How To Prepare Your Jeep for Off-Roading in the Desert


How To Prepare Your Jeep for Off-Roading in the Desert

Even in 110-degree heat, off-roading in the desert can be an exhilarating experience. Here’s how to prepare for the adventure behind the wheel of your Jeep.

You can find some of the finest beauty in North America in the deserts of the American Southwest, and Americans take in this beauty in different ways. The vast and arid expanses of Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Nevada are prime shooting locations for landscape photographers—hobbyists and professionals alike. Outdoor enthusiasts strap on their hiking boots and traverse the deserts on foot. Then there’s you, the off-roader, taking in the landscapes in motion and hitting the trails at high speeds. If you’re a longtime off-roader making your first southwestern excursion, here’s how to prepare your Jeep for off-roading in the desert landscapes of the US.

Keep a Map on Your Phone or in the Glove Compartment

GPS technology has eliminated the old motorist tradition of unfolding and unfurling a roadmap—just another casualty of the smartphone era. However, you can’t count on coverage in the desert. With spotty or nonexistent connections, live geolocation may be out of the question. You may have to practice a little technological necromancy and bring your paper map back from the dead. Check with your mapping app to ascertain that it has the offline capability to display a map, albeit one without your location pinpointed.

Specialize Your Tires for Sand

Tire selection is one aspect of driving that separates the civilians from the enthusiasts. What kind of tires does your average Toyota Corolla driver have on their car? They don’t know. Probably the ones that came with the car. Off-roading in your Jeep turns tires into a science, with different models for different terrains. Among them, sand tires are arguably the most specialized, with treading and construction that suits them for terrain unlike sluggish mud or hard pavement. To prepare your Jeep for off-roading in the desert, don’t set out without tires made for treacherous sand.

Maximize Your Airflow by Going Doorless

Combustion engines and triple-digit heat don’t mix if you like to keep cool. While that scorching weather is part of the thrill, you still need a little natural air conditioning. That begins with removing the top from your Jeep as well as your doors, giving you all the open air you’ll need on your excursion. With nearly 360 degrees of cross-breeze as you drive, suddenly, 110 degrees of mercury doesn’t feel so bad. As you remove your doors, however, be sure to have a plan in place. Don’t just prop them up against the side of the garage and hope for the best—explore how to best store your doors so that they won’t take any damage in storage.

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