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Glossary Of Common Off-Road & Overlanding Terms

Glossary Of Common Off-Road & Overlanding Terms

Off-roading is a great way to explore the outdoors and test your driving skills. However, it's important to know the lingo before you hit the trails. With this glossary of off-road terms, you'll be able to communicate with other off-roaders and navigate the terrain like a pro. So put on your seat belt, engage four-wheel drive, and enjoy the ride! Let us know what we're missing!

A

Bronco A-Arm Skid Plate

A-Arm

Your A-Arm is a triangular-shaped part of the suspension system in your vehicle. They are connected to your frame at one point and attached to the spindle. Also called the Control Arm. Provides a strong connection between the wheel and the suspension system. An A-Arm Skid Plate protects the control arm when driving off-road.

ABS

Stands for Antilock Braking System. 

Add-a-Leaf 

An add-a-leaf is a piece of metal that can be added to your leaf springs to increase the spring rate. This will give you additional clearance and allow you to carry more weight.

After-Cat System

An after-cat system is a type of exhaust system that goes on your vehicle after the catalytic converter.

Air Dam 

A piece of plastic or metal that is attached to the front of your vehicle. Its purpose is to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag.

Air Compressor

A device used to pump air into tires, occasionally powered by the engine via a belt, but usually wired into a primary or secondary battery. Used to inflate or deflate tires before or after a trail run.

Airing down the tires for the trail

Air Down

Verb, lower the air pressure in your tires. You might be told to air-down to increase traction and help smooth out the ride over rough terrain. More experienced off-roaders may suggest you air-down before trying to a new location. Also done to reduce wear and tear on your suspension system. Air Down Tires means the same thing. 

Air/Fuel Mixture

The ratio of air to gasoline in your fuel system. 

Amp Draw

The amount of current (in amps) that a device is using at any given moment.

Analog

References gauges and displays utilizing a needle or pointer to indicate a reading, as opposed to a digital gauge which uses numbers.

Anticipation

The ability to see what is coming up on the trail ahead, and prepare for it accordingly. This term is often used in relation to hill climbs and descents. 

Anti-Squat 

The geometry of a suspension system that resists squatting under acceleration.

Anodize

A process of increasing the thickness of the natural oxide layer on metal parts. This is done for corrosion resistance and increased durability. 

Anti-Sway Bar

A device that is used to reduce body roll in a vehicle. Also called a sway bar or stabilizer bar.

Approach Angle

This is the steepest angle your vehicle can climb without making contact with the ground. Knowing your vehicle's approach angle is critical for off-roading because it tells you where your vehicle can safely go, as well as helps you determine if you can try an incline or if you're likely to get stuck. 

Modifying your approach angle for off-roading purposes is common. 

If you exceed your approach angle you will damage the front end of the vehicle.

ArticulationArticulation

Also called ‘Flex’ and ‘wheel travel’ this is the vertical movement in the axel and wheel of your off-roading vehicle. Greater articulation translates to better rock climbing capacity. 

Articulation is a combination of the suspension’s compression and droop on a single axel while keeping the body of the vehicle level or mostly level. 

Aspiration

The way in which air enters the engine. 

AWD

All Wheel Drive. A type of drivetrain that powers all four wheels of your vehicle.

Axle

The shaft that connects a wheel to the vehicle. There are several types of axles, including live, semi-floating, and full-floating.

Axle Hop

A condition that can occur during hard acceleration when one or more wheels loses traction, causing the axle to hop or skip. This can cause damage to the axle and suspension. 

Axle Housing

The housing that contains the axle shafts, gears, and bearings. 

Axle Truss

A reinforcement added to an axle to increase its strength.

Axle Wrap

A condition that can occur when the axle shafts become wrapped around the springs, causing the axle to bind. This can damage the springs and suspension.

B

Back-Pressure

The force that is exerted on the exhaust system by the engine.

Back-Spacing

The distance from the back of the wheel to the mounting surface.

Baffle

A device used to control the flow of air inside the muffler to reduce noise.

