Go All-In On Your Off-Road Vehicle with These Cool Truck Modifications
It’s no secret: American consumers love pickup trucks. Pickup trucks have continued to dominate the market in 2018, with the Ford F-Series continuing to lead the way. As any aftermarket enthusiast already knows, purchasing a pickup is only half of the fun. The real excitement begins
when owners can begin replacing the stock components and prep their
truck for off-road fun. The world of aftermarket truck modifications is
more nuanced and sophisticated than ever, allowing owners to transform
their truck into the backroad beast of their dreams.
cool truck modifications to practical and cheap off-road mods, here’s a
breakdown of some of the best off road upgrades to enhance the
performance, visual appeal, and functionality of any pickup.
How the Rubber Meets the Road
One of the easiest ways to change the overall aesthetic of a pickup truck is by swapping out the stock tires for a more rugged set of wheels. In harsher environments, the sidewall of the tire is vulnerable to damage but off-road tires have reinforced sidewalls designed to withstand scrapes and direct forces without puncturing. Similarly, while traditional tires may have adequate siping for wet thoroughfares and snowy conditions, the treads may be insufficient for thick mud and climbing over larger jagged rocks. Many off-road tires have “flex zones” along the treads which are designed to wrap around rugged terrain and obstacles for added traction. Other models even incorporate “mud-phobic” shoulders that are specially engineered to expel mud in off-road environments for increased traction and stability. Remember, bulkier tires are typically heavier and have a larger surface area, which will likely have a negative impact on fuel economy. Also, if a truck will still function as a daily driver, it’s important to find the right balance between off-road and daily driving needs like traction, durability, and fuel economy.
A Breath of Fresh Air
During an off-road adventure, it’s common to come across quick-moving streams or stagnant floodwaters, where drivers must either turn back or brave the distance. While shallower streams may be easy enough to cross, deeper tributaries come with added risks. Installing a snorkel can prevent water from entering the air intake and damaging the engine. Keep in mind that a snorkel will not change a vehicle’s recommended wading depth, or the depth of water a vehicle can withstand before risk of damage to electrical and mechanical components. The specific wading depth depends on the vehicle and any vehicle-specific information can be found in the owner’s manual or on the manufacturer’s website. Also, a snorkel can be useful when the surroundings are dusty: repositioning the air intake can help prevent dust and debris from entering the engine. Keep in mind that this modification will require owners to cut holes in the body of the vehicle and, for this reason, owners should think long and hard about this truck modification before going all-in.
Camping in Style
On an extended off-road adventure or hunting trip, many individuals will need to stay the night or longer. Traditionally, this has meant pitching a tent or towing a hefty slide-in camper. A rooftop tent is the modern approach to traditional car camping; some models are designed to anchor to the roof rack while others sit just above the truck bed. These tents break down easily and some are equipped with protective shells to preserve them between outings. Some may prefer the grit and rustic appeal of traditional camping, however, the booming “glamping” market speaks for itself.
Safeguard Your Assets
Adding a grille guard is an easy way to protect a truck off-road, on the worksite, and anywhere in between. Some prefer a basic bull bar to accomplish this, however, a full grille guard adds greater protection for the front end and headlights, whereas a skid plate can fortify a portion of the undercarriage. The grille is particularly susceptible to punctures during off-roading and even the slightest breach of the barrier can be costly -- especially if the radiator incurs damage. A grille guard can even save you money: after a minor front-end collision, it is usually cheaper to replace a scuffed grille guard than pay for body damage.
The Power of Illumination
Many off-road enthusiasts will decide to upgrade their stock exterior lighting, and for good reason. When driving through dense fog, torrential rain, or early morning hours, a few extra lumens can go a long way. Powerful lights can increase forward visibility and also add peripheral coverage for a broader field of view. Additional illumination allows drivers to see roadway hazards sooner than they would with standard headlights, which can decrease the risk of a collision. The sooner a driver notices an obstacle, the quicker they can react and avoid the danger ahead. Lighting arrangements can be modified to fit each driver’s specific preferences. As an added benefit, some grille guards on the market include ports for auxiliary lights, a two-for-one modification.
A Clear View of Safety
It’s easy to get caught up in the flashy upgrades when shopping for the best truck modifications, but safety enhancements should be considered too. About 15,000 individuals are injured in backover accidents annually and older adults and children are often the victims of such crashes. It has been estimated that adding a backup camera can decrease the risk of a backover crash by up to 16 percent. While the NHTSA now requires backup cameras on all vehicles sold in the US, \older automobiles often do not come equipped with this life-saving rearview capacity. Fortunately, CameraSource has a wide range of backup cameras for many truck makes and models. Whether you are traveling along paved highways or chewing up off-road terrain, a little visibility can go a long way.