The all-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler is designed to offer unmatched capability, but when it comes time to take it off road, what’s the best way to enjoy the trails?
If you are a seasoned off-roader or new to exploring the wild in a Wrangler, the Jeep brand has compiled a primer to help you enjoy the trails.
First, before you head out, make sure you know the dimensions of your vehicle.
For example, the all-new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has an industry-leading approach angle of 44 degrees, break-over angle of 27.8 degrees, departure angle of 37 degrees and ground clearance of 10.9 inches (27.7 cm). It also has unmatched crawl ratios of up to 84.2:1 and up to 30 inches (76 cm) of water fording.
These are impressive numbers, but what do they mean?
- Approach angle: The maximum incline to ascend before body or suspension touches
- Break-over angle: The maximum angle to drive over without bottoming-out
- Departure angle: The maximum incline to descend before body or suspension touches
- Wheel articulation: The maximum distance each wheel can move up or down
- Wheelbase: The center-to-center distance between the vehicle’s front and rear wheels
Now that it’s time to hit the trails, how fast should you drive?
By shifting the Wrangler into low-range 4WD, the low gearing and low speed at idle will help to pull you over obstacles. In many cases with manual transmissions, letting the clutch out slowly and allowing the vehicle to crawl over obstacles in the lowest gear is the best option.
If the first obstacle you encounter is a hill climb or descent, go straight up or down. For a hill climb, apply more power at the base of the hill and ease up on the power as you approach the top and before going over the crest.
For downhill travel with a manual transmission, select first gear. When descending a hill with the powertrain in low range, do not disengage the clutch and allow the vehicle to coast. Keep the clutch engaged, allowing the transmission and engine compression to slow you down while using the brakes only to fine-tune your speed.
When it’s time to climb over rocks and other obstacles, use a low gear and low-range 4WD and just let the vehicle crawl and idle with as little throttle as possible. When a vehicle with 10 inches of ground clearance comes upon a 12-inch rock, maneuver the tire on top of the rock and crawl over it slowly.
If you hear scraping, don’t panic because the vehicle’s skid plates, if equipped, and available rock rails will take the brunt of the beating. Dropping tire pressure 3-5 pounds improves traction and helps avoid tire punctures.
One final tip: drivers should also stay on the trails and always leave the trail in better shape than they found it.