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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Common 4×4 Problems You Might Encounter on the Trail

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I think we can all agree that getting off-road can be loads of fun. But the rough-and-tumble trails we ride on also present some challenges – both for us as drivers and for our vehicles.

Of course, part of being an off-road enthusiast is being prepared for as many eventualities as possible. This includes having the necessary tools to address common 4×4 problems that occur when off-roading.

With that in mind, here’s a few common 4×4 problems to watch out for.

Common 4×4 Problems – Damage to the Undercarriage

4x4 tire problems

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All those rocks and tree roots and other obstacles you drive over represent a possible gauntlet of damage for the undercarriage of your vehicle.

Obviously, things like skid plates go a long way in protecting vital components of your rig, but there might still be occasions when your truck’s protective parts don’t get the job done.

From your transmission to your brake lines, the oil sump to the axle, damage to components on the underside of your vehicle is likely to occur at some point in your off-roading career.

Transmission Problems While Off-Roading

 two 4x4s in a river with

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Off-roading is hard on your transmission; there’s just no getting around it. All that hard work could mean your transmission begins to have problems.

If the gearbox goes out, difficulty shifting is just one of the problems you might face. There could be transmission fluid leaks, missed gears, tons of warning lights, and that tell-tale burning smell that can quickly overwhelm your nostrils.

In some cases, transmission problems can be fixed on the trail. But if you experience a complete failure, you could be facing a lengthy (and expensive) rescue mission to get your rig out of the wilderness.

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Common 4×4 Problems: Damage to Tires

4x4 Tire problems

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One of the most vulnerable components of your 4×4 vehicle is the tires. They take the biggest brunt of the beating as you advance your truck over rough terrain.

It’s not just the sharp rocks on the trail that can lead to damage, either. Normal wear and tear will eventually mean you need to get a new set of rubber.

The obvious counterbalance to tire damage is to have a spare with you, along with a high-lift jack to make changing a flat that much easier. 

But also be proactive – inspect your tires for wear or damage before each trip, and when you begin to see signs of wear, get your tires replaced. New tires might be expensive, but I’d rather buy new tires than worry about worn tires failing on the trail.

Your 4×4 Might Suffer from Misalignment

Two people in a 4x4

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All the bumps, dips, knocks, vibrations, and so forth that you encounter on the trail can certainly cause issues to your rig’s alignment.

With all the rough terrain you drive over, you might eventually find that the wheels don’t quite line up with the steering wheel. And while this isn’t a critical problem initially, at some point, it could lead to additional damage to your vehicle.

For example, a misalignment can rattle and rock your vehicle enough that it causes damage to the suspension.

So, if you want to avoid much bigger problems down the line, get your rig aligned as soon as you realize there’s a problem.

Again, you can minimize the chance of these problems occurring by being proactive and being prepared on the trail. Now that you have some insights into common 4×4 problems, it’s time to get ready and get out there!


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