Freedom Country Smart Search Icon

Going Off-Road: Trail Tips



The holidays are here, and if you have an off-roading trip planned for the break, it’s important to be prepared and to know what you’re doing on the trail. Last month we went over some recommended equipment and some basic maintenance to do before you hit the trail, and this month we’ve put together a few tips to keep in mind while you’re out exploring.

Nothing prepares you more for the going off-road than experience, but if you implement these best practices, you’re already ahead of the curve.


Read the Terrain

Ironically, keeping your eyes on the road is imperative while off-roading. If you’re entering a severe or dangerous section of the trail, it’s a good idea to get out of the vehicle and scout ahead to check for any hazards. With more experience, you’ll learn to check for telltale signs of danger without ever leaving your vehicle.

If you notice the trail disappearing or dipping to one side on the horizon, that could indicate a particularly steep grade coming up. Similarly, if you’re approaching a steep upward climb, it’s a good idea to take the time to map out your route. No one wants to be the person that flips their Jeep on a hill. This is called Reading the Terrain, and it’s an essential skill for off-roading.


Adjust Your Tire Pressure

It’s very important to keep track of your tire pressure on any off-roading trip. Lowering your pressure makes climbing rocks much easier, as the treads are able to morph around the rocks and provide much better traction. Low pressure is also very helpful for sandy or snowy terrain. The tire expands flatter on the ground, allowing for more contact and more traction.

Conversely, trails with lots of small sharp rocks can be very damaging to tires, so it’s recommended you air them up to near street level so they are more resilient to punctures. Be sure to bring an air compressor and an accurate gauge to adjust on the fly.



Find Traction

Another important off-roading skill to learn is how to find traction. If you find yourself on a gravelly slope and you lose traction, try letting off the gas and gently moving your tires back and forth with the steering wheel. This will help clear loose debris from around your tires and help you find traction again. Be careful to keep your thumbs on the outside of your steering wheel, as the wheel may jerk as you get going again.


Check Water Depth

If you’re planning on crossing any streams or creeks, it’s important to know both the fording depth of your Jeep and the depth of the water. Check your owner’s manual for the fording depth, and use a branch or other means to check the depth of your crossing. Water can hide unexpected drop-offs and can rise from the bottom of your door to the bottom of your windows in a matter of seconds.

Do you have any off-road tips? Let us know on Facebook ! If you want to get into off-roading, just shop our Jeep inventory online or come see us for all of your car buying and maintenance needs! Freedom Jeep Chrysler in Killeen is your local source for all of your Jeep and Chrysler buying needs in Killeen, serving Austin, Waco, Temple, Belton, Harker Heights, and Copperas Cove.