If you love driving but you want to take your adventuring to the next level, it's time to steer your vehicle off the pavement and out into the wild. Driving off-road can be an adrenaline-filled joyride that forces you to develop your driving skills, technique, and even your courage. But is your rig ready for the wilderness? Here are four ways you can improve your vehicle's performance off the road and out on the trail.
Even the most novice off-road adventurer can drastically improve performance simply by choosing the best set of tires for traction and maneuverability. Your stock light-duty street tires just aren't gonna cut it. A more aggressive tire is best, especially those designed specifically for off-road use like an all-terrain or mud-terrain rated tire. You want a tire with deep treads and sidewalls that can take a beating. No matter which tire you choose, don't forget to lower the air pressure before you head out off-road for maximum grip. Figuring out the air pressure sweet spot for your rig requires a little experimentation on the terrain you've chosen, but start somewhere between 10-12 psi for a radial tire and around 5-10 psi for a bias-ply tire.
When you're driving a vehicle over rocks, dirt, and sand, you obviously need ground clearance in order to be able to maneuver. But even a decent amount of lift on your truck isn't enough if you really want to get down and dirty on the trail and keep your rig in one piece. You might want to consider vehicle armor like skid plates, bumpers, stingers, and rock sliders. Not only do they look tough but they'll also protect your rig from the hazards you'll encounter on the trail. If you can only spring for one right now and you know you'll be out on the rocks, opt for skid plates. A gas tank skid plate, in particular, will protect the tank from accidental and dangerous rock punctures that could result in fire.
DPF EGR Delete Kit
One of the best tools for improving performance in an off-road diesel rig is a DPF EGR delete kit. Most vehicles have a mandatory exhaust gas recirculation system, or EGR, designed to reduce the exhaust coming from your vehicle. The DPF or diesel particulate filter is a part of that system. They can be problematic for diesel performance because they are prone to fail if they become clogged with soot when the system doesn't regenerate fully. With a DPF EGR delete kit, you can remove this system, disabling the regeneration mode and stopping the sensors from throwing codes. (Because this disables the emissions equipment, these are restricted to off-road use.) The benefit of this kit is that your rig will circulate coolant quicker, effectively lowering your engine temperature, and it will keep your intake much cleaner. You'll need to re-tune the engine once you've installed the kit but you'll see results immediately. Get in touch with a place like Cantune for more info on DPF EGR delete kits.
A traction-aiding differential will drastically improve your off-road adventures. In most street driving situations, your vehicle has an open differential, which means your wheels are set to turn at different speeds and with varying power so you can smoothly take corners without losing traction. The wheel on the inside of the corner turns more slowly in order to adequately navigate turns. But when you're on the trail, that difference in power can result in slippage and loss of traction. A traction-aiding differential forces the wheels to turn at the same or close to the same rate, increasing your traction on rocks and mud exponentially. There are a few types of differentials for off-road situations like locking, slip, and spool. Choosing the best option depends on your vehicle and the type of driving you're doing.