Top Five Popular 4X4 Vehicle Modifications

By Brent Maxwell

Off road vehicle owners are challenge takers and thrill seekers. To tackle the challenges and increase the thrill, many enthusiasts begin to customize and modify their 4X4 vehicle as soon as they get it. Some modifications and some new off road parts can greatly improve off road excursions. An off roader can go to extreme limits after adding the five most popular 4X4 vehicle modifications.

Installing new shock absorbers is, usually, one of the first modifications a 4X4 owner will make. Shock absorbers from the factory leave a lot to be desired. Worn or insufficient shocks can be hazardous, on or off the road. Monotube, multitube, hydraulic, bypass, gas, and air shocks are some options. Coilover shocks are a great choice for many. Remote control shock absorbers are convenient and cool.

Manual locking hubs are another common modification on 4X4s. Hubs can be automatic or manual. Automatic hubs are convenient, unless there is a malfunction, but in terms of overall reliability and strength, manual locking hubs are the preferred choice. Manual hubs allow the driver to engage and disengage the front hubs as needed. Disengaging the hubs provides a smoother, quieter ride on the road.

Additional traction is very beneficial when four wheeling over varied terrain. Most 4X4 enthusiasts are not satisfied with "limited-slip" differentials. Manual or automatic locking differentials are preferred by most drivers. A locker, sometimes called a Detroit Locker or a Powertrax Lock Right, will dispatch 100% of the engine torque to both wheels on the axle. Some choose the manual lockers for reduced noise and a smoother on road ride, when deactivated.

Larger tires might be the most common modification to off road vehicles. Bigger tires provide more ground clearance and maneuverability. Off roaders can use bias or radial tires. Bias tires are great for rock crawling, riding trails, and running through the mud. However, they are not good, at all, for road use. Radial tires are more versatile. They provide a quieter, more comfortable ride on a paved surface. Off road conditions require deep, angled tread to grip and climb the rugged terrain.

Bigger tires will require more space. Small, medium, and large lift kits can be used to raise the vehicle. The space provided will range from about 1.5 inches to four inches and more. Many experienced off road enthusiasts prefer spring over axle (if their vehicle is leaf-sprung) or coil suspension lifts. For the offroader that needs a few extra inches of clearance without the need of a full blown suspension lift, they may opt for a body lift kit.

Off road enthusiasts can find awesome off road parts, kits, manuals, and tires online. Fortunately, helpful information and advice are available, also. Remember, after installing new 4X4 parts or making any modifications, performance and handling will be different.

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