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Off-roading has become an extremely popular pastime over the years. Plenty of popular automakers are creating off-roading trims for trucks to appeal to consumers. Here are the three most important off-roading truck features.

A good suspension is one of the most important off-roading truck features

A red Ford Raptor RS Cross Country car driven by Tomas Ourednicek of The Czech Republic and David Kripal of The Czech Republic compete in the desert during Stage Two of the 2019 Dakar Rally between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona on January 7, 2019 in Pisco, Peru.
A Ford Raptor RS is driving in the desert | Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Getty Images

Good suspensions are necessary for off-roading. Today off-roading trims are rapidly becoming common for truck models. Some automakers make small appearance changes to a truck without upgrading its suspension and slap an off-roading name on a trim. If there isn’t a suspension upgrade, you have to wonder whether that off-roading trim is actually capable of extreme off-roading.

The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is one of the best off-roading truck models on the market. This off-roading truck features a 1.5-inch front lift and a 0.5-inch rear lift. Trucks with upgraded suspensions get the benefit of increased ground clearance and wheel articulation.

An off-roading truck with an upgraded suspension can easily clear obstacles and has an easier time overcoming tough terrain. A good suspension also includes quality shocks. Good shocks help absorb impact and stabilize your off-roading truck. Shocks that aren’t up to par will leave your vehicle bouncing around uncontrollably and shaking violently when off-roading.

Great off-roading trucks feature all-terrain tires

A black All-Terrain tire.
All-Terrain tires | Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images

Tires are an important part of any vehicle’s mobility process. They are especially important for off-roading trucks. Off-roading trucks need all-terrain tires to provide grip and traction control when dealing with bumpy trails, rocks, or even sand. Off-roaders like to push their trucks to the limits, so tires that can slip are not only useless, they’re also dangerous.

Off-roading tires such as all-terrain tires are a necessary addition to any off-roading trim or build. Tires are easy to take for granted, but they can be your best friend when taking on obstacles in an off-roading truck. Great all-terrain tires can get you through streams, snow, sand, over rocks, and even up small mountainous hills.

Skid plates seem frivolous but they allow drivers to be adventurous

The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro's white skid plate.
The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro’s skid plate | Toyota

Never Assume This When Taking Your Truck off-Road

Having skid plates on an off-roading truck is like wearing knee pads while rollerblading. You don’t need ’em, but you’ll want ’em after your first major scrape. Many will argue that skid plates aren’t necessary for off-roading, but they can be very reassuring if you want to take on the toughest terrain with confidence. Most of the vehicles on Car and Driver’s off-road-ready list include skid plates.

Skid plates use thick metal like aluminum to protect different vulnerable mechanical components from being damaged off-roading. An upgraded suspension may provide greater ground clearance, but you’ll need as much protection as you can get going up steep inclines or driving through rocky areas. When it comes to off-roading, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and skid plates are the perfect extra layer of protection for your off-roading truck. Every great new off-roading truck features skid plates because they can save drivers thousands in expensive repairs.