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How Do I Get Started A 4×4 Truck? An Introduction To Off Roading

Why Have 4X4s Become Popular Family Cars? There was a time when 4x4s were considered to be purely an off-road vehicle meant for those who like the road less taken. But now you find 4x4s everywhere. Is it because there are too many cheap 4x4s these days?

Well that may be ‘a’ reason but it cannot be ‘the’ reason. What started out to be commercial vehicles are found in most families. The car that was the product of only Toyotas and Jeeps at some point of time have been taken up by luxury car brands like Mercedes and Porsche as well. Why do you think that is?

For starters, you are always a step away from rugged terrain. It is true that where there are major tourist attractions, the roads are usually good and do not need 4x4s. But the moment you go off the beaten track, the situation changes.

A situation, your poor sedan may not be able to handle. But all this applies only when you take the car off-road, but why should families opt for 4×4 cars; families that may never leave the city trail?

Let us see the key points that work in favor of the 4x4s in the family car league:

  • The 4x4s are infamous for being fuel guzzlers, which is still one of the major deterrents of this breed of vehicles. When considered as commercial vehicles, the fuel efficiency does not pinch as much as it does in a domestic context. But to counter that there are plenty of diesel variants and diesel is always a less expensive than petrol.
  • In the long run the maintenance cost does not seem so exorbitant in case of the bigger 4×4 cars. Even the cheap 4×4′s have a sturdier frame than the average sedan which means it will need far less body jobs in its lifetime.
  • The tough exterior, the high ground clearance and plenty of room inside makes the 4x4s an ideal family car. Think of all the long drive with the whole family. Not only do you need to carry the essentials, you need to carry kids’ essentials too. That can be anything like a stroller for babies, bicycle for kids, plus plenty of snacks in case they get hungry (which they will). To fit all these extra stuff and still have enough room to sit comfortably is a luxury you tend to get used to. No one likes to arrive at their holiday destination all cramp and sore.

Now the type of 4×4 you invest in completely depends on what you do with it. There are various breeds of cars in the same species.

There are SUVs, MUVs, hybrids and what not. Do not let the terms confuse you. What you need to focus on is the kind of features each of them offers. There are the ones that are out and out adventure cars, able to climb over boulders and cut through mud. For these you need really high ground clearance and wheels with good traction.

The internal features are quite sparse in this category. The luxury 4x4s on the other hand suit the urban setup more, with plenty of gadgetry to keep the kids busy, but do not take these expensive beauties mountain climbing please!

Select Your Dream 4×4 Truck or SUV

I tend to look at vehicles primarily from this angle. A-B cars are used to take you and your passengers from point A to point B. They can be equipped with various features to make the ride easier, more comfortable and even entertaining.

A 4×4 can of course also be used to take you on the same route. On the other hand they can also be used to get to locations where it would be difficult or impossible to reach in an A-B car.

A 4×4 is used for supporting various activities. Some use it to go fishing on the weekends, others go skiing in the mountains and a number of people use it just to get to remote and little traveled places.

Only a few use it almost exclusively to take on extremely rough tracks and sometimes competitions.
Apart from this, 4x4s are often higher and therefore easier for elderly and disabled people to board.
All these uses are good reasons to own and operate a 4×4.

In resent years, the trend has been growing trend to market various levels of in-between cars. Subaru have from the beginning offered cars with drive to all four wheels. The recent Subaru Forrester is almost comparable to the Ford Escape. We have also seen the expensive luxury SUVs like the BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne and the Mercedes ML. Although, I am not sure I would be comfortable taking one of them on some Icelandic tracks!

Of note are also recent developments in diesel engines. They are growing fast in fuel efficiency and power. Take the VW Touareg as an example. It has the most powerful diesel engine in a mass produced vehicle. The V10 TDI with its 10 cylinders produces 313 hp and 750 Nm of torque – has a top speed of 225 km/h and goes from 0-100 in 7.8 seconds – sure sounds impressive. Call me harsh but for me this is still an A-B car.

What worries me most though – is that recent vehicles have more gadgets that can break down and are also becoming more and more difficult to fix out in the field – given you use only minimal knowledge and primitive tools.

As always the choice is up to you to select a vehicle that fits your needs and lifestyle.
The types of 4×4 vehicles available are ever increasing. You will have to make your own decision based on your intended use and how much money you want to spend on this particular part of your life.

Will your 4×4 be used for the occasional fishing or hunting trip? Or will it be used daily in extreme and demanding terrain?

