Outfitting your off-road vehicle with the latest and greatest truck modifications means that you're usually spending a pretty penny on equipment and accessories. While elements of off-roading, like lift kits, certainly require a lot of attention - both personally and financially - that doesn't mean there aren't other areas deserving of your focus. In fact, there are some spots where a little extra care can go a long way, especially if you want to keep maintenance costs down.
Watch what you haul
One of the great things about beefing up a truck or jeep is giving it the power and capabilities to handle a heavy-duty load. Pulling around trailers, boats, ATVs, Jet Skis or any similar load can wear down the truck's suspension, so make sure you're tracking the weight of the haul. Anything you are towing will likely have to fall within certain weight parameters - especially if you have made a lot of truck mods or have accessories loaded on the vehicle. Simply keeping track of what you haul and how much pressure you're putting on a machine can go a long way in making sure you don't push it too far.
Always check the tires
If there's one aspect of a vehicle that can make a big difference in off-road driving, it's the tires. You should constantly be keeping an eye on the tires to make sure they are not under- or over-inflated, as well as maintaining the right level of pressure and regularly rotating the parts. Sudden changes in the weather or an extreme uptick in the effort your vehicle exerts can lead to a drop in tire pressure, so be sure to pay attention if one of these situations pops up.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports keeping tires properly inflated can improve mileage by up to 3.3 percent, saving you more than $0.10 per gallon of fuel. While this may not seem like much, when you add up all of the gas you use trekking through off-road trails and powering through obstacles, it begins to add up.
Don't ignore extra features
Say you get in your vehicle one day only to find that elements such as air conditioning or windshield wipers aren't working up to snuff. Although your first instinct may be to brush this off - especially if you don't need the tools at that moment - overlooking these problems can lead to bigger issues down the road.
Many of these minor occurrences can be signs of a major problem somewhere in the vehicle, so taking the time to check out hiccups in operation is essential for long-term care. You can use your own knowledge to examine a vehicle right away, but if the problem persists, you may want to take it to a professional.
Additionally, you never know when something could go wrong and leave you stuck under the hot sun or in a sudden rain storm, and if that happens, you'll be thankful you have the tools you need to get out of the situation safely.
Stick to recommended materials
When you love your truck, no cost seems too high, and paying a little extra for premium fuel or high-octane oil may seem like just a drop in the bucket. However, these investments may provide little to no advancements for your vehicle. Read over the owner's manual for your truck or Jeep to find the recommended type of oil, as well as other necessary fluids, so you can provide your vehicle with the right materials.
Spending a little bit of time and money to take care of maintenance issues in the short term can make a big difference in the long run. By paying attention to a few areas, you can ensure the majority of time you spend with your vehicle is mudding or dune bashing - not bringing into a garage.