Tata Aria - Indian Crossover SUV

A Brief Lesson in Off Road Vocabulary


Here are a few terms and slangs you’ll always hear when you go offroading with your buddies. Incase you are the newbie in your group, then this short article is just for you.

4×4 High:  An all-purpose four wheel drive mode that is used in most cases as opposed to a 2 wheel drive. Here all four wheels are engaged and powered by the powertrain. “High” refers to the gear ratio, meaning that the gear ratio is unchanged from the ratio used in 2 wheel drive.

4×4 Low: This four wheel drive mode is where a lower gear ratio is engaged, thus delivering higher torque to the wheels and lowering maximum speed. This mode is useful in slower off road situations, rock crawlings and for getting unstuck when things go south.

Locking Differential: Also known as “diff lock,” this refers to the speed at which the wheels turn. In most standard 4×4 modes, the wheels spin at different speeds to compensate for loose or uneven terrain. When the differential is locked, wheels all move at the same speed. A tool used in advanced off-roading and for getting unstuck.

Approach Angle: The maximum incline angle that a vehicle can climb or descend without any part of the body or suspension making contact with the driving surface. When uncertain of the terrain ahead, get down and take a walk to inspect the terrain. It’s much better than getting stuck in tricky terrain and spending hours getting the vehicle out.

Departure angle: It represents the size or steepness of a slope or obstacle that can be approached or climbed in reverse without striking bodywork.

Wheelbase: Distance from the center of a truck’s front wheel to the center of the rear wheel on the same side of the vehicle.

Wheel Travel: The maximum distance a wheel can move up and down. The greater the travel, the more capable the suspension system and the better on and off road traction.

Rock Massage: What you get when you attempt rock crawling without taking the necessary precautions and being properly qualified.

Wading Depth: Maximum depth at which a particular vehicle can operate in water.

Essentials for Any Off Road Adventure
• Full gas tank
• Tow rope (be sure it is rated heavy enough for your vehicle)
• Spare tire and everything needed to make a change in the field
• Portable air compressor
• Navigational aids
• First aid kit
• Mobile phone

Recommended Extras
• High lift jack
• Vehicle mounted winch
• Shovel
• Spare tanks of water (for radiator) and fuel
• Two way radios for communication between you and your off road buddies
• Fire extinguishers


This article was very useful to me. I am newbie in this group, So I heard about all of these vocabulary through your blog only., Nice work. Keep Posting Same like this.,

Posted by Carazoo :
Sep 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM

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