Balance Tube

A tube used to connect the two halves of an exhaust system.

Ball Joint 

A ball joint is a pivot point between the suspension and the wheel assembly. They allow for up and down movement of the suspension as well as side to side movement (known as camber). Ball joints can be press

Basket Case

A vehicle that is in need of major repairs.

BDC

Stands for Bottom Dead Center. BCD refers to the lowest point a piston will travel within the engine cylinder. 

Beadlock Wheels

Bead Lock

A two-piece tire attachment system that directly clamps the tire to the rim. It prevents a tire from coming off the wheel when it's at low pressure. Helps with airing down your tires for a better off-roading experience. Some states don't allow Beadlock wheels on the streets, so there are Simulated Beadlock Wheels for those instances.

Beater

In off-roading, a beater is a vehicle that's mechanically sound and runs well, but that doesn't look great on the outside. A vehicle that isn’t working or that needs significant work shouldn’t be referred to as a Beater in off-roading. 

Bedliner

A thick coating that is applied to the bed of a truck to protect it from scratches, dents, and corrosion.

Beefed-Up

Any off-roading 4x4 that has been modified to be stronger than a stock version of the same vehicle. 

Bezel

A bezel is the metal or plastic trim that surrounds things like headlights, LED lights, gauges, and shifters.

Bikini Top

A soft top that only covers the front and rear seats, leaving the roll bar exposed.

Blip

A blip is a short burst of throttle. It can be used to match engine speed when shifting gears, or to clean out the carburetor.

Blower

A blower is a type of supercharger that is driven by the engine's crankshaft.

Blow The Doors Off

Can be used as a term of celebration or congratulations when you beat a competitor in an off-roading contest or race. 

Body Lift

A body lift is an modification that involves raising the body of the vehicle off of the frame. This gives more clearance for larger tires and helps to prevent body damage.

Body Roll

If a vehicle has a significant body roll that means it tilts more to the side while turning or cornering. Low body roll is typically better than high body roll. 

Bog

Bogging is when the engine is overwhelmed and can't produce enough power to turn the wheels. This can be caused by a number of things, including a clogged air filter, water in the fuel, or a carburetor that needs to be cleaned. 

Bogger

A tire that is designed for mud bogging. A bogger has a large tread pattern with big lugs that help to digging in and traction in mud.

Bolt-On

A bolt-on is a modification that can be installed without welding or making permanent changes to the vehicle. Most of our bumpers are bolt-on, but a few require modification to your vehicle.

Bondo

Bondo is a two-part epoxy that is used to fill in dents and holes. It can be sanded and painted once it dries.

Boneyard

A boneyard is a junkyard where off-road vehicles are brought to be dismantled and sold for parts.

Boost

Boost is the amount of pressure that is being added to the engine by the turbocharger or supercharger.

Bottom End

The bottom end of an engine is the part that includes the crankshaft, connecting rods, and pistons.

Bottom-Out

When the suspension reaches the end of its travel and can go no further. This can happen if you hit a large bump or hole in the road.

Bolt Pattern

The pattern of bolts used to attach the wheel to the vehicle. Different vehicles have different lug patterns as well as the number of bolts.

Boxed Frame

A boxed frame is a type of frame that has been reinforced with steel plates. This makes the frame stronger and less likely to bend or flex.

Brake Fade

When the brakes are used excessively, they can start to fade. This means that they become less effective and may not stop the vehicle as quickly.

Breakover Angle

Can also be called ramp break-over angle. This is the maximum slop degree your vehicle can go over with at least one front wheel and one rear wheel touching without becoming high centered and getting stuck. 

Bucket Seats

A type of seat that has a separate seat and backrest.

Bumper Bull Bar

Bull Bar

A bull bar is a type of bumper that has been reinforced with steel bars. It is designed to protect the vehicle from damage in case of an accident on or off-road. Our MTO Series bumpers have optional bolt-on bull bars that mount an inline LED light bar.

Bumper Bar

A bumper bar is a horizontal bar that is mounted to the front or rear of a vehicle. It is designed to protect the body of the vehicle from damage in case of an accident.

