Off-roading is an excellent hobby. If you have a vehicle that is capable of off-roading, it’s hard to resist the temptation to drive through the rugged trails of the backcountry. However, it can also cause a lot of damage to your vehicle.
Although there are many ways to prepare your vehicle for the rough terrain and extreme forces of nature, there is always a certain level of risk of your car suffering from problems. Learn about the most common off-roading damages that you need to look out for.
1. Damaged lights
Although high-quality off-road LED lights are meant to last through the most challenging off-road terrains, there’s still a chance of them becoming damaged or wearing out. Both stock lights and auxiliary lights can experience issues after an off-roading session. The most common of these issues are burned out lightbulbs, one or more faulty components, loose wiring, bad ground, and more.
Luckily, diagnosing and fixing light issues are generally simple enough to DIY. But if you can’t figure out the problem, take the car to a mechanic before you go off-road again.
2. Flat or worn-out tires
It is highly recommended that you replace your stock tires with off-roading ones before you tackle any type of trail. Off-roading tires are thicker, more durable, and have deeper treads that make it more suitable for rough terrains. But just like any other tire, they can wear out after some time. If your tires are flat or too worn out, take them to the shop before attempting to drive on them. Otherwise, you may be putting your rims at risk for further damage.
3. Body damage
When you go off-road, you need to accept that there will be some sort of damage to the body of your car. This can range from small scrapes and scratches to full-on dents and deep gashes. It’s part of being an off-road driver, yes. However, you still need to patch up your car from time to time to prevent the inner metal from corroding.
Another car problem that off-road drivers have learned to accept is wheel misalignment. After the rough terrain that you subject your vehicle to, it’s normal to end up with misaligned tires after you get back on the paved road.
Nevertheless, misaligned tires should be addressed immediately. Look out for wobbling or excessive vibration while driving back home. If the damage to your suspension system is too severe, it’s better to fix the problem as soon as possible to avoid further problems.
5. Damage to the undercarriage
When your vehicle goes off-road, you expose the undercarriage to all sorts of hazards. Sharp rocks will ding the bottom and small stones will be thrown upwards and hit the undercarriage. In worst cases, your car can be stuck on top of a large obstacle. These instances are often unavoidable when you go off-road. That said, looking under your vehicle for significant signs of damage (e.g. loose parts, punctures, dents) is a must after every trip to the trails.
These are the most common types of damage that your vehicle might take while off-roading. Although it’s a normal part of the sport, fixing these problems before they get worse is essential to make sure your next excursion is safe and worry-free.