Considering Automotive School? 4 Features Every Off-Roading Vehicle Should Have
Adventure, the open road, speeding over rocks and through creeks… Off-roading can be a lot of fun, but with the wrong vehicle, it can also be disastrous. Drivers who want to begin their off-roading journey should be equipped with a vehicle that can handle the obstacles that they’ll encounter when driving on roads that are in no way suitable for the average car. An off-roading vehicle must be able to withstand difficult terrains, such as sand, mud, rocks, gravel, water, and steep slopes.
Here’s a look at a few key features a vehicle needs to thrive while navigating extreme terrain.
1. Those in Auto Careers Should Know the Importance of Four Wheel Drive for Off-Roading
When considering whether it’s safe to take a vehicle off-roading, one of the first things to note is whether the vehicle is equipped with four-wheel drive. On many vehicles, drivers can engage the 4WD setting through a button or a lever, depending on the vehicle’s configuration. When 4WD is engaged, the power an engine sends to the transmission is split between the front and wheel axles, transferring torque to a vehicle’s wheels. This gives the vehicle heightened power and traction from the wheels, enabling it to get out of a tough spot.
As an automotive school student, it’s important to be familiar with the risks of taking a 2WD car on an off-roading adventure. 2WD vehicles have a much higher chance of getting stuck in gravel, sand, or mud, as when power is applied, it’s likely that the wheels will spin instead of gaining any traction. Not only can this be a safety hazard, but it can also leave a driver stranded.
2. Off-Roading Vehicles Should Have a Good Set of Tires
Tires can make or break a vehicle’s ability to navigate roads off the beaten path. Taking bad tours out on an off-roading tour is like leaving the house without shoes—it just isn’t done. An off-roading vehicle’s tires should have proper traction capabilities, with tread depths of about 4/32 to 6/32. If a vehicle’s tread depths aren’t deep enough, this can cause a car to slip.
Uneven wear on tires is also a common occurrence as a result of frequent off-roading. As an auto mechanic, you can recommend that drivers take their vehicle in to swap the rear tires for the front ones. This should happen every 5000 kilometers driven and will improve the ability of the tires to provide the traction necessary to drive off-road safely.
3. Well-Maintained Fluid Levels are Crucial
Off-roading often entails driving in less-than mild conditions, and this means that a vehicle’s fluid levels need to be checked and replenished more than usual. When navigating bumpy, wet, muddy, and twisted roads, drivers will likely be relying more heavily on the fluids in their vehicle to keep everything running smoothly.
Drivers should have professionals in auto careers regularly check a vehicle’s motor oil, filters, coolant, windshield fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and filters. Mechanics can check for leakage, as well as for any foreign contaminants within a vehicle’s fluids, which could cause harm to its internal parts. Additionally, drivers should always be equipped with extra fluids when off-roading. Obstacles such as a particularly deep pothole have the potential to shake things up, and they’ll likely be far away from a mechanic who can help them.
4. Additional Helpful Features
In addition to the previous features, drivers should know about these other helpful qualities which can determine a vehicle’s off-roading capabilities. High ground clearance and adjustable suspension are both advantageous for off-roading cars to have, as these features allow a vehicle to go over rocks and other objects without suffering damage. Hill descent control, while not crucial, is another helpful feature for a vehicle to have when going down steep slopes. Vehicles will need to be able to maintain a controllable speed on slippery or windy terrain, and hill descent control will help drivers to focus on the road without wearing out the brakes.
Lastly, a vehicle should have solid torque. Torque, which provides power to a car through rotational force, is useful when driving at slower speeds on rough roads, such as when going uphill. Although these features aren’t necessarily essential, they will make a driver’s off-roading experience much safer.
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