damage to the rocker panels is common as is being hit by rocks, branches, and other flying debris.
Dents and dings are frequent, cracked and chipped windshields are common, and wrecks - well, that is body damage to a whole other extreme.
Understand that when going off-roading in a truck or Jeep, you are taking a big risk that things could cosmetically look different when back home.
Going off-road is stressful to the many mechanical and electrical systems that keep a 4x4 moving on the trails and over the obstacles.
Of all of them, the transmission works the hardest when it is switched into low gears yet revving at higher RPMs.
Frequent shifting in and out of gears adds extra wear and tear to manual transmissions.
Transmissions revving higher and working harder will also run hotter, which can add to that wear.
Keep That 4x4 Safe
Now knowing the problems most likely to happen to a truck or Jeep when taking it off-road, it is possible to be prepared and take some measures to prevent it.
Primarily, keep all these in mind when going out on the trails to be more conscious of the things that could cause these issues.
If it is possible to avoid a situation that could result in a gashed tire or crushed muffler, do so.
Also take extra precautions to protect that prized truck or Jeep by installing skin plates and rocker protectors, adding bead locks to tires and wheels, and consider other body armor as well.
Regardless of what is done to prevent damage, just be sure to check for it afterward when returning home and make any needed repairs before heading out to the trails again.
Hopefully, it will be possible to get home in one piece; however, if your truck or Jeep suffers some damage, feel a funny shake, or hear a funny noise, you now have a good idea where to start looking!
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