Top 10 Upgrades Every Off-Roader Must Make To Their 4x4s

There’s no denying that off-roading is a fun pastime. If you’ve got a standard 4×4, it “might” be okay to drive off the road. But, you sure won’t experience the full off-roading experience that you seek.

The good news is one can adapt their 4×4 and improve its specification for driving on any terrain. If you’re the owner of a 4×4 vehicle, here is a list of ten essential upgrades you need to perform:

4×4 Tyres

The one thing that will always come in contact with the ground beneath you is your tyres. Those black rubber circles wrapped around your wheels help to keep you safe. If you’re rolling around on standard factory tyres, it’s time to get rid of them.

You need tyres with deep grooves for increased traction. Something like a set of General Grabber AT2 rubber will do the job well. Whatever tyres you choose, make sure they are all rated for off-road use.

Shock Absorbers

There is a big problem with using standard shocks on rough terrain. When they work overtime, the oil in them heats up so much they start to foam. And when that happens, your dampening ability becomes almost non-existent!

It’s important to get stronger shock absorbers, especially when you fit bigger off-road tyres. Consider upgrading to some adjustable shocks for extra customization options. That way, you can raise the ride height for any given situation. I recommend a set of Bilstein shock absorbers.

Induction Kit

Your engine will consist of a plastic air “box”, some trunking to the inlet manifold, and a paper filter. Such a cost-effective air filtration system works well on road-going vehicles likes cars. But, when you’re driving over muddy fields and terrain, you need all the power you can get.

As you know, an engine performs better if it has more air entering the combustion chamber. An induction kit helps you to achieve that goal. In a nutshell, the standard intake system gets replaced with a cone filter and a simple pipe design. That means air enters the engine quicker. Big names in the aftermarket induction kit market include K&N and Pipercross.

Stainless Steel Exhaust System

An off-roader’s engine needs to push out exhaust fumes as quickly as it inhales fresh air. The quickest and easiest way to do that is by fitting a stainless steel exhaust system. You can get them custom-made to your engine’s specifications. Plus, they’ll deliver a mighty roar when you accelerate!

ECU Remap

So you’ve got an aftermarket air filter and exhaust system. One thing you might notice is that your 4×4 seems to perform worse than it did when it was standard! Why is that? The answer is simple: your off-roader needs to get “programmed” to utilise those mods!

Every vehicle built since the mid-90s comes with an ECU. It’s an acronym for Electronic Control Unit, in case you wondered. The ECU is your 4×4’s electronic brains. By “remapping” its data, you can tune the engine to take advantage of your modifications.

Bigger Brakes

It’s likely that your 4×4’s brakes are still set up the same as they were from the factory. I recommend upgrading the discs and pads to high-performance aftermarket items. That way, you can stop quicker when you need to do so. Especially when driving down a steep hill at speed!

Brighter Headlights

Vehicle manufacturers usually fit LED or laser headlights to their models for increased light. If your 4×4 only has halogen headlights, it’s time to upgrade them.

You could fit HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lights or even LED ones if you wish. Just check the legalities of doing so, as some places only allow you to do this if you drive the vehicle off the road only.

Aftermarket LSD

I’m talking about Limited-Slip Differentials, in case you wondered what I meant by “LSD”! The thing about some standard 4x4s is they have open differentials. It makes sense to upgrade to a locking one. That way, you’ll avoid the situation where only one wheel gets power in uneven terrain.


Let’s say that you and your friends decide to do some off-roading in your 4x4s one day. What happens if one of your friends gets stuck in the mud? Let’s face it, the last thing you want to do is get out of your 4×4 and push theirs! A winch is a practical way of helping fellow motorists out of sticky situations.

Sump Guard

It’s crucial that you avoid killing your engine with some spirited driving! A thick metal sump guard will protect the undercarriage of your 4×4. Plus, it stops your engine bay from getting too dirty and caked in mud.

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