Setting up for off-roading with your 4×4
How to choose off-road gear
For any given vehicle there’s usually a variety of choices of modification. In general, remember that poor people can’t afford to buy cheap – because cheap gear fails. In the case of 4x4s, failure could be dangerous, or destroy your trip. This doesn’t mean to say you should pay top dollar for everything, but it does mean that in general the trust should be with established brands that have plenty of experience. Even something ‘simple’ like a wheel carrier can end up failing if it’s not designed correctly. So do your research, talking to as many experts as possible, taking advice on forums with a large grain of salt, and perhaps joining a club that specialises in your vehicle.
One good way to tell the experts from the rest is that an expert will always be happy to explain “why”, and admit limitations, because there’s no gear out there without a disadvantage. Listen to those people more than the rest. And if you buy quality gear which you later don’t need, then you can resell it, but good luck reselling used, no-name junk on eBay.
Modifications and the law
There are restrictions on what changes you can make to your vehicle for it to remain roadworthy. These are mostly described your state’s road authority website but that requires some automotive expertise to interpret. The regulations cover aspects of vehicle modification such as increasing tyre size, lifting suspension, fitting driving lights, replacing wheels and much more.
You may think that you can rely on your local 4WD shop to know what’s what, but sadly some of them take a fit and forget attitude and either do not understand or don’t care about the regulations. Regardless, the onus is on the vehicle’s owner and drive to comply so ultimately everyone has to do their own research.