Off-roading is one of the best parts of being a Jeep owner. Your first time venturing off the beaten track is bound to be a memorable, adrenaline-inducing experience. However, in order to ensure your ride is in the same state when you return from the journey as when you start it, you need to equip it properly.
There are some Jeep aftermarket accessories that can provide sufficient protection for the rugged trails you’ll be conquering and help get you out of a sticky situation should you get stuck. You can find cheap 4×4 accessories online for your particular model and make relatively easy, as there are quite a few aftermarket manufacturers and suppliers.
Essential Off-Road Jeep Accessories
First things first, you need to make sure your Jeep is thoroughly protected. The most essential Jeep aftermarket accessories for protection include bull bars, rock sliders and rear and side steps.
Bull bars are arguably the most important of the three, as they protect the front end of your Jeep, where most of its fragile, yet important and expensive parts are located, including the engine. They come in a range of styles and materials. If you want the best protection available, you should get a bull bar made of steel or aluminium. Steel is stronger than aluminium, but it’s also heavier, which can hurt your fuel economy. Aluminium is more expensive, but it’s lighter and comes with great corrosion-resistance properties.
Besides the materials the bull bar is made of, you want to pay close attention to whether it has a winch mount, rated tow points, high lift jack points and space to mount auxiliary lights.
Rock sliders can be installed on the side of your vehicle, just under your doors. You can find a wide range of these cheap 4×4 accessories online that serve multiple purposes – protecting the side of your Jeep from debris, rocks, etc. that come flying from under your tyres, and serving as an extra step for getting in and out of your Jeep. While the second function may seem obsolete, it can come in very handy if your Jeep is lifted, or if you’re travelling with kids. Just like bull bars, you can find aluminium and steel options. There are also some other factors to consider when buying rock sliders.
Rear bars are also multi-functional Jeep accessories that can improve your vehicle’s off-road protection and performance. For starters, they protect the rear quarter panels, provide improved load distribution which can come in handy when towing, can be used as a base for other accessories and provide high departure angle and clearance.
A snorkel can be considered a protective Jeep accessory, but that’s not its main purpose. Air intake snorkels prevent water from getting near your engine when you’re travelling through rivers, creeks or any other water surface. Furthermore, they come in handy when you’re travelling through Australia’s dusty plains, as they ensure your engine gets cleaner, cooler air. And in case you weren’t aware, your engine getting cool, clean air is essential for the combustion process.
Different pieces of recovery equipment are suitable for different conditions, although most of them can get you out of a variety of situations. There are recovery equipment options for a wide range of budgets – from affordable recovery tracks to expensive winches.
Recovery tracks are the most common choice among overlanders. They’re easy to use, store, and you can also use some of them as a shovel. All you have to do is place them under your stuck tyres to give your Jeep the necessary traction to gain momentum and get out of mud, snow, etc. There are multiple types of recovery tracks, including traction tracks, pillow tracks, fibre glass boards and muputrax.
Recovery Strap and Points
Another affordable option is getting a recovery strap and recovery points. Recovery straps are flexible and they stretch when under load. They’re usually made of nylon polymers that let you get a running start when pulling your Jeep, and they operate similar to a slingshot. But even the best recovery strap won’t help you get out of trouble without a place to securely attach it. You never want the strap to be attached to your steering, axle or suspension components, as that can do more harm than good.
There are a few different types of recovery points, such as open, hook-style points or closed, hole-style points. Open recovery points make it easier to toss the loop on the end of the strap over the hook. However, if there’s a slack in the line, the strap may fall off. Closed recovery points, on the other hand, require a shackle to be attached. Once attached, however, you don’t have to worry about the strap falling off.
Then, there are high-lift jacks. High-lift jacks come in handy when you need to lift your vehicle and fill ruts or holes under your tyres. This is especially beneficial when you’re travelling alone and you don’t have anyone else to pull you out of a predicament. High-lift jacks are very popular on the trail, but they can only be used if you have bull bars or rock sliders with high-lift jack points. If you don’t, you should consider installing a lift-mate attachment or a scissor jack. Further, a wider base attachment can also come in handy when you’re trying to lift your Jeep in soft terrain.
Winches are the most expensive and sophisticated pieces of recovery equipment. You need to use the least amount of manual effort in order to get yourself out of a sticky situation with a winch. However, you do need another vehicle close by or an object you can attach the cable to before you can pull yourself out. Winches provide an extremely controlled motion in minor increments.
Other recovery methods can sometimes be “violent” and dangerous, but not the winch. In other words, the winch is a very precise instrument, as it gives you a lot of control over the entire recovery process. And slow and steady is king when recovering vehicles in tough terrain.
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