Off-Roading in the Winter

Eugene Petrunin |

Winter is the time of year when many people put their off-roading vehicles into storage. But just because the snow is falling and the temperatures are dropping doesn’t mean you have to hang up your keys! With a little bit of preparation, you can take your car out onto the trails even in the middle of winter. Here’s what you need to know about winter snow wheeling.

Preparing Your Car

Just like off-roading in summer, you also have to prepare your car for the trail. Here are the first things you should think about:


One of the most important things to consider when snow wheeling is your tires. You’ll want to make sure you have a good set of all-terrain tires that can handle both mud and snow. In addition, it’s a good idea to invest in a set of tire chains or studs. These will give you extra traction on icy or slippery surfaces.


Your car’s suspension is also important for winter snowwheeling. You’ll want to make sure your shocks are in good condition and that your springs are not too stiff. This will help your car navigate over bumps and through deep snow without getting stuck. Make sure you have high shocks installed on your vehicle to keep the bulk of your car out of the deep snow. Consider upgrading your car’s control arm bumpers too so that your car can take harder impacts from unseen obstacles (which admittedly is part of the excitement in winter snow wheeling). In addition, consider installing skid plates on your car to protect your underside from rocks and other obstacles.


When snowwheeling, you’ll also need to pay attention to your car’s drivetrain. Make sure the differential is properly lubricated and that there is no build-up of ice or snow around the driveshaft. 


The type of oil you use in your car is important for a variety of reasons. Oil helps to lubricate the engine and protect it from wear and tear. It also helps to keep the engine running cool and prevents the build-up of deposits on the piston rings.

There are a variety of different oil grades available, each with its own set of benefits. The most important factor to consider when choosing an oil grade is the climate where you live. If you do some intense winter driving, you’ll need an oil that can withstand both hot and cold temperatures. In general, engine oils that are labeled “winter grade” are better suited for cold weather conditions.

One of the best engine oils for winter conditions is synthetic blend oil. This type of oil is made up of both synthetic and mineral oils, which gives it several advantages over traditional mineral oils. Synthetic blend oil resists the formation of sludge and deposits, which can occur in cold weather conditions. It also has a higher viscosity index than mineral oils, which means it will stay thicker at lower temperatures. This helps to protect your engine against wear and tear in cold weather.

Vedrana |

Other Supplies

If you’re going off-roading in winter, it’s important to pack a few extra supplies, like a couple of days’ worth of rations and water. Some of the most important items to bring are emergency supplies, such as a first-aid kit, flares, and a survival blanket. You’ll also want to pack some heating blankets to keep you warm.

If you’re going off-roading in winter, it’s important to bring a radio or a satellite phone, too, especially if you plan to go to trails where your smartphone doesn’t get any signal. This will allow you to stay in touch with others and let them know your location in case of an emergency. It’s also helpful to have a radio or satellite phone for getting assistance if your vehicle gets stuck beyond your capabilities.

Some of the most useful items are a shovel, a jack, traction boards, a winch, and a set of tire chains. If you have these items with you, you can often get your car moving again without having to wait for help. Bring along a saw and some lighters too; you never know if you have to wait long enough to need a fire. Additionally, for those driving a Toyota 4Runner on these winter excursions, installing RCI 4runner roof racks can be a game-changer, providing extra storage for essential gear and emergency supplies, ensuring you’re well-prepared for any situation.

Best Places for Off-Roading in the Winter

There are several great places in the United States for winter off-roading. One of the most popular is Moab, Utah. This small town is home to some of the country’s best off-road trails, including the famous Jeep Safari Trail. If you’re looking for a challenging trail, Moab is the place to be.

Another great place for winter off-roading is the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This area is known for its rugged terrain and beautiful scenery. There are some trails to choose from, including the Flume Gorge Trail and the Crawford Notch Trail.

If you’re looking for a place with a little bit of everything, head to Yosemite National Park in California. This park offers everything from narrow, winding trails to wide-open meadows. You’ll also find plenty of rocky climbs and river crossings.

No matter where you go, make sure you prepare your vehicle properly for the conditions.

Final Thoughts

With a little bit of preparation, you can take your car off-roading even in the middle of winter! Just make sure you have a good set of all-terrain tires, shocks in good condition, and a properly lubricated drivetrain. You should also consider installing skid plates and a winch for extra protection and peace of mind. So don’t let the cold weather keep you off the trails—get out there and enjoy some winter snowwheeling!


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