Paint & Body Protection For Your Off-Roading Vehicle

While off-roading vehicles are going to get scratched and beat up to some level depending on the terrain you choose, protecting your vehicle and taking good care of it is pretty important too. With ever-advancing technologies protection for the paint & body of your vehicle has been taken to new levels. That being said, what automotive enhancement & paint protection services are worth it for your 4 wheeling vehicle?

Paint Protection Film Is It Worth It?

Paint protection film also known as Clear Bra or PPF is one of the best paint protection advancements that can be added to your vehicle. What exactly is paint protection film? We found Redwood City’s best Clear Bra installer, SS Customs, and got the lowdown. 

Paint protection film is a urethane material that is applied to your vehicle just like a vehicle vinyl wrap. It adheres to the top of your vehicle’s paint acting as an extremely durable topcoat. PPF has self-healing capabilities that allow it to remove scratches, rock chips, and dings before you even notice that they are there. It will never damage your original paint when installed or removed by a professional Clear bra expert, and it also offers great protection against UV rays, chemical etching and will make cleaning & maintaining your vehicle a lot easier 

That being said, PPF isn’t necessarily the best option for off-roading vehicles. If you are new to off-roading or stay on generally mild terrain, having paint protection film installed on your 4 wheeling vehicle may be right for you. It will definitely help to protect your vehicle from natural elements but only to a certain degree. If you are doing some advanced or rugged off-roading, the weather and land elements may just eat up your paint protection film. In the end, the decision is ultimately yours, but before going ahead with any kind of paint protection service you should make sure you speak with a reputable and honest auto enhancement specialist. One thing that is great about PPF installation is that you don’t have to have the entire vehicle wrapped. Instead, you can opt for a partial or only high scratch area installation. This could be exactly what you are looking for.

Ceramic Coatings For 4-Wheeling Vehicles

Another paint protection or allover vehicle protection alternative is a Ceramic Coating. While PPF can be installed either fully or partially a ceramic coating must cover the entire vehicle. Why? Unlike paint protection film a ceramic coating is made out of a liquid polymer that fills in the porous surface of your vehicle, bonding to the paint and creating the ultimate glass-like shield. A ceramic coating adds high gloss so your vehicle always looks like it just came off the showroom floor. It also acts as protection against weather elements, rocks, bird droppings & chemical etching. Ceramic coatings are one of the best vehicle protection services out there but it might not be the right fit for your 4 wheeling vehicle.

These are just two of the most popular options when it comes to paint & vehicle protection. Taking care of our off-roading vehicles comes a bit differently than that of our regular vehicles, but either way, you want to protect what’s yours and keep it in the best shape possible.

Are You Following A Saftey Checklist Before Off-Roading?

In our last article, we talked about some of the best off-roading trails to explore during the winter season. We also briefly mentioned with winter temperatures and the snowfall it is even more important to follow safety precautions when setting out to do some 4 wheeling. That being said, anytime you go off-roading you should follow a list of protocols to ensure that you are as safe and as prepared as can be. So, what are some of the absolute basics that should always be followed no matter how skilled of an off-roader you are and no matter where you’re going?

Off-Road Prep Saftey Checklist

Tell A Friend – Like we said before it doesn’t matter how skilled of a driver you are, before venturing out on any off0roading adventure you should tell a friend or loved one exactly where you are going and when you are expected to return. That being said it is also important that you try to never deviate too far from the original plan that was communicated.

Map & Compass – Even in this day and age with GPS systems galore it is always best to take a good old-fashioned map & compass. Technology can fail us as we have often seen before. Relying on a map & compass could be your best bet in certain circumstances. This means you also need to know how to read both!

Never Go Alone – Ideally, when setting out on off-roading adventures you will want to go with a team. However, if this is not possible you should always go with at least one other person and never completely alone!

Water, Water, Water – Not only should you take plenty of drinking water for your planned trip you should take extra as well. And while you’re taking more water you should also pack extra food & snacks just in case. It may seem like a hassle when you are getting ready to go but should you ever get stuck or stranded you’ll definitely appreciate that extra food & water.

