Engaging in off-roading offers an adrenaline rush and the thrill of exploring new territories, making it a popular choice for adventure seekers. However, this activity is often misunderstood due to a myriad of myths and misconceptions surrounding it. Gain a much-needed reality check as we bust the most common off-roading misconceptions.
Myth I: You Need a Specialized Off-Roader To Enjoy This Activity
The first myth revolves around the belief that you need a specialized, high-end off-roader, such as a special-edition Jeep or Ford truck, to enjoy off-roading properly. This misconception deters many potential enthusiasts who dislike the financial implications of investing in such vehicles. However, the truth is far from this assumption.
In reality, most seasoned off-roaders and overlanders do not rely on expensive, specialized vehicles. Instead, they make simple and affordable modifications to their existing SUVs. These alterations often allow them to experience off-roading adventures with similar performance and thrill as those driving high-end, specialized off-roaders. Learning to modify your SUV smartly is an essential tip for aspiring overlanders. Not only does this skill enable you to personalize your vehicle according to your preferences, but it also allows you to enjoy off-roading activities without having to spend exorbitantly on a new car.
Myth II: Engine Snorkels Make Your 4×4 Unstoppable
An engine snorkel, a common sight on many off-road vehicles, is often misunderstood in its function. An engine snorkel is a piece of equipment that reroutes the engine’s air intake point from under the hood to an elevated location, often at roof level. Its primary purpose is to provide cleaner, dust-free air to the engine, especially in dusty or sandy environments. This allows the engine to perform optimally, reducing the risk of damage due to dust buildup in the engine.
However, it is untrue that an engine snorkel transforms your 4×4 into an unstoppable, amphibious vehicle capable of crossing any water body regardless of depth. While it is true that a snorkel can prevent water from entering the engine through the air intake during shallow water crossings, it does not make your vehicle impervious to the risks associated with deep water crossings. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t invest in an engine snorkel—simply understand its limitations before installing it on your SUV.
Myth III: Always Descend in Neutral & Avoid Using Brakes Downhill
The third myth that needs addressing is the belief that you should always descend in neutral and avoid using brakes when going downhill. This notion is incorrect and dangerous for you, your passengers, other motorists, and even the vehicle itself. Contrary to this myth, maintaining control of your vehicle is paramount when descending hills and requires the careful use of the engine’s power and braking system. Experienced off-roaders often employ an engine braking technique, which involves using a lower gear to slow the vehicle down rather than relying solely on the brakes. This method provides better control, reduces the risk of brake overheating, and ensures a safer descent.
The next time you’re overlanding in the Sierra, remember that many common off-roading myths are merely misconceptions. Busting these falsehoods ensures that overlanding enthusiasts are able to fully enjoy this fun and rewarding activity.