Build On A Budget: Cost-Effective Ways To Setup Trucks For Off-Road Use.

8 min readJun 15, 2021

So you’ve decided to try off-roading. Good for you! People have been doing a lot more outdoor activities. As a truck owner and probably an adventure-seeker yourself, you sure don’t want to miss out on the fun. But is your truck ready for off-road use?

It can be overwhelming to begin the process of modifying your truck, especially for first-time owners. Don’t fret! As long as you have the right knowledge and the right tools, you can start off-roading without breaking the bank.

Let’s be honest. When we start looking at modifying our trucks for the trails, it can be discouraging to see the prices of the parts. You see the price of those nice American Force wheels and your jaw just drops.

The overflowing catalog and perpetually available truck parts, accessories, wheels, and tires offer truck owners a good opportunity to acquire everything they need for off-roading at an affordable price.

Setting up your truck for off-road use doesn’t always have to be expensive. Make your truck ready for off-roading without breaking your pocket.

Practical Reinforcement

Start your off-road setup by choosing the right wheels and tires for your truck. This is the first upgrade you should make if you want to immediately try off-roading. Let’s say the easiest way for you to join your colleagues on their trip to the trail.

Keep in mind that what you’re choosing should be cost-effective and good for long-term use.

1. Wheels

Alloy wheels and steel wheels are the standard choices for off-road wheels.

Alloy wheels are known to be lighter than their steel counterpart. They are stern and quite resistant when it comes to low or medium impact. Alloy wheels have a protective finish to prevent rust or corrosion making them easy to maintain. Many consider replacing their stock wheels with alloy wheels. This is made possible because of the wide range of sizes available that are suitable to most vehicle types; not just trucks. It also comes in many styles and colors, perfect if you’re aiming to upgrade your truck’s function and form on a budget.

Alloy wheels can be used long-term depending on the frequency of usage and how well the condition is preserved. If you just want to try off-roading but can’t fully commit to it as a hobby then this is a good choice of wheels for you. Aside from the style boost, it provides fuel efficiency to your truck so you can also take it for a daily drive on roads and highways.

Steel wheels are the ideal choice rather than alloy wheels. They are generally inexpensive which makes them more accessible to any beginners in off-roading. Steel wheels are slightly heavier but they can withstand high impact, unlike alloy wheels. They are also malleable and tough to crack. You can assure that steel wheels are reliable because you can knock them back into shape using a hammer in case of bending or distortion caused by the trail.

This is the kind of wheel to install if you want to practice off-roading because it is unlikely to leave you stuck on a trail. It can save you from spending service fees for towing or recovery. You can also use steel wheels in winter due to stability and less prone to a contraction in cold temperatures.

Size matter in choosing your wheels too. 16 to 17-inch wheels are common for starters. Smaller wheel diameter can accommodate larger tires thus giving you bigger sidewalls. The sidewall can protect your wheels by absorbing shock and impact. You might have to rely on this if you want to avoid sending your truck for repair after your first off-roading. Also, tires for these wheels cost less and offer plenty of options to choose from.

In any case that you’re ready to choose off-roading wheels, look for bundles and packages for bigger savings. For example, the mount and balance package of American Force wheels is a practical alternative to getting those jaw-dropping wheels at an affordable price.

2. Tires

Tires are the easiest to upgrade and the most effective way to make your truck ready for off-road. Having a good set of mud tires is a nice jump-start in getting the feel of off-roading. As exciting as it sounds, you want to make sure that you get the appropriate tires you need.

The tires that you will pick should depend on the trail you are planning to take. You have to allot some time researching the trails you want to visit for off-roading. Check the terrain of the trails if it has sand, muds, and rocks. These will help you identify what off-road tires to look for.

A good off-road tire should provide you consistent grips on unpaved terrains. For starters, the best tires to consider are all-terrain tires.

All-terrain tires are capable of dominating any terrain. They have an open tread design that boosts your traction on uneven surfaces. The sidewalls are generally taller to protect your wheels from rocks and debris. These tires are versatile in that they can provide an aggressive driving off-road and comfortable ride back on highway and pavement.

