Can you rock a stock Jeep off-road? For the most part, YES! You have to remember that a Jeep, specifically a Wrangler, the older CJs (or almost any old Jeep really), are sort of built backwards. What do I mean? While most vehicles are built for the street, and may have a few add-ons to lightly go off-road, the vehicle manufacturer's primary concern is it being a street vehicle. Off-roading is a second thought. But that's not the case with a Jeep. The primary concern for a Wrangler, even in "stock" form, is to be off-road capable. The entire vehicle and suspension is built around that one goal. It's not an afterthought, like a center console, or heated seats. Jeep knows the minute you climb into a Jeep, going off-road is on your mind. So they have that in mind from day one. Sort of backwards from every other vehicle, right? Like they say, use the right tool for the job. You want to hit the trails right off the showroom floor? A Jeep is the way to go.
But Can a Stock Jeep Really Go Off-road Right Away?
For the average trail, yes. Most trails are taken at slow speeds, for a number of reasons. Safety is the primary one. But there's also a big difference between trailing and beating up your Jeep for a trip to the body shop. Even a brand new Jeep traditionally has more ground clearance than a typical car or even some trucks. If treated with caution, you can still have a good time weekend trailing with a few friends for camping or fishing. We've had customers over the years that have put hundreds of thousands of miles on a relatively stock Jeep, and the vehicle still pulls it's weight and can head for the mountains. You might ask, "how can that be?" One of the tricks is maintenance. While we're more than happy to sell you a Rugged Ridge Bumper or a a Teraflex Lift Kit, we do sell a lot of items that keep a Jeep going mile after mile. Tune-ups, tires, filters, U-joints, seals, gaskets, dozens of parts you might need. That's the trick to keeping your stock Jeep dependable and ready for trailing. Of course, while a stock Jeep can get the job done, upgrades are probably in your future. But you shouldn't be surprised if you see a stock Jeep with slightly bigger tires and probably not much else. Most off-road trails where a Jeep can be driven offer information on what, if any modifications are needed for using the trails. For instance, here's a whole list of trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Many of them are comfortable country drives to the middle of nowhere and can easily be covered by a stock Jeep. I like this site because people take personal pictures of what the trail actually looks like. But don't forget about our extensive list of trails presented state by state. Obviously there are trails made for full-tilt beast mode Jeeps, and that's fine. But don't think you need every possible off-road part in the world to actually get out and enjoy your Jeep. You can rock being stock with the right trails and good maintenance.
Tips for Trailing a Stock Jeep.
Travel in a group. There's safety in numbers. If one Jeep has an issue, there's a another Jeep to help out. You also get spotters to help in dicey situations where your stock height needs some help.
Carry a tire puncture kit and take the spare tire. Even new tires can have an issue if you run over something sharp.
Take at least one tow rope (and gloves). With a stock suspension you're more likely to accidentally get hung up on an obstacle.
Airing down the tires (a little bit) can help when trailing certain areas (you need to keep a compressor or air tank with you to refill the tires though).
Take your time the first few times to get used to your Jeep and how it reacts.
Teach you partner to drive the Jeep as well. There might come a time you injure yourself, a broken leg or arm, etc, and you need your partner to trail out. Practice makes perfect driving trails. Worse case scenario? Your spouse can't drive a stick!
Don't get excited by mud or water. How deep is it really? Can you go around it? Either one can get you stuck with a stock suspension, or worse, you break something major.
The hare might get there first, but it's the turtle that gets to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. Take your time!
Once you get some practice trailing in your stock Jeep, and you want to do more, we're here for you. Morris 4x4 Center's team can take your Jeep from mild to wild. But running a new stock Jeep off-road is a great way to get introduced to trailing and having a great time. Share your Jeep trailing videos with us on Facebook! Read More:
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