Not your annual exam, though that’s important too… I’m talking about a thorough examination of your off-road vehicle by a qualified someone other than yourself, to maintain your ride and hopefully catch any problems before they leave you stranded on trail. In addition to regular oil changes, tire rotation, and standard vehicle maintenance, here’s why I think an annual Health & Wellness check is so important.
- Another set of eyes. If you aren’t super technical by nature you should have a quality shop look over your rig and any modifications to ensure they are performing correctly. And even if you built your Jeep with your own two hands I think having a trusted friend/colleague/shop look it over once a year is a good idea because they might catch something you’ve missed. I liken this to writing an important email, re-reading it several times before sending to ensure it’s correct, then having a recipient point out an embarrassing grammatical error – that wasn’t caught because one set of eyes can miss what’s right in front of them. I’m sure we’ve all experienced something like this and that’s why I think having someone else look over your off-road vehicle at least once a year is a good idea.
- Righty-tighty everything. A quality mods shop can ensure that all bolts are tight and all mods are connected where they should be.
- Safety first: catch problems early. Just like your annual physical which is designed to keep your health on the right track and alert you of issues before they become big problems, having your rig checked annually by a quality shop can enable a necessary fix before something breaks and leaves you on the side of the road.
- Recommend better mods. Perhaps your lift springs have settled, or other mods aren’t performing well. Issues like these can be spotted during an annual check-up and recommendations made on mods that will better fit your needs.
- Boost confidence. Having your rig thoroughly examined before wheeling season or prior to a big trail run will give you confidence that your vehicle will perform well on trail. This makes for a far more enjoyable experience than just hoping the old girl will make it til the end.
- Fix that shake, rattle and roll. Maybe you’ve been hearing a noise for awhile, or something’s not feeling quite right but it hasn’t justified a separate trip to the shop, with the resulting bill. The annual check is a good time to mention these items – the shop’ll be going over your rig anyway and perhaps they’ll be able to figure out where that noise is coming from, and maybe even fix it too!
At the end of the day it’s always possible that something will break on your vehicle mid-trail, because life happens. But getting a thorough exam at least once a year can go a long way toward preventing this, and can keep you and your rig wheeling happily down the trail for many years to come.
To find a quality off-road shop see our Jeep page for recommendations.
Thanks for reading, and Happy Trails!
by Dawn Gallegos
Dawn Gallegos is the founding editor of the Chicks On The Rocks blog. When she's not working to fund her Jeep habit she's thinking up new ways to inspire others to explore the great outdoors.