Is Your 4WD Vehicle Capable Of Off-Road Travel?

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To determine whether your 4×4 vehicle is trail-ready and capable of surviving a trip off-road, first and foremost, you’ll want to do a visual inspection — both inside and out.

Then, you should do a more thorough check of each of the main parts of your 4×4 vehicle.

Here’s what to look for…



Closely inspect the inner workings of your vehicle and make sure that the following parts are in good working condition and you don’t hear any strange noises coming from these areas:

  • Axles & Differentials – hubs, seals, vacuum lines, shift motors, vent lines, front u-joints
  • Battery – clean terminals, check for damaged or corroded wiring
  • Brakes – drums, rotors, pads/shoes, fluid, hoses, leaks, check your emergency brake, brake lights
  • Belts & Hoses – look for cracks or bulges
  • Body & Frame – look for cracks
  • Cooling/Heating System – look for leaks, fluid levels, clean and repair fins, check hoses, thermostat, radiator cap
  • Driveline/Transmission – inspect case and shifter, leaks, fluids, universal & cv joints, skid plates
  • Engine – carburetor, fuel injectors, spark plugs, wires, pcv valve, pumps, spark plugs, distributor & wires, belts; check for leaks and cracks
  • Exhaust – muffler, tailpipe
  • Fluids – oil, transmission, brake, radiator coolant, gear oils, wipers, power steering
  • Lights – headlights, brake lights, auxiliary lights; make sure they’re aimed properly
  • Nuts & Bolts – tighten axle u-bolts, lug bolts, nuts
  • Steering – check alignment, fluid level, belts and hoses, pump and reservoir for leaks
  • Suspension – springs, shocks, alignment, wheel bearings, steering linkage
  • Tires – tighten lug nuts, air pressure, tread wear (including your full-size spare), look for cuts and missing chunks
  • Wipers – check for wear, washer fluid level

Lastly, make sure you know the vehicle requirements for the places where you’ll be driving.

For example, years ago we took our stock Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to Tellico — only to get stuck.

You really need to have some lift on your vehicle in order to ride there.

our jeep sandwiched between big rocks at tellico