The tried-and-tested Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires are a good example of tires to consider if you want to maximize mobility. Be it a rock-crawling, mud-wadding, or pavement ride, these all-terrain tires can give you precise handling and traction to any wet and dry terrain.

The versatility appeals to truck-owners because they can maximize the benefits of all-terrain tires by using them all year round. It saves them time and money from buying and changing tires depending on the trail and season. Spare yourself from this hassle if you want to enjoy your first year of off-roading without compromising your setup for daily driving. Always look for deals and discounts for the best all-terrain tires.

If you prefer to go extreme, mud tires are the best match for you. They are specifically designed to be more intense and powerful than all-terrain tires. The intricate ridges and voids of the tread can repel mud and stones with ease. Most mud tires are constructed with a 3-ply sidewall making them more resistant to puncture.

These tires can handle harsh muddy trails and jagged rocks. You get your money’s worth every time you overcome these challenging off-road obstacles. You’ll get hooked to that kind of experience, especially if you’re a thrill-seeker.

Identifying the potential use of the tires can help you choose your first set of off-road tires.

When you are ready to get off-road tires, look for tires that offer discounts when you buy them as a set. Most off-road tires for 16 to 17-inch wheels are on sale all year round, so be sure to check them out.

You might also want to take advantage of wheel and tire packages. Aside from getting your wheels and tires at a lower cost, they offer free mounting and balancing services as well.

Off-road Ready Upgrades

For starters, having the right off-road wheels and tires suffice when you want to go for moderate off-roading. If you want to step up your build and maximize your off-road experience, you might want to add these upgrades.

  • Suspension kit — Improving the truck’s suspension is ideal for those who want to fit bigger tires. It boosts articulation and the capability to handle harsher terrain conditions while absorbing bumps and impacts from the trail. This is optional for beginners of off-roading.
  • Lift kit — This can give your truck a higher ground clearance which makes it easier to navigate complicated terrains and trek through larger rocks. This is not a cheap upgrade but worth the investment if you seriously want to commit to off-roading.
  • Aftermarket bumpers — Many truck-owners consider installing bumpers for protection from bumps and scrapes. Bumpers are popular for those who want to add style and visual flair to their setup. It is also useful if you like to mount other accessories such as lights.
  • Truck bed storage, organizers, and tonneau covers — Off-roading is going to be a bumpy ride. Having cargo storage and tonneau cover installed can assure you that your equipment is safe and protected while your trucks crawl on the trail. Many use it to secure their camping gear. You can consider it a must-have if you’re planning to add camping on your off-roading itinerary.

Remember that some of these upgrades are optional. You may skip over some items on your first try off-roading and install them later on when you get the hang of it. Don’t pass up on a good deal for these upgrades if you come across one.

Free Assets

It takes a lot of time and effort to build your truck for off-road use exactly the way you want it. Learning how to install some of the upgrades on your own can help you cut the cost for services that you might not need. This may sound daunting the first time, but there’s a continuous increase of automotive references and tutorials available to learn the craft and skills needed.

Taking the road less traveled does not mean you have to figure out everything on your own. There are lots of off-road communities available online and on social media. Never shy away from interacting with well-experienced and experts in off-roading.

You can ask these truck-owners any questions you have regarding the setup that you’re planning to make.

Most of them can provide answers and valuable information, even insights about your first choice of mud tires. Asking questions is free. Just be detailed and polite about it.

Having friends or acquaintances who are into off-roading comes with perks when you want to start off-roading. Don’t be afraid to ask them if you could join them for a ride as long as you’re willing to give some compensation for it.

Take this opportunity to measure your interest in off-roading. You should be able to determine what trails you want to take and what kind of setup you want to build on your own truck. This is probably a good chance to figure out if you prefer to use those versatile all-terrain tires or the dedicated mud tires

Be on the lookout for promotions and good deals. A 5% to 20% discount can help you set aside a portion of your total budget for other parts that you’ll need. Taking advantage of services like free mounting and balancing and free shipping saves you both time and money. Make off-roading accessible and affordable for you. You can find the latest parts and accessories in the market for the lowest price at 4WheelOnline.

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