What’s That Rattle? The Most Common Car Problems You’ll Face After Off-Roading

Car Maintenance, Service, Used Cars, Wheel Alignment, Wheels & Tires

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common car problems

Off-roading is a national pastime in Canada. If you’ve got a Jeep, an off-roading SUV, or a truck, chances are that you love taking it out on the many off-road trails around Winnipeg, and elsewhere in Manitoba.

But off-roading comes with its own set of challenges. Even cars that are designed for heavy off-roading use can be damaged after a day-long expedition – either by nature, or by improper use.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common car problems you’ll face after off-roading, so that you can recognize them and take the proper steps to have them repaired at Ride Time.

1. Wheel Misalignment

When you think about how many bumps, rocks, rots, sticks, logs, and other obstacles your 4×4 traverses every time you go off-road, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that your wheels are usually going to be misaligned after you get back on the road.

You can test this by checking for things like wheel “wobble” and vibration. Also, if your car doesn’t stay “true” in a straight line without you holding the wheel, your wheels are likely misaligned.

Off-roading takes a toll on your suspension, so this is not exactly a shocker. Still, you should get your wheels aligned as soon as you can, to avoid excessive wear and tear on your vehicle.

2. Tire Damage

Even the most burly, purpose-built off-roading tires are not impervious to sharp stones and other such objects, which are usually found on tough off-roading trails. It’s possible that you may damage one of your tires after an intense off-roading session.

If your vehicle has a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) this should be obvious – your system will inform you that there’s a leak, and you’re losing tire pressure.

If you don’t have a TPMS, simply check your tires for visible damage after ever off-roading session, and use a tire gauge to ensure that they’re fully inflated.

3. Body Damage

Body damage is pretty much accepted by hardcore off-roaders. You’re not going to tear through woods, gravel paths, and tough hills without putting some scratches and dings on your vehicle.

Still, you should consider having your car touched up every once in a while. If you get deep scratches and dings that scrape past the paint and primer, reaching the metal, your car is likely to get rusty. This is especially true in Winnipeg, where road salt and long winters take a toll on cars.

With a little touch-up paint, you can restore your car’s appearance, and prevent rust.

4. Damage To The Undercarriage

Most heavy duty off-roaders have skid plates, preventing damage to the underside of the car. This isn’t true of every car, though – and some vehicles can still be damaged even with a skid plate.

Examine your undercarriage after each excursion – especially if you’re hearing a loose or “rattling” noise. Make sure everything looks like it’s in the right place, and there are no major dents or punctures.

5. Transmission Problems

Your transmission takes a lot of abuse when off-roading. You’re going to be making a lot of low shifts at high RPMs, which can cause excessive wear and tear. Be on the lookout for these signs of transmission problems when off-roading, and after leaving the trail:

  • Transmission slipping when changing gear
  • Rough shifting with “clunks” or other noises
  • Delays in shifts
  • Fluid leaks. Transmissions are fully sealed and should never leak. Transmission fluid is usually bright red, but can also be dark red or brown.
  • Transmission warning lights
  • A sweet, burning smell (indicates transmission fluid is overheating and burning)

If you notice any of these issues after off-roading, take your car to the shop ASAP. You should even consider having it towed, as these issues can progress and cost thousands of dollars to repair.

Get The Service You Need At Ride Time!

We love off-roading at Ride Time – and we can take care of any issues that may occur in your 4×4 after a major off-roading session. So don’t wait. Schedule your service appointment online now, and get the repairs you need.


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