I have been Jeeping for the better part of 20 years, in all sorts of climates and trails. I have helped build rigs with Jeep parts, repair them in-garage and on-trail using an assortment of Jeep parts and Jeep accessories. I have worked in a Jeep 4×4 Center selling Jeep parts. I have spent the past year as a Trail Leader for JeepSkool, Ohio’s Premier Off-road park, instructing and teaching people how to operate their vehicles safely while in an off road environment. Over the years, I have developed my own set of Cardinal Rules that I function by, and hold my groups to. I wish to share that with you so that you can maintain a larger off-road experience as well as protecting your Jeep parts.
Rule number 1. There is no tolerable case to drink alcohol or do drugs prior or during (or after, in the event of drugs) a trail journey. Wheeling has a weighty stigma joined to it: big grimy trucks driven by drunken hillbillies who do nothing more than shred up farmers fields and cripple Jeep parts. That stigma and stereotype does not pertain to most off-roaders. In fact, most are tremendous people who maintain excellent families – a fair many of them take their kids along for the journey. Would you wish for to position your family in harms way? No. Would you desire to carelessly wreck your Jeep parts? No way. Leave the beers in the cooler for when you are back at camp and the wheeling is done for the day.
Rule number two: As slow-moving as possible, as swift as required. Its vital to safeguard the Jeep parts on your vehicle. George Perz, a Jeep parts specialist from Morris 4×4 Center in Pompano Beach, Florida says, “When outside wheeling, employ your transfer case into 4LO; shift your transmission into second or third gear. This will deliver you all the power that you require, on demand, for pretty much whatever you encounter. Granted, there are times that cry out for other tactics. When rockcrawling, I like to roll in 4LO in first gear and just crawl over the trail. Sometimes youll require to pick up on the gas to get through a notably nasty patch of trail, and that is alright as well. However, when you spin your tires, you do two very important things. The first, is that you clean your tires – that being, the built up mud in your tread gets spun out, so you can get larger traction. When you do this, however, your tires are not able to gain traction because they are spinning. If your forward momentum has stopped, stop spinning your tires. You are actually rutting out a trail, and may make it difficult for the people behind you to follow and possibly damaging their Jeep parts. Note also that whatever ruts you cut into a trail may take months to heal. You want to be able to come back and wheel your favorite trails over and over – be kind to them. Do not tear them up! Remember, there is no shame in getting stuck! Tread lightly and protect your Jeep parts!”
Rule number three: never go wheeling alone. Sure, going out on a quick ride through some mud is always fun, but what happens if one of your Jeep parts breaks or you get stuck? What happens if your winch fails? Go in a group – chances are, you will maintain a larger time out with friends and if something goes wrong, you maintain able people there to help you out. It is probably a good idea to bring some spare Jeep parts as well.
Rule number four – No Trespassing. Wheeling private land is always fun, but make sure that you personally maintain the owners permission. I have been in a few sticky situations where we were told that it was okay to wheel land, and come to find out that it was not okay to be there. Somehow, the argument that a friend of a friend told you it was okay to wheel so-and-so’s property does not carry a lot of weight when the owner calls the police. Get a permit. Go and wheel public trails, ORV parks. Get on the internet and check out what is local to you. You may find that the nearest park is an hour away and is far larger than tearing up Farmer Johns fields. While you are on the internet looking for places to go wheeling be sure to look for stores in that area that sell Jeep parts just in case.
Rule number five: You are responsible for the vehicle in front of you and the vehicle behind you at all times. This is one of the most important rules in a large group while trail riding. Let’s say that you are in a technical trail with 20 other rigs and you are placed somewhere in the middle. Now, you are in a notably nasty piece of the trail and you get stuck, possibly with broken Jeep parts – but the person in front of you is not paying attention and keeps following the herd. By the time the Trail Leader finds out he/she has strayed the back end of the ride, you may be forced to backtrack a while to find out who is stuck with broken Jeep parts and how to get them recovered. Replaying that state of affairs, if the individual in front of you stops when they notice you are stuck, and the individual in front of them stops because they notice the individual in front of you has stopped, the whole thing goes down a whole lot sooner, and smoothly. Granted, your rig might be equipped with a CB portable radio which will signal the Team Leader that there is an issue with broken Jeep parts. The object here is to not at any time leave anyone behind.
Safety is key and should be the leading
priority during a trail ride. Be safe, maintain merriment and remember –
Tread Lightly and safeguard your Jeep parts!