Bush Camping

An overlanding term for camping in a remote area where there are no facilities or amenities. This can include camping in the bush, desert, mountains, etc. Also known as primitive camping or free camping. Some states/countries allow this, but others do not. So stay hidden and pack your trash out with you!

Bushing

A bushing is a type of bearing that is made from metal, plastic, or rubber. They are used to reduce friction and wear between two moving parts.

Bypass Valve

A bypass valve is a type of valve that allows air to bypass the turbocharger or supercharger. This can help to reduce turbo lag.

Bump Steer

Bump steer is when the steering wheel is turned by bumps in the road. This can be caused by a number of things, including worn suspension parts or incorrect wheel alignment.

Bump Stop

A bump stop is a cushion that is installed at the end of the suspension travel. It helps to prevent damage to the suspension components by absorbing impact.

Butt Scratcher

An obstacle on the trail that contacts a vehicles rear end when passing over it.

C

Cadence Braking

A braking technique that helps the driver maintain control in slippery conditions or when brake locking is a significant risk. Only used with ABS brakes. Rapid repeated pressure on the brake pedal applies pressure without letting brake pressure drop off or lock. 

Cam

A cam is a rotating disk that is used to open and close the valves in an engine.

Camber

Camber is the angle of the wheels in relation to the ground. If the top of the wheel is farther out than the bottom, then it has negative camber. If the bottom of the wheel is farther out, then it has positive camber.

Cam Duration

The length of time that the valves are open in an engine.

Cam Lift

The amount that the valves are opened in an engine.

Canned Ham

A small, lightweight trailer that is easy to tow.

Capstan Winch

A type of winch that uses a rotating drum to wind the rope or cable.

Caster

Caster is the angle of the steering axis in relation to the ground. If the steering axis is tilted forward, then it has positive caster.

CB Radio

A CB radio is a type of two-way radio that is used for communication between vehicles.

Center Diff Lock

A center diff lock is a type of diff lock that is used to lock the differential in the center of the vehicle. This can be useful when driving in slippery conditions or when one wheel is on a different surface than the other.

Center Disconnect

A type of drivetrain that allows the front and rear wheels to be disconnected from each other. This can be useful when driving in slippery conditions or when one wheel is on a different surface than the other.

Center Of Gravity

Your vehicle’s center of gravity is the theoretical location where your vehicle is perfectly balanced left to right as well as front to rear. While there may not be a true center of gravity (CoG), this is a measure of how easily your vehicle can roll over. A low center of gravity (closer to the ground) reduces rollover risk, while high CoG increases your rollover risk. 

Chicken Handle

Interior handle passengers can grab on rough terrain or difficult courses. 

Coilover

A type of high performance suspension that uses coils instead of springs.

Coil Spring

A type of spring that is made from a coil of metal as an integral part of a performance suspension system.

Competition License

A type of license that is required to compete in motorsports events.

Compression Ratio

The volume of your engine cylinders with the piston at BDC vs the volume of the cylinder at TDC. Larger differences produce a larger compression ratio. Larger compression ratios usually mean more power, but there is a limit. 

Overly high compression ratios can increase the risk of detonation and reduce fuel efficiency. 

Contact Patch

The area of the tire that is in contact with the ground.

Control Arm

A suspension component that is used to control the up and down movement of the wheels. Most vehicles have upper and lower control arms.

Coordinated Tow Braking

A type of braking system that is used to brake both the tow vehicle and the trailer at the same time.

Cornbinder

A nickname for a vehicle that is made by International.

Crawl Ratio

The final drive ratio multiplied by the transmission gear ratios. This number is used to determine how easy it is for a vehicle to crawl over obstacles. A higher crawl ratio means that the vehicle can crawl over obstacles more easily.

Crossmember

A frame member that runs across the width of the vehicle, usually between the frame rails.

Crawler Gear

A type of gear that is used for low-speed, high-torque applications.

Creep

A type of engine noise that is caused by the valves not closing properly.