Like anything made by humans – 4x4s are a compromise. There is no such thing as the perfect off road vehicle. Making it fit all your family and still be able to take it wherever you want to go can be challenging.

A great rock crawler would be slow and uncomfortable for long journeys. A luxurious SUV with lots of space gives a great ride experience for long journeys but might run into problems doing some serious river crossing or mudding.

Use what you’ve got – try it out in various terrains. Enjoy the ride! Observe what can be improved and where you want to go. Minor things can be modified to make them function better and for major issues you may consider buying a new rig rather than performing some expensive modifications.

What 4×4 Truck Parts Do I Need?

Quality engine and effective suspension are the two important factors of 4×4 pickup trucks which would enhance the performance of the truck. Basically these trucks are used for construction business and they have benefited the construction industry in an effective way.

Businesses today are reached top a level where for surviving high competitive spirit is the only medicine available. If we talk about construction or transportation business, there is immense competition involved and as known to all trucks are the basic requirements of these businesses. To sustain in this competitive world it becomes important to look after every aspect involved in your day to day professional work. Now when we are talking about trucks, you can always think of using 4×4 pickup trucks for sale.

Pickup trucks are being used on a large scale and are very popular among trucking industry. Higher efficiency level is what describes this truck properly. Invention of such type of trucks has highly assisted in the growth of business like transportation, construction, production and so on. If you search properly you can find many of the sites providing 4×4 pickup trucks for sale at reasonable rates. Basically these trucks are popularly used for construction business for carrying heavy equipments or machines.

Easy transportation in an effective way is what this truck can do for you and you can also gain benefits like fuel efficiency, proper wheel balance, good speed, etc. Speed of the truck gets enhanced due to appropriate torque level which tends to get better with the increase in speed.

Another benefit is however may be the terrain whether rocky or muddy, by making use of this truck you can easily accomplish your target. Even when you overload such trucks you do not run with more risk of accidents and this is what states the efficiency of truck.

Tackle your business in a positive manner by this new approach of bring in 4×4 pickup trucks for sale. There are various manufacturers bringing up pickup trucks with unique features which you might have never seen before. The lists of manufacturers providing effective trucks include Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Freightliner, GMC, International and so on.

All these companies have launched various models of pickup trucks of different size. There are two important things which make used pickup trucks quiet efficient among which first is engine and another is the suspension.

You can find pickup trucks with engines that support in the enhancement of performance and makes truck vigorous as well as enthusiastic. The quality engine with high horse power and appropriate torque level leads to increase in speed of truck. Other special features which you can find in these trucks are powerful brake, quality wheels, excellent interior as well as exterior, comfy steering, etc.

4×4 pickup trucks are such which are smaller then usual trucks and bigger then car. Their overlook attracts the attention of maximum people. It is the perfect combination of beauty with effective usage value. Buying this truck can not only be advantageous from the point of view of saving money but it can effectively help you out in prospering business.

Things To Keep In Mind Shopping For Your Off-Road Vehicle 

Maybe you recently rode in a friend’s Blazer, maybe you absolutely love military vehicles, or maybe you just like to explore and are feeling limited by your current set of wheels. Whatever the reason, you are now interested in buying your first 4×4. There are several things to consider that can help point you in the right direction, and I’ll try to outline the most important ones here.

Price

This can have a major impact on what you choose for your first 4×4 vehicle. Most of us are looking for something cheaper that can take a punch and isn’t too expensive to build into a trail 4×4. Some are able to buy a turnkey monster that is ready to tackle the Rubicon right away. Let’s assume for this article that you are the former, and are looking for a budget runner.

Mileage

Most of the vehicles in our price range are going to have a fair share of mileage on them. What is important is that the higher mileage 4x4s are going to have a tendency to need more mechanical work. Not always, of course, but if you purchase a 1977 Bronco for $1200.00 for instance, I would recommend taking it to a mechanic for the once over.

Replacing things on these older 4x4s doesn’t cost a whole lot of money or take a bunch of time, which makes them a great candidate for first timers. If the owner says something like “I’m not sure, but I know the speedometer probably isn’t right”, just assume it is approaching the 200k mark or more, and take it for what it is.

Look for oil leaks, listen for knocks, put the transmission in drive and reverse a few times (if it’s an automatic) and feel for hesitation or sloppiness. If it’s a manual, or stick-shift transmission, feel for a sloppy clutch pedal and listen to the engine RPM for gradual slowing when you let the clutch out. It should bite right away, and if it hesitates just be aware you may have to replace it.

