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For anyone that truly loves cars, trying your hand at off-roading in something with real power is a thrill that needs to be tried at least once. It’s easy to fall in love with off-roading, but it’s also easy to go into it unprepared. Pickup trucks can handle a lot more than the average car. But they also have to go through a lot more than the average car. If you want a vehicle that can take it all on, you need to work on making it that vehicle. Here’s how you should do that.

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Get scheduled

4x4s are sturdy vehicles. But if you’re taking them off-road, it’s going to seriously test that endurance. For that reason, it pays to be a lot more hands-on with the maintenance. If you’re not willing to do a bit of DIY, you should think twice about getting into off-roading or you’ll be looking at a lot of maintenance costs. If you’re willing to tackle it yourself, create a schedule to make it easier. An oil change every six months. Tires should be rotated every six months too. Tire balance should be checked after every off-road session. Fluid levels need to be checked regularly. And so on, so forth. Routine maintenance will make your vehicle live much longer and do more. But don’t forget that it needs a regular checkup with a professional, too. Not knowing when to bring an expert in is just as bad as not knowing how to take care of it, yourself.

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Get it prepped to do more

Even if your vehicle comes equipped to deal with rougher terrain, there’s probably a lot you can do to make it even more formidable. For example, the Ford F-150 is a popular choice for off-roading. But if you upgrade your Ford F-150, you can keep it in better condition for a lot longer. Fitting a new cold air intake could free up the engine power you need to navigate your favorite stomping grounds. Fitting a Barricade rear bumper gives you a lot more stability and protection than your factory-made variety.

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Provide the proper aftercare

After the thrill of off-roading, it’s easy to want to chill out and get over the excitement with a cold drink. The longer you leave it, however, the harder it will be to give the vehicle the aftercare it needs. Cleaning the undercarriage of the car can be some serious work, so consider getting a pressure hose to make it a lot easier on you. There’s plenty of damage that could be done to the differential and transmission, too, so make sure you’re looking for leaks.

If you want the best off-road experience, you need to stay on the ball. You need to be a lot more hands-on with your vehicle. You have to make sure it’s equipped to handle more. You have to take care of it better than you would any other vehicle. But if you really love off-roading, all the effort pays off easily when you get to grips with some real terrain.