The Colorado off-roading season is officially underway, with the warm weather and summer sunshine making the area’s trails passable once again. For many off-road drivers, their rig has been used solely for around town for the past several months, and will need a thorough checkup before heading out into the mountains. Spring and early summer is a great time to bring your vehicle into your local 4×4 service center for a thorough evaluation and tune-up, especially if it has been sitting idle most of the winter. Your 4 wheel parts and other components may need servicing or replacing before you hit the trails hard this summer!
Even after you have a comprehensive inspection and servicing, there are a few things that you should check before each departure. Here are the top five must-do’s before you roll out of the city:
Check your emergency gear
Preparedness is key for any off-roader, new or seasoned. Make sure you have both supplies for your rig, and for all passengers aboard. This means having a well-stocked first aid and survival kit, as well as tools, straps, and basic maintenance supplies for your vehicle.
Some of the best 4×4 trails in Colorado are tucked away, far from civilization, and you can never know when your next fuel opportunity will be, or where the nearest 4×4 service center is. So don’t risk it, and fill up your fuel tank before leaving the city, and top off your extra fuel can while you’re at it.
Test tire air pressure
Many drivers know the proper air pressure for city and highway driving, and good off-roaders know that a lower pressure is desired for trail running. Before leaving, make sure your tires are good to go for the terrain ahead, be prepared to air down at the trailhead, and have a way to air back up when you return to town.
Most of your vehicle’s fluids can be checked and topped off at home, so take a few minutes to do this before you leave. Check your wiper fluids, oils, coolant, steering fluid, and other easily-accessible ports, to keep things running smoothly and preserve the life of your 4 wheel parts.
No matter where you go, it’s always a good idea to travel with other people, and let someone else know where you’re going. Make sure your phone, GPS unit, and 2-way radios are fully charged and working properly, and always have a non-electronic backup plan (paper maps and a pre-arranged meeting spot/time) in case of emergency.