Can’t afford an SUV? What if I was to tell you that you didn’t need a 4X4 to go off-road? That’s right, your small tarmac-loving hatchback might be just as suited for the job – with a few little tweaks and adjustments of course. For anyone with off-road dreams, whether you’re moving to the country or have a roadtrip planned on the horizon, here are a few ways that you can save money by simply adjusting your current vehicle.
Toughen up your tyres
First things first, you’re going to have to buy some new rubber. Road tyres are too thin and have too small a tread for negotiating off-road terrain. You need to replace these either with off-road tyres or all-terrain tyres that will allow you still travel at speed on road without burning through rubber. Some tyres may also be more suited to specific climates such as snow or the heat.
You can take extra measures on top such as replacing the actual wheels and fixing up suspension. Fuel wheels are a popular off-road brand, but are generally more suited to non-modded vehicles. Fixing up suspension should also be done with care – this can often be a costly procedure but if you’re hoping to tackle really rugged terrain it will be needed.
Kit out for an emergency
Going off-road can sometimes result in some sticky situations. Being able to pull yourself out of a ditch is the most important skill to have when travelling off-road. This will require having some rope and possibly a shovel if you end up in deep mud or snow. Some drivers may even consider fitting a tow bar on the back or front so that getting towed out is easier.
Having the usual emergency kit can also be handy. This includes warning triangles, jump leads and a first aid kit (hopefully you’ll never need this last one). It can also be worth having a jerry can if you plan on travelling far into the wilderness where there may not be any gas stations around. Last but not least, keep a torch and fluorescents in case you get stuck at night.
Having communication is vital for exploring off-road. Your smartphone is likely to not only provide phone signal and GPS connection – it may also provide handy apps for other situations such as Flash Light. Make sure that your smartphone is constantly charged up by buying a USB charger.
A solar car battery charger can be another handy tool to have. This will keep your vehicle powered by the sun at all times allowing you to keep charging your phone, as well as using air con and other features that may rely on electricity. A solar battery charger can also be very handy in cold weather in which a battery will wear more quickly.