Things to Know About Custom-Building Your Offroad Vehicle

Looking for new routes beyond roads, highways, trains, and planes is bringing new interest to exploring our nation’s back roads and countryside. Breathing new life into what we formerly considered travel, “alternative” transportation is becoming more of a common hobby. Offroading is about exploring well beyond the limits of city streets, escaping the sometimes mundane nature of travel. 

Automobile manufacturers, specifically in the truck industry, make their annual claims that their newest vehicle is the most capable offroading vehicle on the market yet. But take a look at the price tag on some of these vehicles. Wouldn’t you rather save a little money and build a custom offroad vehicle tailored to your plans/designs?

Offroading is one of the most enjoyable hobbies and rapidly growing in popularity. It’s also one potentially of the least expensive automotive hobbies you can take on. Building a custom offroading vehicle is all in the details, and you get to put your personal touch in each detail as you go. But what things should you be considering when custom-building your offroad vehicle? Are there specifications to follow or products you should be using over others? Let’s take a look at things you should know about custom offroading vehicle builds and what offroad gear to look for. 

Ground Clearance

Think about the last time you drove on a main road. Most roads and highways are structured level and offer a consistent distance between the road and the bottom of your vehicle. But what happens when you are hitting harsh terrain and back trails in a vehicle that isn’t properly equipped for that? 

When you’re custom-building your offroad vehicle, you need to make sure that there is plenty of space between the bottom of your vehicle and the terrain you might face. Consider what would happen when going over tree stumps, rocks, boulders, or other rough terrains if you didn’t have enough ground clearance. You would likely do serious underbody damage to the vehicle. Your vehicle could also get stuck on obstacles while offroading if there isn’t enough clearance, so it is definitely something important to keep in mind as you plan your custom build. 

Skid Plates

Are you planning on going through rocky terrain when you offroad? Even with the best consideration for ground clearance when you plan out your custom offroading vehicle, you can still cause damage to the underbody of the vehicle. For the best protection for the underbody of your offroad vehicle, think about using skid plates. 

Steel skid plates are the perfect protective measure if you’re planning on going through all types of terrain when you go offroading. The plates are constructed differently for various protective purposes ─ rock sliders that protect rocker panels, gas tank skids that prevent you from ending up in a fire hazard situation, and transfer skids to avoid a breakdown during your offroading excursion. The plates protect differentials, oil pans, fuel tanks, and any other components of your offroad vehicle that may be compromised with tough terrain. 

Offroading Angles

The way your vehicle drives over dirt-covered, hilly terrain will vary heavily from the way your vehicle hits rocky terrain. You don’t want your front bumper taking the brunt of going up a big hill at an intense angle. Considering the various angles, your offroad vehicle will hit is important when planning out your build. 

There are three different angles that an offroad vehicle hits:

  1. Approach angle ─ steepest an offroad vehicle can climb without slamming the front bumper against the hill/uphill terrain
  2. Breakover angle ─ steepest crest an offroad vehicle can hit without high centering
  3. Departure angle ─ steepest grade the vehicle can descend without slamming the back bumper on the downward slope

The key to maintaining stability when it comes to offroading angles is knowing that good ground clearance and short vehicle overhangs will prevent slamming, scraping, or bumping on sharp crests. While ground clearance and short overhangs will assist in approach and departure angles, the wheelbase will assist in the breakover angles as you come to the crest of hilly terrain. The vehicle will maintain body shape and stay in great condition if you take measurements and consider potential hazards from every angle (no pun intended). 

Need Help Planning Your Offroad Experience?

Backed by a consistent one-year, 12,000-mile warranty, Mach1 Motorsports is the preferred source for diesel and offroad parts and repairs. 

Whether you are a seasoned professional in the offroad game or looking to start a custom build, the experts at Mach1 Motorsports are focused on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction. We know that each vehicle’s situation and every client’s needs are different, so we remain consistently equipped with the latest in diagnostic equipment, vehicle parts, and automotive knowledge. 

Schedule an appointment online with us today to see our quality workmanship and knowledge in action. 

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