Introduction to Off-Roading Lingo
If youre a newcomer to the Jeep brand, you may be unfamiliar with certain off-roading terms and techniques. Lucky for you, the Jeep Blog is featuring an ongoing series of posts aimed at helping those who are interested in experiencing the full potential of their Jeep vehicles, but may be feeling a little overwhelmed about getting started.
Jeep Blog contributors Jackie and Alan have provided posts aimed at helping Jeep brand owners become familiar with off-road techniques for getting through mud and water. In the spirit of the series, let this post act as an introductory guide to terms that you may hear on the trail, in the mud bogs, or at a get-together with fellow Jeep brand enthusiasts.
Aftermarket - Usually refers to parts that are not installed at the factory by the manufacturer. There are a number of aftermarket companies among Jeep 4x4 enthusiasts. Chrysler Groups in-house Mopar brand also produces aftermarket parts and accessories to customize your Jeep vehicle.
Built - If youre hanging out with an enthusiast crowd, you may hear the term built rig being thrown around. Built refers to a modified vehicle that is in some cases more capable than it was in stock form.
Locking Differentials - Often referred to as lockers, these differentials greatly improve capability in low-traction environments. When needed, lockers will essentially lock both the right and left wheels of an axle together, providing additional traction.
Solid or Straight Axle - A solid axle suspension that acts as a single unit, including the driveshafts. The advantage of a solid-axle, also referred to as a Live axle, is that ground clearance below the axle remains the same despite the height difference that could be experienced when going over obstacles such as rocks or logs. Solid axles also help in gaining articulation, allowing wheels to stay on the ground in staggered terrain. In addition, the solid axle is fairly simple, resulting in increased capability, strength and durability.
Traction - Can be most easily described as the level of friction between two surfaces. The more you have, the better your Jeep vehicle will perform. Slipping tires would be an example of losing traction.
Tire Bead - The tire bead refers to the edge of the tire that seats into the wheel rim, creating an air tight seal. When the tire is inflated and the seal is created, this is referred to as seating the bead.
Beadlock - In many off-road situations, the bead of a tire may be compromised. Climbing obstacles becomes easier when tire pressure is lower than what is needed for driving on public roads. The disadvantage of lower tire pressure is that this also greatly compromises the bead. A common off-road device known as a bead lock holds the tire to the wheel, forcing the bead to hold load and therefore maintaining tire pressure.
Ground Clearance - The distance from flat ground to the lowest point on the underside of the vehicle. With greater ground clearance, your Jeep 4x4 can clear taller obstacles. When hitting beginner-level trails, the stock ground clearance of a Jeep Wrangler will suffice; try out a more advanced trail and you may need to modify your vehicle. When this happens, refer to our Outfitting your Jeep Vehicle 101: Suspension post.
Articulation - Described as the amount a suspension system can combine compression on one side and droop on the other for each axle. Articulation is experienced when climbing over obstacles such as rocks or logs, where one axle may experience a different height to climb than the other, creating an uneven suspension compression. Jeep vehicles feature impressive articulation, allowing for easy climbs over obstacles.
Last but not least, let us introduce you to the Jeep Brand Wave. If you drive a Jeep vehicle and you see another Jeep 4x4 owner, wave to them. Welcome to the Jeep brand community.
Hope this glossary of off-road terms and technology has helped increase your knowledge and interest in venturing off the pavement and into adventure. See you on the trail!