7 Best Off-Road Upgrades for Beginners April 07, 2014

off-road-upgrades-beginners-header So you’ve got yourself a truck and you want to take it off-road. If you search for off-road upgrades you’ll make your head spin with the options and suggestions. So the question is, what should your first upgrades be? While upgrades like a winch are a great idea, they’re extremely expensive and not the easiest upgrades to do yourself. Ready to upgrade your ride and hit the trail? Check out these best off-road upgrades for beginners.

1. Get Lifted

One of the most noticeable upgrades you can do to your truck is definitely to lift it. There are two types of lifts available: suspension and body, and which one you do depends on your desired result. off-road-upgrades-beginners-lifted   (Photo courtesy of flickr) Basically a suspension lift is the best all-around option as it gives you more ground clearance while a body lift just brings the body higher off of the frame. You can get the details on how to lift your truck in this post on the basics of lifting your truck and see how you can get it done.

2. Get More Air In

A good way to think about your truck is as a living, breathing thing. This means the easier you make it for your monster to breathe, the happier it’ll be. off-road-upgrades-beginners-intake   (Photo courtesy of flickr) To get more air in you need a better intake than your truck came with from the factory. There are two routes you can take: cold air intake (CAI) or a snorkel. If you’re not planning on getting off the beaten trail too often, a CAI might be your best bet, but since these are mounted lower to get colder air into your engine, they can suck water pretty easily. If you’d like to be able to get into the water and better yet, back out of it, then a snorkel is for you. A CAI is definitely easier to install than a snorkel, but with a little help both are within a beginner’s grasp.

3. Get More Air Out

Now that you’re getting all that air into your engine you need to think about getting it back out again. A solid exhaust upgrade is your next stop and can give you one of the biggest performance improvements in this list. off-road-upgrades-beginners-exhaust Most factory exhausts are somewhat restrictive both for MPG as well as sound. Since you’re going for power and more sound is a good thing, upgrading your exhaust system is an easy way to get more power. The more exhaust you can replace the better you’ll be, but for a beginner a catalytic converter back system is a great place to start. This will get you new pipes from the cat back including a new muffler that’s far less restrictive than the original and sounds a hell of a lot better.

4. Get Going

Next to a suspension lift, a good set of tires and wheels is the second best way to give your truck an upgrade that does as much for it visually as it does for performance. off-road-upgrades-beginners-tires   (Photo courtesy of flickr) A great place for a beginner to start is with a bigger set of tires on the stock wheels. This will give you more traction in mud and dirt while looking great. This is where a body lift comes in as well, as you usually need more space for the bigger tires to avoid rubbing. The next level is to get a new set of wheels to replace the stock rims. A new set of wheels and tires is not only the biggest visual improvement you can do to your truck, but it’s how you get much bigger tires than stock for more traction and torque.

5. Get Stopped

An important upgrade most people overlook when upgrading tires, wheels, and lifting their truck is the brakes. Since you rarely see the brakes they tend to be upgraded last, but if you’re doing things to make your truck faster or change it’s center of gravity, brakes should be your first priority. off-road-upgrades-beginners-brakes When you install larger wheels and tires on your truck, you make the rotating mass of each wheel larger, which makes it more difficult to stop. This is why upgraded brakes are so important. While not as cool as a new intake, exhaust, or a lift, this upgrade could save your life.

6. Get Suspended

Your suspension does a lot more than just give you a comfortable ride; it helps you keep control of your truck and allows you to do more when driving both on and off road. off-road-upgrades-beginners-suspension   (Photo courtesy of flickr) Most people only think about suspension when lifting their trucks, but if you’re on a budget and don’t want to lift your truck just yet, upgrading the suspension to handle off-road driving better will help keep you safe and allow you to hit the trail a little faster than you could with a stock suspension. This can also be an intermediate step in doing a suspension lift as well. While you won’t see this upgrade you’ll definitely feel it when hitting ruts and bumps.

7. Get Lit

The last best off-road upgrade for beginners is lighting. Many people overlook lighting upgrades for the cooler ones like exhaust and wheels, but getting some better lighting will not only help you really see what’s on the trail, they look pretty cool at night, too. off-road-upgrades-beginners-lights   (Photo courtesy of Lumen Lights) First start with upgraded headlights and fog lights if you have them. Next, if you don’t have fog lights install a set and make sure they’re aimed correctly. Steer clear of the gimmicky lights that are different colors like the blue-white ones or yellow fog lights and go for the brightest possible. Need more light? Install a light bar in front of your grill or on your roof for the most light possible.

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