People who have never experienced off-roading often wonder about the importance of the 4wd accessories that off-road vehicles are always seen sporting. Do they serve a definite purpose, or are they like racing spoilers on a family car, meant for “show more than go”?
The truth is that all the accessories evolved out of a need. But whether your next-door neighbor uses his oversized tires for more than driving through a large puddle in the road comes down to his chosen lifestyle more than the 4wd accessories on his SUV. For many people, having the capabilities of 4wd outweighs the number of times they’ll ever use them. 4-wheel drive was actually advertised as an urban safety feature in the US. This type of advertising helped spread the popularity of SUVs over minivans among suburban families.
For many off-road enthusiasts, the large tires, roof racks, bumpers and roll bars represent a sense of freedom and the ability to leave the paved road behind at any time and escape to the wilderness. They’re survival features needed in an off-road environment.
What would be seen as slightly dangerous to drive all the time on a high-speed highway makes perfect sense in an off-road environment.
The reasons for the oversized tires are known to many people. Their equally oversized tread offers superior traction in mud or snow. Their larger size also increases the vehicle’s ability to clamber over rocks and fallen tree trunks. When the tires have their air pressure lowered, they’re also able to function better on sand or soft surfaces. The lower pressure enables them to spread out their footprints and increase their surface area to provide more traction.
It seems that every time you see a 4wd vehicle on the road, it has a roof rack on top, even though it may also have plenty of room inside. But for the dedicated off-roader, you can never have enough room. This is especially true when it comes to carrying extra fuel cans.
Fuel can’t be carried inside a vehicle. The fumes it gives off are too dangerous. This means that a roof rack or an exterior method of carrying fuel is needed for long trips that can’t be accomplished on one tank of fuel.
Bumpers and Roll Bars
Bumpers and roll bars are for protection when the vehicle is driving on uneven terrain. Protecting the vehicle becomes more important the further you are from civilization. The bumpers can help preserve the integrity of the wheels and undercarriage, and the roll bars help prevent injuries to passengers.
On top of the more noticeable accessories, there are lift kits to provide more clearance. There are also heavy-duty shock absorbers to absorb uneven terrain, skid pans to protect the undercarriage and oil pan, and snorkels that allow air to reach the carburetor even when the engine is underwater.
To get an idea of the wide variety of modern accessories designed for off-roading, pay a visit to the Overland 4wd drive shop in Bangkok and see everything that makes off-roading safer and more enjoyable.