Have A Way To Communicate – Cell phone signals don’t always work when you are in the mountains so it is also highly advisable to carry a CB or Ham radio with you on any off-roading adventure but especially those up in the mountains.

While there are also a number of other steps to follow these are the ones we deem most important for every off-roader. While off-roading is meant to be enjoyed and fun it can also be hazardous, or things might not go as planned. Being prepared and educated on the safety precautions to take before each adventure can make all the difference.

 

Best Off-Roading Winter Terrain

Off-roading during any season makes for a great outdoor & 4 wheeling adventure. Depending on the trails you explore, there is always beautiful scenery & incredible terrain. But there is something about off-roading during the winter season that makes for an even better adventure. In fact, some of the best off-roading adventures take place all over the United States because of awesome trails like the following:

Big Horn Mountains – Wyoming

This terrain is filled with great valleys and rolling hills which are beautiful all year round. However, with the snowfall in winter, the terrain is even more beautiful to explore. And there is a ton of terrain to cover at that. The Bighorn National Forest offers more than 1500 trails and 32 campsites for those looking to spend some time there. 

Big Bear Lake – California

Even though this lake is close to San Diego, it is still high enough up in the San Bernadino Mountains that it gets snow during the winter season. With lots of hidden rocks and boulders, it can get pretty treacherous in some spots. But with many 4×4 trails and old logging roads dedicated to the off-road enthusiast, there are adventures to be had for all levels of drivers.

White Mountains – New Hampshire

The White Mountains are part of the Appalachian chain, which is known for it’s horrible & often dangerous winter weather. Because of the heavy snowfall, freezing temperatures, and dense fog, the trails found here can put even the most skilled off-roaders to the test. If venturing into the White Mountains it is highly advised that you have the right essentials and off-roading equipment. Not to mention heavy-duty off-roading tires to even have a chance in the snow.

Black Hills National Forest – South Dakota

Great off-roading terrain can be found here with miles and miles of trails to explore. The terrain is also groomed, mapped, and maintained which is great for beginners. You are able to enjoy high altitude views and with 3,600 miles of road of which 700 miles is dedicated to off-roaders, you are sure to find a trail and views you love. 

The bottom line is there are so many incredible trails to explore for all skill levels of off-roaders. The main thing to keep in mind is safety when setting off on any off-roading adventure. And during the winter months with freezing temperatures and oftentimes lots of snow, safety measures have never been more important to follow.

Most Common 4X4 Repairs

Off-road four-wheeling is one of the greatest hobbies to engage in. There is something about not only building your 4×4 vehicle but also about taking it out on those rocky dirt roads or rugged terrain and seeing just what it can do! Along with all the joys of off-road four-wheeling comes all of the maintenance and repair issues that occur. While these repairs and maintenance are no drivers favorite part it all comes with the territory, or should we say terrain!

While there is plenty of off-road terrain to be found in the desert states such as Nevada, Arizona, and California as well as rockier states like Utah and Colorado the same holds true from all types of 4X4 vehicles, they all suffer from these common problems. Phoenix auto repair specialist, John goes into detail about what parts have the most issues and why,

Most Common Off-Road 4X4 Vehicle Repairs

Tires-

While tires are an intricate part of any vehicle they are especially so for off-roading four-wheel-drive vehicles. Not only do you have to maintain the health and wellness of your tires for the best ride and the most important, safety precautions but also because your tires play a big role in the wear and tear of your suspension & steering components. Big tires & wheels have a negative effect on both of these components and are a supporting factor in the repair of these vital vehicle systems.

Suspension Components-

Speaking of your vehicle’s suspension, these parts tend to wear out after a lot of rocky, bumpy and pothole-filled terrain drives that are associated with off-road four-wheeling. Your suspension system components affected include the bigger parts such as the struts and shocks, as well as, the smaller pieces such as ends, bearings, tie-rods, and bushings. Repair or replacement needed of the smaller parts can also create issues with the bigger parts, so keep that in mind says, John.

