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Off-road vehicles perform exceptionally on the trails. Whether it’s a car that has the best traction or a truck that has four-wheel drive capabilities, these vehicles make driving quite exciting.

But if you neglect to maintain them post-ride, you may start encountering issues. Below are a few tips on how to keep your off-road vehicle in the best shape possible.

Make sure it’s cleaned and lubricated properly

It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many drivers forego this simple step. After a long day driving through muddy and inhospitable trails, make it a point to do a thorough cleaning.

All those tiny rocks, grime, and mud can cause long-term damage to the vehicle. Tiny fragments can make their way into the internal parts and build up over time. If you notice your suspensions or brake pads not working as sprightly as they used to, then it may be of all that grit build up.

After cleaning, don’t forget to lubricate u-joints, bearings, and driveshafts. However, some parts won’t require greasing, so be sure to check—whether it’s the driveshaft of a Jeep Wrangler JL, Ford F-150 Raptor, or other vehicles.

Inspect the gearbox

Routinely look into your vehicle’s automatic gearbox and see if you need to change the gearbox fluid.

All that punishment and rough riding can take a toll on the gearbox—which may overheat as a result. Overheating does not bode well for the gearbox fluid. The latter is essential in ensuring that there isn’t too much grinding and friction between gears.

If you start seeing an unusually large amount of metal shavings or fragments when you drain and replace the fluid, it may be time to seek professional support for your vehicle.

man driving a car

Check the shocks as well

When you hit the trails and notice that steering is difficult or your tires seem to be not performing properly, your shock absorbers may be severely worn out.

If you continue to use the vehicle despite worn out or blown shocks, it will not only result in a bad driving experience, but it can also cause dangerous accidents. This is especially a risk when you’re driving on muddy terrain or under heavy rain.

Watch out for leaks and dents on your shocks. Make the necessary checks before and after every off-road adventure you go into.

Don’t go overboard

Lastly, don’t get too overconfident and push the vehicle way over its limits. The best maintenance interventions will all be in vain if you overestimate the vehicle’s capabilities.

What does this mean in practice? It translates to a couple of concrete actions you can do. Double-check the ground clearance that you can handle. Avoid terrain that will prove to be too much for your off-road vehicle. Go even easier on a two-wheel-drive vehicle while going through extremely rugged terrain.

While these types of vehicles are beasts on road and trail, there are limits to what they can do. There are other models that are more suited to the harshest terrains.

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