Just because temperatures are starting to dip and snow is falling on your favorite trails, that doesn’t mean you have to put your Jeep in hibernation for the winter. Off-roading in the snow can be an incredibly enjoyable experience for those who are up for the challenge. If you’re planning to tackle powder-covered surfaces and embrace the many trials of low-traction trails, check out these top tips for off-roading in the snow.
Air Down Your Tires
Airing down your tires is an effective way to increase the amount of traction and displacement your vehicle has on slippery, icy surfaces. By reducing the amount of air in your tires, more surface area of the tire will touch the ground. As a result, you will experience a higher level of traction and displacement, which will make it easier to stay on top of the snow rather than spinning your tires and digging yourself into a hole.
If you choose to air down your tires before hitting the trails, make sure to bring a tire gauge and a portable tire inflator with you so you can fill them back up before driving back on paved roads.
Invest in a Set of Snow Tires
While airing down your tires can help improve traction, investing in a set of snow tires is perhaps the best way to avoid skidding and sliding on icy trails. Snow tires are specifically designed with deep treads that have larger gaps to optimize traction when driving on snow and ice.
In addition, they are also made with specialized rubber that remains soft and pliable in extremely low temperatures, rather than becoming extremely hard. Depending on the set you get, some snow tires even have protruding metal or ceramic studs for optimal grip.
Know What You’re Up Against
When off-roading in the winter, it is important to know what you’re up against. In other words, you must learn how to identify different types of snow. Not all snow is the same, and traversing different snow consistencies will require different driving tactics.
For example, there is soft snow that has been sitting in the sun, and there is hard, icy snow located in the shadows or on north-facing slopes. Trying to stay on top of soft and dry snow is often much harder than driving over snow that is wet and heavy. As such, you should familiarize yourself with the different consistencies of snow and plan your course accordingly before embarking down a snow-covered trail.
Reduce Weight as Much as Possible
Another top tip for off-roading in the snow is to reduce the weight of your vehicle as much as possible. The lighter your Jeep is, the easier it will be to stay on top of the snow and avoid sinking into the soft surface.
One way to do so is by removing your vehicle’s hardtop and doors, weather permitting. Using a Top Lift Pro Jeep wrangler door removal or hardtop removal tool makes it easy to take off your Jeep’s hardtop and doors all on your own and decrease the weight of your vehicle by a few hundred pounds.
That said, you should never remove any essential equipment such as recovery gear or emergency supplies in an attempt to reduce the weight of your Jeep.