4×4 Accessory Guide for the Avid Roadman
To tell you the truth, nothing feels quite like being behind the wheel. The road, the mountains, the sights, the smells…the feel of a cross country trip dwarves most things in our daily lives. Some prefer to travel via bike, others by car, but in order to experience everything that our portion of the southern hemisphere has to offer, nothing can beat a 4×4. Just picture it, you, a flat roof basket full of camping equipment, with a map to nowhere and all the time in the world.
But in order to experience the full range of options that an off-road vehicle can offer, you need to be willing to make some upgrades. There are some 4×4 accessories that can keep you safe, enhance your experience and even make your 4×4 more than just a mode of transport. With that said, let’s go through some of the best accessories that make a world of difference.
As previously stated, in order to get the full experience of a cross country road trip, you are going to want to get a quality flat roof basket. Flat roof racks are a convenient car accessory for any adventurer’s lifestyle. They can be used to stash camping or beach gear, as well as cargo bags or items of furniture on the move. Literally, anyone can revel at the ease with which they can safely tuck away their belongings.
Made from black powder-coated aluminium, the roof rack is durable and provides long-lasting protection. The aluminium construction allows for a lighter basket, which gives you the ability to throw a lot more weight in the basket. A steel option also exists, which trades weight for strength, giving the roof rack greater weight capacity and a stronger frame. Usually, the maximum load capacity is at around 150-250kg, mostly depending on the amount of weight your roof can take.
When assembled, its height adds another 120mm to your roof, which is a pretty small addition when compared to bulkier taller roof racks. Following the standard 4×4 sizes, the rack is usually 2200x1250x50mm, but like with any product, larger and smaller variants do exist for more non-standard vehicles or personal needs of the customer.
In order to install a flat roof basket, one is required to undergo some drilling. This is to ensure that the flat roof rack is installed properly and securely and can afterwards be used for all forms of application. Once the flat roof tray is installed, the uses can be endless. You can attach anything from bikes to luggage to heavy equipment right above your head without needing to worry about a single thing falling off while you’re driving. It really is an essential item for the avid roadman.
Light bars are really one of those items you thought you’d never need until you actually got them. Unlike headlights, which are mostly used for on-road lighting and maneuvering, LED light bars are the perfect offroading option. Say you’re setting up the campsite or assisting in an off-road accident where some additional light might come in handy. Well, light bars got you covered. Due to them being LEDs, they won’t drain your battery as much as halogen bulbs, meaning longer illumination at a lower risk of battery death mid-use.
They come in all sizes, giving you a whole lot of options. That being said, a lot of users would argue that size is probably one of the most important features to consider if you’re considering adding LED light bars to your vehicle. The larger the LED light bar, the more bulbs you’ll have, meaning the more light that will be produced from said bar.
The shape isn’t really that significant. However, there are only two options at your disposal. A curved LED light bar and a straight LED light bar, which is pretty self-explanatory. Which one you choose is entirely up to you.
Just like with shape, light bars come in a set of two option: single row and double row. Double row light bars produce more light, but they are significantly more expensive. If you want your vehicle to have a low profile, then single row lights are your best option.
With all that off-road roaming, your 4×4 could use some extra protection. Though these vehicles were factory-made to be sturdy and to withstand such environments, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Considering that most 4WDs have all the essential mechanical parts behind a simple bumper, they are still vulnerable to the smallest of knocks. Bull bars are metallic bars attaches to the front of the 4×4 that give your vehicle a buffer between random road obstacles and yourself. You can also get the benefits of fender benders that cover the wheels and offer added protection.
The fronts and the sides are as important as the underside of your rover. If you’re driving through a massive mud hole you want to avoid a lone rock has punctured something vital on your vehicle’s underbody. Both the fuel tank and the gearbox are mostly exposed, and them being vital pieces that actually make the car move, you are going to want to protect them at all cost.
Rock sliders are designed specifically to support the weight of your vehicle when it’s bashing against a rock. Sump guards play a multipurpose role when it comes to underbody protection. They protect your radiator, steering stabiliser, air conditioning, oil cooler and they also look quite cool, as this is the skid plate you see on most 4X4 when they go down the road. Fuel tank skids put a protective layer of aluminium and/or steel between your remaining fuel and off-road ballistic debris.
As for the engine and gearbox, skid plates are the most common protective item. Your vehicle will be dead in the water if one of these essential parts gets damaged, so if you are planning on going fully of road, make sure you’re well supplied and well protected.