Whether you’ve been an off-road adventurer for a while now or are looking at exploring more of our great outdoors thanks to COVID’s social impact, you’re going to want a vehicle that’s in decent shape. More to the point, one that can go off-road in the first place!
What should a capable off-roader have?Off-roading does come with its challenges, and there’s a lot to know, so it only makes sense that you ensure you’ve got the wheels to take you there. Capable off-roaders all have similar traits, so let’s take a look at some of the basics to get you exploring.
Clearance, wheels and suspension
If there’s one thing that any off-road four-wheel-drive or capable SUV has in common, it’s the underbody gear. We aren’t trying to say that models like a Subaru Outback are going to match a big Land Cruiser or Ford Ranger — but even SUVs have a higher clearance, meaning you can go over ruts and uneven roads with more confidence than a sedan or family hatchback.
The tyres you choose need to be especially suited to all-terrain. Quality all-terrain tyres can make all the difference, particularly if you’re going to hit a trail with dirt or mud.
Similarly, suspension upgrades mean you can get better clearance and articulation. Articulation means that your axles and shock absorbers are more flexible, making it easier to go up embankments or over rugged terrain. Creek crossings, holes and small logs all require better suspension than your run-of-the-mill highway drive.
Low and high rangeLoading up the ute, 4WD or SUV to head out for an adventure is more enjoyable when you know that your vehicle has the power to go where the rest can’t. Most models of 4WD’s have a gearbox where you can select low or high range. Low range will slow you down but give you the power you need to help drive you in and out of certain situations. Driving on sand is a fantastic example of where you’ll need to select low range.
Recovery gear & reliabilityThings don’t always go to plan, and if you run into trouble, especially if you’re somewhere remote, you want to make sure you’ve got some recovery gear with you. Cars don’t come standard with recovery boards to get you off a bog, or snatch-straps to help tow you out of a tricky spot if you get stuck, but thinking about recovery is a good reason why you should look for a car that’s going to be reliable. Lower mileage cars that are in good shape, with no rust in the frame, and are being sold with a full logbook of service history are the type of vehicles you generally should be spending your money on. High mileage is certainly not always a bad thing, though, and with touring cars, especially four-wheel-drive vehicles, you can expect to have a little more driving time on the clock compared to standard road vehicles. Basically, you need to be confident that there’s nothing lurking in a car’s past that could leave you stranded. Sometimes, this is why going for a new option can instil more confidence than cheap, pre-loved off-road vehicles despite needing to pay higher prices. If something seems too cheap or you get a weird feeling when buying, it could be a sign the previous owners are trying to offload a lemon and get their cash before it’s too late.
It’s a great idea to have a Geo Tracker because the world is a big place, and having a GPS location can be your saving grace if you’re out of mobile phone reception. It can also track your course, so that you can map and frame your adventure!
Frequently asked questions about financing an off-roaderOff-roading does come with its challenges, and there’s a lot to know, so it only makes sense that you ensure you’ve got the wheels to take you there. Capable off-roaders all have similar traits, so let’s take a look at some of the basics to get you exploring.
Can I apply for a loan for a second-hand off-roader?
At Finance One, we are happy to provide vehicle finance for both new and used vehicles, including those used to go off-road.
Can I insure my off-road vehicle?
You can be insured for off-roading, however, it may not come as standard in your comprehensive motor insurance policy. 4WDing Australia has some great information about insuring your off-road pride and joy.
How cheap are off-road vehicles?
Prices for a reliable SUV or truck that is capable of taking you off-road seriously vary. Doing your due diligence and making sure that you’re not overpaying is sound practice no matter what you’re buying. Watch the market before you sign registration papers.
Once you have an idea of the amount you’re looking to spend, use our car loan calculator to get a good example of what your repayments might be.
Do I need to buy a 4x4 for off-roading?
While there are some capable SUVs on the market to take off-road, it really depends on the difficulty and extremity of adventure you’re looking at. 4x4s have the benefit of higher clearance and the option of low and high gearboxes.
Particularly if you’re looking at towing a campervan or boat, 4x4s will have the torque to easily pull heavier items that other, small frame cars just can’t.
Buying an off-roader can give you the freedom and adventure lifestyle you’ve been dreaming about. Don’t let bad credit or no credit history hold you back. At Finance One, we help everyday Aussies live the Australian dream, contact us now to find out if we can help you, too!
Disclaimer: The information above is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information relates to your particular circumstances. We do not accept responsibility for any loss arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information.
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