So you’re finally ready to make the leap into the world of off road auto parts, and willing to invest the time and money into gearing your rig for rugged terrain.
If you practically live on the trail already, there probably isn’t much you can learn here. On the other hand, if you’re just getting started with customizing your vehicle with auto parts, read on to get an idea of the essential auto parts you need to properly equip your ride.
Beginning this article with lift kits is not to say that they are the most important and absolutely essential auto parts for going off road. Actually, you’d be surprised just how capable some vehicles are with stock equipment, provided that they’re driven correctly.
But for the true hardcore off road enthusiast looking to take on some serious terrain, a suspension lift kit is not just a necessary auto parts modification, but also one of the most major projects you could possibly undertake.
Regardless of what type or brand of suspension lift kit you choose to invest in, the ultimate goal of adding one is typically twofold:
- Clearance: Lifting your vehicle just a few inches off the ground provides your vehicle with added height clearance. This allows you space to outfit your ride with larger tires, in essence producing better all-around traction and giving you more room to clear obstacles.
- Articulation: Articulation is a term used to describe the amount of allowed up and down wheel travel ability. Generally speaking, the more articulation you have, the more your wheels can flex when crawling over obstacles.
Upgrading your tires goes hand in hand with adding a suspension lift kit, since the combined bigger size of the tires plus the extra inches from your lift kit will offer much needed clearance through tough environments.
It is a common misconception that adding off road tires is all about getting improved traction. While this may be true to a limited extent, there are other, better auto parts for improving off road traction. Overall, adding tall tires is mostly about clearance.
It should also be noted that when adding larger tires and a suspension lift, certain stock components may not be able to stay up to snuff in harsh conditions. For this reason, you may need to update some related hardware to help keep up. Ring and pinion gears are one huge example. Axles and brake systems are some others.
Check with someone who has some technical know-how for a better idea of what you’re up against.