Steering Components-

These components are often thought of as a “weak” link. While there are different joints your front axle might have a very universal and commonly used one id the Single U-Joint. These joints are made with a lot of strength but after being utilized for extreme angles they tend to show wear-out and become weak needing replacement.

Braking Components-

A very important part of any vehicle is its brake components. Making sure they are well maintained and cared for will help to ensure optimal safety when out off-roading. A lot of the time mud, dirt, and road-debris can tend to get sandwiched between the brake pads & the rotors wearing out your brakes at an increased rate, as well as decreasing their performance. Rocks also tend to harm your brake components by chewing up and wreaking havoc on your brake pad surfaces.

Shaft Seals-

Seals are meant to keep things sealed. What happens when there is damage to your seals? The things you want to be kept in get out and the things you want to be kept out get in. Meaning the lubricant important for the function of your engine and vehicle can escape through broken seals and dirt and road-debris you need to keep out can also get in through these broken seals causing a doubly bad issue.

While it is safe to say that you will face one of these issues with your passion for off-roading the better you stay ahead of them or the speed in which you have them repaired will make all the difference in cost and the quality of your driving. If you aren’t able to make repairs yourself make sure that you have aligned yourself with a professional & experienced mechanic or repair shop to help ensure that your vehicle repairs are done right!

 

Off-Roading Aftermarket Parts

The automobile market has always been filled with aftermarket parts, ever since the car was invented people have been looking to invent new and unique ways to customize their car either for performance or cosmetic reasons. And one of the biggest markets for aftermarket parts is the off-road industry. They are always looking for bigger tires, more travel in their suspension, and other options that just make their off-road vehicle more functional and cooler looking. Here are some of the more common aftermarket upgrades for off-roaders.

  • Suspension- The first mod many want to do is to add a lift kit to their off-road vehicle. While this is a great first step, there are so many high tech suspension upgrades that will help your vehicle not only get more , but also make your ride more comfortable and more capable. On top of that, it is cool to see big springs and shocks behind those big tires, which brings us to our next upgrade. 
  • Wheels/Tires- Not only do bigger tires look cool, but they also provide a lot of function in helping your vehicle navigate the tough conditions. You can give your wheel a powder coating to protect it as well as give your off-roader a customized look. And bigger tires allow your off-roader to look more like a monster truck dominating over every other car on the road or dirt.
  • Off-Road Lights- Off-road lights are used just like normal headlights, except they are usually mounted on the roof or the grill of the off-roader. This gives them the extra light needed to see past all the dirt, mud, and dust that might get in your way. Because the last thing you want is to crash in the middle of nowhere.
  • Air Intake Snorkels- This upgrade is mainly for people who go off-roading in the water where their vehicle usually goes a whole tire depth in water. And this isn’t good for the air intake to be sucking up water instead of air as it will lead to your engine dying. So mounting an air intake above the roof allows your engine to get the air it needs while traversing rivers or even small ponds.
  • Winch- This is essential for off-roaders as if you get stuck, you will need something else to help you to get out. And sometimes another vehicle isn’t even able to help you That’s where the winch comes in as it allows you to pull your off-roader out even the most extreme conditions as long as it is attached to something secure like a big tree.
  • Skid Plate- Finally, off-roaders need to protect vital components such as the oil pan, radiator, and drivetrain against all the rocks that might come out of nowhere when you are claiming up or down a hill.

Best 4×4 Terrain to Explore

You have finally decided to take a chance at the highly addictive pastime of 4x4-terrain-USoffloading. From rock crawling to muddin’ to the sand dunes, anyone with a big enough sense of adventure will be sure to fall in love. Luckily, there are many places across the US that allow you to take your off road machine or even rent one to have some real fun and see some once in a lifetime views! Here are just some of the more popular ones!

Best 4×4 Terrain in the U.S

explore-4x4-trails

Moab, UT

3 and a half hours south of Salt Lake City, this is the rock climbing capital of the US if not the world. With Jeep rentals and guides a plenty, this is a great place to start your off roading history. And it will most likely having you come back with some of the best views in the country and the sheer amount of trials for all difficulty levels. The more popular trials are the Kane Creek Trail and the White Rim Trail.

