All manufacturers that offer real off-road vehicles are proud to announce that their models are fully capable of attacking the most challenging terrain, right from the showroom floor. We are not saying that this isn’t true, but the reality is that despite how well-equipped the off-road might seem, there is always a room for improvement over stock. That is why the business of aftermarket parts and components for off-road vehicles and trucks is booming.
Simply, everybody who ever spent some time on the trail realized that their vehicle could be improved. Today, we will tell you more about ten off road mods that will make life easier for every dedicated off-road guy or gal.
10 Best Off Road Mods & Upgrades
Even if you don’t do anything else, tires must be the first thing on any list of off-road modifications. After all, tires are the only thing between you and the ground, so if you are serious about driving off-road, your first visit must be to the tire shop.
Choose wisely since the off-road tires are made for rock-crawling, mud, or all-terrain. There are different tread patterns and compounds designed to provide you with as much grip as possible. Be advised that aggressive off-road tires will be impractical on the street, so find a balance.
2. Lift Kit
Ground clearance is one of the crucial aspects of every off-road vehicle. The higher your vehicle is, the better it is on the trail. Even a few inches more will do wonders.
Whichever type of off-road vehicle you have, there are lift kits for your make and model. However, it is very important not to lift it too high since the vehicle will lose balance, became unstable and dangerous to drive. Also, you want to avoid having that “Bro Truck” look with insane ride height and “monster truck” stance.
Contrary to the sports car world where power is everything, torque is much more valuable in the off-road community. If you want to modify your engine, be sure that this modification results in a higher torque figure.
Upgrading your engine can be done in numerous ways but ensure that the power delivery is suited to the purpose. In the off-road vehicle, torque should be available at low RPMs in order to maximize the pulling power and help you climb that obstacle with ease.
4. Skid Plates
Another must-do modification is the skid plates. Think of it as armor designed to keep the delicate but crucial undercarriage components like oil pan, radiator, and transmission case, and so on.
In rock crawling, your vehicle is continuously in danger of getting damaged from the rocks you are climbing on. If you “sit” on top of the rock, the hit can damage your driveshafts, transfer cases, punch a hole in your oil pan, and you can be stranded immediately. Skid plates provide protection from damage, which is why this modification is something you must do.
The winch on the front of your off-road vehicle shows you are serious about going on the trails and spending time in nature. Everybody who was stuck in the mud or helped somebody getting out of the sticky situation knows the value of having a winch. That is why it is one of the top mods for your off-road vehicle.
However, there are several important aspects you should consider before you buy. Do you want an electric, hydraulic, or power take-off winch? What is the capacity of the system, and how to calculate it? And, of course, how to install it properly.
6. Suspension Components
There is no need to invest in expensive suspension kits, heavy-duty arm, and components from the start because simple springs, bushings, and shocks job can go a long way in transforming your vehicle into an off-road beast.
In our book, upgrading suspension is very high on the list of necessary off-road modifications. Simply, because you want to be sure that something trivial like blown bushing will not leave you stranded, you should also invest in rust-free bolts that hold suspension components. It is a small investment, but it will give you peace of mind knowing that a snapped bolt will not ruin your day on the trail.
7. Roof Rack
No matter how big and spacious your off-roader is, there is always something you want to take with you, but you cannot fit it inside. That is why the roof rack is one of the essential modifications. It is an immensely practical component that can be used for many different purposes, including being a base for a tent.
Our advice is to go for lighter, aluminum racks instead of the regular steel ones. The reason is that you want to minimize the weight you placed on top of your vehicle, don’t disturb the balance, and aluminum is more durable than the steel.
8. Light Bar
“2008 Ford Escape Limited Sport Shoot” by Brett Levin Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Very rarely do off-road vehicles come from the factory with additional lights. Companies don’t want to go to the extra trouble of the crash testing process, knowing that the number of customers who need this is relatively small.
However, having a proper set of lights or light bars can be a real life-saver when you are in the middle of nowhere in the pitch dark. You can always go for cheap Halogen units, but those are outdated in every way.
We suggest you invest in LED or Xenon lights/light bars which have a longer life, use less power, and shine much better than ordinary light bulbs.
9. Bull Bar
Brush guards, better known as bull bars, are a common off-road modification, and they are very helpful in protecting the front end of your car while you are going through challenging terrain. Most people think that they are purely visual addition designed to look tough and menacing.
However, bull bars keep the rocks and tree branches away from your radiator, headlights, and grille and have numerous other purposes. They could also be used as push bars if you need to push somebody out of the way and even be a drying rack for your wet clothes.
“File:1990 Range Rover (5971571137).jpg” by dave_7 from Lethbridge, Canada is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Whether you are going desert running or slowly crossing through muddy streams, you have to think of your engine.
One of the straightforward and best off road mods is snorkel kits. It is basically a plastic tube that mounts onto your engine intake and feeds the air from a higher point, most commonly above the windshield. This way, the engine is provided with cleaner air and minimizes the chances of clogging it with sand or, catastrophically, with water.