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Your Jeep 4×4 Off-Roading Guide

There’s a big wide world out there with so much to explore in your Jeep, but there’s a few preparation tips and off-roading condition tricks that we’d like to share before you conquer your next great adventure. Preparation is key, both before your trip and during, so heed our guide and prep for anything that may come your way. From snow to rocks to sand and more, Jeep 4×4 systems can tackle it all, with specific settings and modes geared to each one. Follow along with our Jeep 4×4 off-roading guide and get yourself ready for your latest off-road journey!

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Off-Roading Preparation 

Inspect Your Vehicle

As enticing as it is, you shouldn’t just hop in your Jeep and head out into the great unknown, you need to prep your vehicle beforehand. If you know you’re going to be entering tough terrain, or are going to be far away from civilization, getting your vehicle thoroughly checked (like by a dealership such as ours at Southside Dodge) is incredibly important. Be sure to make certain that your battery is properly fastened, check the condition of your hoses, top off fluids, and ensure your tires are filled (don’t forget the spare!). Prepare for the road ahead, as you never know what it may deliver.

Plan Your 4×4 Drive Ahead of Time

Again, as fun as it may be to go full steam ahead and explore a new area with a carefree spirit, you should always be keeping an eye out on your environment and the changing conditions around you when off-roading. As soon as you hit the off-road, engage that 4×4 system, don’t wait until a particularly tumultuous set of terrain arries, you want to always be prepared, and not utilize your vehicle’s strengths too late. Keep your eyes ahead, and not just directly ahead but also check off into the distance toward where you’re travelling, so you can plan appropriately. It’s often the seemingly small things that matter most, so when you’re off-roading on tough terrain that may give back, make sure to keep your thumbs out of the steering wheel, as any sudden movement or rotation can easily catch your thumb and possibly break it. Always look ahead on your drive and know that advanced preparation makes any 4×4 off-roading adventure that much more fun and safe.

Maintaining Control Vs. Speed

Driving over rugged terrain isn’t the time or place to open your Jeep up and see how fast it can go, leave that to the racetrack. The key to off-road driving is being slow and steady, meticulous in your drive so that you’re always in control and ready for the next challenge. 4WD LOW in applicable Jeep vehicles provides low gear and low speed at idle that is more than likely to provide enough ample power for climbing over what you desire. If you have a manual transmission in your Jeep, release the clutch in the lowest gear slowly, allowing you to easily clear everything from rocks to logs. Slow and steady wins the race, especially when it’s off-road.

Off-Road & Weather Conditions

Snow/Mud

We know driving in snow all too well here in Red Deer, and so do we in the mud, whether it’s when the snow finally goes away, or out in the legendary Alberta backcountry. Jeeps allow for ultimate traction when the weather is slippery and slick, either with the full-time 4×4 system that adapts automatically, or the part-time system that needs to be manually engaged. 4WD LOW is perfect for deeply packed snow and ice, providing for greater control at a lower speed, as shifting into a gear lower than needed can easily lose precious momentum. In a Jeep you’ll keep that traction and control, even when the roads are slick with ice or mud.

Hills

First off, always make sure you’re driving in a straight line up or down a hill. Do not drive at an angle, this creates serious instability, even on slopes that you may think aren’t that steep. When going up a hill apply the most power at the base of the hill, releasing the gas as you rise over top of the hill. In the event that your vehicle stalls, don’t panic, just easily back straight down and try again. When going down a hill with an automatic transmission use the Low Range and your lowest drive setting, while if you’re using a manual transmission always pick the lowest gear. Let Low Range do all the work, don’t disengage the clutch and let your Jeep coast down, as this can majorly damage the clutch disc inside. Trust in the Low Range and let it slow you down.

Rock

Low Range is your ticket to overcoming the rockiest of terrain. 4WD LOW in low gear and at an idling speed is your perfect setting to climb over rocks, with just a tiny bit of added throttle when needed. Rock climbing should only be done at around 2-8 km/h, so take it easy out there. Make sure to never straddle on top of the rocks, you want to first position your tire on top of the rock, then slowly ease the Jeep over. Another helpful tip is to slightly reduce your Jeep’s tire pressure by about 3-5 psi, to help improve its traction, but remember to fill it back up when you’ve completed your off-road adventure.

Sand

Sand may be the ultimate environment where you need to just trust in your Jeep and letting its capable tire treads do all of the hard work. To get some of that initial momentum in the first place, put your Jeep in 4WD Hi and only take wide turns, as tight turns cut away at your momentum and traction, increasing the probability of getting stuck. Dropping down your tire pressure by about 10-12 psi can help improve traction, but make sure to fill them back up when your sand driving is behind you. If you do have to use 4WD LOW or a different gear, avoid spinning the tires and making the conditions worse. 

Itching to get out and explore our surrounding Red Deer area in a vehicle like a Cherokee, and the vast terrain that living in Alberta offers? We have a wide selection of new and used Jeeps to help you out. If you have any questions, or just want to learn more about this legendary brand of vehicles, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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