Jeep Off-Roading 101

If you own a Jeep – or are thinking of buying one – it’s hard to resist the urge to take your Jeep off-roading The nice thing about Jeeps is you can go places that paved roads can’t take you – there’s tons of challenging obstacles, and they can be a ton of fun if done right – and you stay safe.


Learning your way to safely and effectively get through the mud and the muck is the most important step in becoming an off-roader.  You want to stay safe, and keep your Jeep from getting any damages. Here are the rules of the no-road so to speak.

Crossing water and driving through streams can be a lot of fun. Though the first thought is to hit the gas and go – that’s not always the smartest things to do. Especially if you’ve never been through it before. Before you go ‘running’ through the water, check your owner’s manual to determine your vehicle’s capabilities – like the maximum water fording depth. Most Jeeps vary between 15 and 30 inches, and they all recommend going under 5 mph. If you don’t have a manual the general rule is water up to the bumper is acceptable; but I wouldn’t risk anything past that. Water too deep can ruin or cause damage to your engine, transmission, and electrical outlets. Put your vehicle in low, drive slow, and turn around if you think the water is going to get too deep. Watch for rocks or holes – and always keep moving. Be sure that you or someone around is there to help with recovery equipment (this seems to be needed more than not in my experience!)

Where there is water, there is mud. Mud can be fun – but it can also be dangerous. Sometimes its hard to judge how deep the mud is, or what other debris it might be hiding. Again, make sure you or someone has recovery equipment readily available. Try to not spin your tires too much (literally you are just digging yourself into a deeper hole) , and beware of deep ruts. IF you start to get bogged down turn your steering wheel from side to side to gain traction. When you are done playing in the mud make sure to get the hose out (or head to the car wash) and get all that mud rinsed off before it dries – it can really bog down your Jeep, and even cause corrosion.

Just like any other type of driving there is always the risk of damage – make sure that your insurance company covers off-roading excursions, and check to see if all the upgrades you make to your Jeep for your off-roading pleasure are covered as well. Some insurance companies have capped limits, and you may need to purchase additional coverages to make sure your assets are covered.


This post is sponsored in part by Three Rivers Chrysler Jeep Dodge LLC


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