Pros And Cons Of Driving On Dirt Road

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Adventure-minded people like to take their trucks, SUVs and cars on the road less traveled. As in dirt roads, over majestic mountain passages, and on the beaches. Such out of the ordinary driving can take its toll on your vehicle. Whether you’re driving on dirt roads or fording a stream, you need to make sure that your vehicle is up to the task.

A Matter of Altitude

Most vehicles shouldn’t have a problem driving at high altitude, including at elevations of 10,000 feet and above. However, your car will behave differently as thinner air will cut power by approximately 3 percent for every 1,000 feet of altitude according to CarTalk. That means a 30 percent loss in power as you ascend that 10,000-foot summit.

You can mitigate this problem by
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As long as the pavement is firm and your tires are in very good condition, your vehicle should be up to the task.

The problem with regularly driving on dirt roads is what it can do to your car. Dust will kick up everywhere and you’ll battle your share of rock chips. Your suspension system may take a beating, especially the shocks and bushings. Driving on dirt roads also means following the “severe duty” maintenance schedule as outlined in your owner’s manual.

Beyond Dirt Roads

Although driving on dirt roads shouldn’t pose much of a problem for most vehicles, only 4x4 models can handle the toughest off-road conditions, including rocks and terrain with steep approach and departure angles.

Ground clearance is another consideration, therefore steel skid plates will protect the underside of your vehicle, including the typically vulnerable gas tank. Wheel articulation, breakover angles, gearing, low-end torque and huge tires are additional considerations. A rear locking differential is a must, what enables both wheels to spin at the same time, ideal to help you get unstuck. If you do get stuck, tow hooks can help lift your vehicle out of a quagmire. Keep a nylon tow rope with you at all times.

To the

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