Rubicon Trail, CA

2 hours south of Reno, NV, this is the trail to go to if you want to test your off-road ability. While only 22 miles long, this is some of the most difficult rock crawling in the country requiring high amounts of skill, patience, and planning. Being difficult and busy, its not the best for a novice or someone looking to have a relaxing time. In fact, this trial is so famous that Jeep named one of its trim packages on its Wrangler SUV after this bucket list 4×4 challenge.

Silver Lake Dunes, MI

A little over an hour west of Grand Rapids, MI this is a great place in the Midwest to experience the same type of sand dunes you might think you need to go to the coasts to experience. This is the place for people who prefer sliding, jumps, and fast speeds rather than rock climbing. If you are landlocked and wish to experience the dunes life, this is the place to go.

Alpine Loop Trail, CO

A long 6 hours west of Colorado Springs, this is the exact place to go to view the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. This loop encompasses 63 miles in total and is quite easy for the novice off-roader. Although some of the more breathtaking views take a little more effort. The only con is that this area gets a lot of snow in the winter, causing some of the loop to be closed.

Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, GA

This destination is 2 hours southeast of Chattanooga, TN. Thankfully you don’t have to pronounce the name of this final route in order to experience the views that rivals the more popular west coast off roading spots. This place at the end of the Appalachian mountain chain also offers more difficult routes for those looking for memories and fun rather than pictures.

best-4x4-trailsNo matter where you are in the US, you are able to find somewhere only a couple hours away to find the views and adventures that will get you addicted to any form of off roading, if you aren’t already!

 

 

Interesting 4×4 Facts

four-wheel-facts

For those of you that love four wheeling as much as I do you know that there are so many different aspects to four wheel driving as well as choosing and maintaining your vehicle.  In fact many times we start out with one vehicle and continue to build it up over time making it the most amazing and awesome 4×4 that we can imagine. More times than not we also end up spending a lot more money on the build of the vehicle than the actual vehicle value!  But hey it all comes with being a 4×4 lover and knowing what you want and how to make your four wheeling experiences stand up to your expectations. We thought for our first post we would provide some interesting facts about the 4×4 world and everything that encompasses it!

4×4 Facts

  • The word 4×4 originated in 1940 when it was used to describe North American military vehicles
  • The very first 4 wheel drive vehicle was made in 1903 by Jacobus & Hendrick-Jan Spijker
  • Both SUVs that offer 4×4 and four wheel drive vehicles have the fastest grwoing production rates in the world as of now
  • Four wheel drive describes a vehicle that has power from the engine going to ALL 4 heels instead of just two like standard vehicles.  This engine power in turn makes the vehicle a lot more powerful!
  • Land Rovers and Jeeps take the top spots for the best and most coveted four wheel drive vehicles
  • Most 4×4 vehicles are equipped with a high and low gear box so that they can drive slow or fast depending on the terrain they are on
  • Because of the different type of suspension on a four wheel drive vehicle compared to that of a regular 2WD vehicle there is more space between the wheels and the terrain which helps the 4×4 navigate better

These are just a few interesting facts about 4×4 vehicles and how they have developed over the years. While there is a lot to explore and knowledge to aquirre when diving into the 4×4 world we thought for those of you starting out this would be a nice introduction.  One thing we think is for certain is that once you dive into the 4×4 world you will wonder why it took you so long to take interest in it. Its adventurous, fun and always a good time!

Howdy!

four-wheel-drive-world

HOWDYYY! Hello to all and welcome to our site dedicated to the 4×4 world! We love adventure and everything about the four wheel drive world so we thought why not dedicate a site to all things 4×4! We hope to share tips, adventures, stories and some of the best custom built 4×4 vehicles out there! With so many different kinds of terrain to explore when going four wheeling, our site will try to encompass all, as well as provide great content for all types of 4×4 enthusiasts and lovers. Sit back, hold on and come on a four wheel ride with us!