Intended Use

What do you want out of a 4×4? Are you going to be hitting mild, scenic trails with the occasional hill climb or mud puddle in the way? Are you going to have a well built machine that has dual lockers and 35″ tires or better to run the more difficult Black Diamond rated trails? Maybe you want a hardcore rock crawler or mud machine with high horsepower and 44″ tires.

Whatever you intend to do with your 4×4 should be taken into consideration when purchasing it. If you would like a mild, close to stock 4×4, chances are you don’t want it looking like something that is seconds away from the crusher. While you will surely want the 4×4 components to work well, you may also want the paint and body to appear somewhat decent, since you’ll most likely only be tooling around the back roads.

If, however, you want a BUILT trail rig or rock crawler type 4×4, then maybe body shape and paint condition aren’t such a concern for you, and instead you should focus on the mechanical aspect. Chances are you are going to cut the body up or rip it off altogether, so it goes to follow that most important for you would be a sound, well running drive train.

If you want a sand runner or even mud drag race machine, you’ll most likely be ripping the motor and transmission out in favor of high horsepower and stout parts anyhow, so you would really just be looking for any platform that would allow you to start your buildup the way you want.

Fuel Economy

Yep, one of the biggest concerns for many of us is how many miles to each gallon your 4×4 will get, especially with today’s gas prices. If you are building a monster that will have to be hauled on a trailer to events, then of course this may not be such a concern.

If, however, you are like the rest of us and have to drive your 4×4 to the trailhead and back home again, it’s nice to get the most bang out of our buck and yet still have a capable rig. Older Toyota trucks with the 22R 4 cylinder engines are a great choice, as are some of the Jeeps, Ford Ranger style mini trucks and the Suzuki Samurai and Sidekick.

Most of these come with 4 or 6 cylinder engines that usually get better mileage than their V8 counterparts. For example, I once owned a 1976 Chevy ¾ ton long bed 4×4 pickup that got around 8 MPG. Yea, it hurt bad when the trail was more than 30 minutes away, but it sure was a fun and bullet proof rig.

I never did break anything on it, and I had it in the air more than a couple times, as well as in deep water, nasty mud, and terribly stuck in boulder gardens. One other thing to consider is larger tires on your 4×4. If the owner has put something like 33 or 35 inch rubber on it and has not changed the differential gears to a lower ratio, your mileage will be much worse than stock. Just something to keep in mind.

Well, I hope this short write-up helps you out a bit when you go 4×4 shopping. While there are of course many other things to consider than what I have listed here, I have tried to single out the major concerns and throw out some helpful advice. Good luck with your new 4×4!

What you need to know before you buy a 4×4 vehicle

Do you need a 4×4 or SUV? I guess this is the first question you have to ask yourself. There are many vehicles that may suit your purpose without paying the extra for the additional drive axle. Initial cost may seem the same as a 2 wheel drive vehicle, but, running costs will be more. When in four wheel drive, more fuel is used to drive the vehicle, so more expensive to run.

Also, there is more to service and maintain, again additional expense.

So, you have decided that four wheel drive is a must? your next decision must be, what do i want the vehicle to do. There is a whole range of vehicles with four wheel drive, from what are really cars, with the additional drive axle, to monster off road machines. Don’t just decide for the moment, but decide for the life of this vehicle ownership.

Is the family expanding, so, how many seats do you need? Are you going to need to tow something, such as a horsebox? in this case make sure the vehicle is suitable for towing, and what would the cost be for a towbar to be fitted, sometimes this is more cheaply done at the time of vehicle purchase.

What sort of terrain are you going to drive over? mainly road? some dirt track? mud? Snow? by answering these questions, you will be guided to what sort of tyres you need. For most, all terrain will be sufficient as they give a balance of about 50/50 % on and off road suggested use.

If more mud, sand, snow etc. will be driven, then you may want to look towards mud tyres that are more 20/80% on road/off road. It may be that you decide to buy spare wheels with different types of tyres fitted, as this is the easiest way to facilitate different road needs.

In some cases, dealerships for 4×4 vehicles are further apart, perhaps find out which dealerships are nearest to you, as you will want to maintain your warranty, and visits too far afield are a pain. Also, it may be difficult to get a damaged or not working vehicle to the dealership if its very far away.

I would suggest test drives, taking into account your needs are important. Say you found what you think you needed and then discovered that it was actually not pleasant to drive?

I would also suggest that the best route would be to purchase a cheaper, second hand vehicle first. This so that you can learn to drive a 4×4 without potentially damaging a brand new vehicle. Particularly off road, driving skills need to be acquired, as there is a very real potential for danger if these skills are not learnt.

Written by Mud Flap

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