When it comes to enjoying your 4×4 on an off-roading adventure, the world is your oyster. There is almost no terrain that cannot be conquered with the proper 4×4 modifications and upgrades. However, the one thing that remains true no matter where you are enjoying your off-roading is that safety is first and foremost.
Making sure that your 4×4 is safe and prepared for an off-roading adventure is vital. The following is a safety checklist so that you can make sure that every aspect of your 4×4 is prepared for the road (or sand dune, river, rocky range, etc.) ahead:
When it comes to off-roading you will want to make sure that your tires are in good condition, otherwise you may be in trouble.
Make sure that your tires have the correct amount of air pressure (the front and rear tires should be inflated the same amount.) A failure to maintain proper tire air pressure could result in your 4×4 pulling.
Beat up tires are no good. Check for slices, gouges, or other damage that could lead to air leaks.
Making sure that the axle nuts on the wheels are tight is important before you go rocketing over rough terrain. You can make sure they are secure by using cotter pins.
Controls, Cables, etc.
Before taking off on an off-road adventure, make sure that you are aware of where all of the controls for your 4×4 are. Make sure that you are able to reach them quickly, and with intent. You should also check your throttle to make sure that it moves smoothly in any handle position – after all, off-roading can be very hard on these parts of the 4×4. Making sure that your brakes and foot shifters are both at peak health is important, as well.
Lights and other Electronics
One of the downsides to off-roading is the wear and tear it can have on your 4×4. Notably, your Jeep or trucks lights and electronics can be susceptible to being jarred loose, or detaching. It is a good call to check the condition of your ignition switch before heading out (make sure it is in proper working order.) As well, you may want to check your engine stop switch. Headlights, taillights, and brake lights should all be checked before hitting the dunes, as well. These lights can easily be knocked loose or broken during rides, so checking them after the adventure is smart, too.
Oil and Fuel
One of the last things you want to happen while enjoying a day of off-road adventuring is running out of fuel while you’re in the middle of some unruly terrain. So, it is vital to make sure you check your fuel levels before every ride, as well as making sure you know the fuel range of your 4×4. While you are checking the fuel levels, you should also keep an eye on your 4×4’s oil levels before an outing. Checking your fuel and oil lines for leaks or signs of damage on a regular basis is a good safety procedure to get used to. And, because of the conditions you put your 4×4 through, keeping an eye on the air filter is wise. Making sure you are always riding with a clean air filter can help insure a smooth ride.
Chain and Drive Shaft
Your 4×4’s chain is its main – and vital – link connecting the engine and the wheels. As such, it is imperative that you keep this chain well lubricated. Checking and lubricating the chain regularly will help keep your 4×4 in top-shape. However, if your 4×4 has a drive shaft instead of a chain you will need to inspect it to make sure that the shaft does not have oil leaks, and that it has proper oil levels (these levels are different between rides, so make sure to reference your owner’s manual for specifics.)