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How to Make Your Car Off-Road Ready

How to make a car off-road ready – A white off-road car surrounded by trees

While off-roaders come off the assembly line with plenty of capability, you can make a few modifications to keep your vehicle (and you!) safe as you trundle off, over, and around the beaten path. With better weather on its way, it’s the perfect time to learn how to make a car off-road ready. Buckle up as we explore some of the best off-road modifications you can make to your car.

All-Terrain Tyres

Tyres are the foundation of your off-roading fun, the only thing separating you from the ground. But it’s rare to find a car with off-road-ready tyres. Consider swapping your regular wheels out for a good set of all-terrain tyres. Thanks to their depth and strong tread, all-terrain tyres are perfect for conquering all sorts of landscapes, from highways to mud pits and everything in between.

High Profile Tyres

You’ll want to ensure your all-terrain tyres have a high profile, meaning the rims are smaller than usual. This high profile will elevate your ground clearance and give your wheels a little extra cushioning for whatever pushing you have to do on the trail. It will also lend your suspension a hand when dealing with all those jerks and jolts on uneven surfaces.

Adjust Tyre Pressure

Beyond upgrading your tyres, you’ll also want to check the pressure and adjust it where necessary. If you plan on taking your off-roader to Port Waikato this summer to tackle some of those sand dunes, let a little air out of the tyres beforehand; it will do wonders for your traction. Setting your tyres to the right pressure can be a lifesaver when dealing with trickier terrain.

Lift Kit

Your car, ute, or SUV won’t stand a chance on rough roads if it sits low to the ground. If you’re into off-road adventures, you know how important it is to have enough space between the ground and the bottom of your vehicle. Otherwise, you might mess up some important components or hit obstacles. That’s where a lift kit comes in handy. It provides extra ground clearance and often comes with heavy-duty suspension and bushings. The suspension that comes with your vehicle from the factory is only good for city and highway driving. A lift kit is a must-have if you’re planning to go off the beaten path.

Upgrade Your Suspension at the Same Time

To ensure your ride is smooth on any terrain, you’ll also need to beef up your suspension with heavy-duty springs and other hardware. Replace those rubber bushings with stronger materials like polyurethane and steel so you don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion, and you can enjoy a lift and better support.

How to make a car off-road ready - A car parked on an off-roading track


While nobody plans on getting stuck while off-roading, it comes with the territory, so you should be prepared! Installing a winch is one of the easiest ways to make your car off-road ready. Winches can prove to be a real lifesaver if you ever find yourself caught in a sticky situation.

A winch comes with chains, cables, or ropes wrapped around a rotating drum, which is powered by a motor to help you pull a significant amount of weight. If you’re quite literally stuck between a rock and a hard place, a winch will help pull you and your vehicle to safety. Not to mention, they come in handy when you see a fellow off-roader stuck somewhere, too.

Light Bar

When you’re having fun in the bush, it’s easy to lose track of time, and if the sun has disappeared on you, you’ll need something to help light up the track ahead. A general rule of thumb is if you can’t see it, you’re likely to hit it, which can be bad news for your car.

To avoid hitting any rogue branches once the sun goes down, equip your car with a light bar. These bad boys are close to stadium quality and will give you all the light you need.


When crossing through water or heavy sand areas, you don’t want water or dust getting into your engine’s air intake. That’s where a snorkel comes in handy, as it prevents such damage and can even improve your vehicle’s performance. Using a snorkel, you can ensure your engine is protected and running smoothly while travelling through challenging terrain.

Make All of New Zealand Your Playground

By knowing how to make your car off-road ready, you’ll be able to get wherever you want to go this summer. From the sandy beaches of Port Waikato to the bush-covered hills of the Kaimai Ranges, there’s plenty to explore across New Zealand if you know how to get there.

Portage Cars has something for every type of adventure this summer, from sturdy off-roaders to sports cars for sale. Explore our range online or visit your local Portage dealership.


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