Crossover Steering

A type of steering that uses a crossover tube to connect the steering wheel to the front wheels.

CV Joint

A type of joint that is used in a drivetrain to transfer power from the engine to the wheels.

CVT Transmission

A type of transmission that uses a belt or chain to transfer power from the engine to the wheels.

Curb Weight

The total weight of a vehicle when the fuel tank is full, engine fluids are at the proper level, but without passengers or cargo. 

Cylinder Head

The top of the engine cylinders that covers both the cylinder and piston. 

D

D-Ring

A type of ring that is used to attach a tow strap or winch line to a vehicle. Nearly all of our bumpers feature a mounting point for D-Ring shackles.

The Darian Gap

A region of South America between Panama and Columbia that is impassable by vehicles. Overlanders trying to to run the Transamerican trail from the Arctic north of Alaska to the tip of Chile have to ship or fly their vehicle around this area to continue their journey.

Deck

Part of the engine, where both the head gasket and cylinder are located. 

Departure Angle

The opposite of the approach angle. The departure angle is the maximum angle terrain obstacles can reach while you’re exiting the obstacle or driving down a hill. If the departure angle is too high, the obstacle or hill will scrape the bumper or other lowest part on the rear of the vehicle. 

In extreme cases, a departure angle that’s too high can lift the vehicle. 

Differential

A type of gearbox that is used to transfer power from the engine to the wheels. The differential allows the wheels to rotate at different speeds, which is necessary when turning corners.

Differential Lock

A device that locks the differential, forcing both wheels to turn at the same speed. This is useful in off-road situations where one wheel might be spinning while the other is not.

Disc Brakes

A type of brake that uses a disc to stop the wheels from turning. 

Directional Tire

A type of tire that is designed to rotate in one direction only to provide excellent off-road traction.

Displacement

The total volume of all the cylinders in an engine. Engine displacement is usually measured in liters or cubic inches. 

Double Line Winch

A type of winch that uses two lines, one to pull and one to take up the slack. This allows for a faster line speed and less chance of the line getting tangled.

Downshift

To shift from a higher gear to a lower gear. Downshifting is necessary when descending hills or when more power is needed, such as when towing a trailer.

Drivetrain

The components that transfer power from the engine to the wheels. The drivetrain includes the transmission, driveshaft, and differential.

Drag Link

A suspension component that is used to connect the steering wheel to the front wheels.

Drive Type

Refers to which wheels receive power from the engine, such as FWD, RWD, 2WD, 4WD, and AWD.

Droop

The amount of suspension travel when the vehicle is not under load.

Drum Brakes

A type of brake that uses a drum to stop the wheels from turning.

Drum Winch Line Storage Capacity

The maximum length of line that a drum winch can store.

Duty Cycle

The amount of time that a winch can be used continuously before it needs to be turned off to cool down.

Dyno

A device that is used to measure an engine’s power output.

E

EAS 

Stands for Electronic Air Suspension. This style of suspension system lowers road noise while improving ride and handling performance. 

ECU

Stands for Electronic Control Unit also referred to as the vehicle's computer. 

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

A type of stability control that uses sensors to detect when a vehicle is starting to lose traction. ESC can apply the brakes to individual wheels and reduce engine power to help the driver regain control.

ETC

Stands for Electronic Traction Control, available on some ABS-enabled vehicles, and tracks and manages wheel spin for additional traction in icy, snow, and other slippery conditions. 

EFI

Stands for Electronic Fuel Injection, a system that injects fuel into the engine electronically.

EGR

Stands for Exhaust Gas Recirculation.  EGR is a system that recirculates some of the exhaust gases back into the engine to help reduce emissions.

Exhaust Back-Pressure

The pressure in the exhaust system that is caused by the engine’s pistons pushing against the exhaust gases.

Exhaust Headers

A type of exhaust system that uses a series of tubes to direct exhaust gases from the cylinders to the muffler.

Exhaust Manifold

A type of exhaust system that uses a single pipe to collect exhaust gases from the cylinders and direct them to the muffler.

Emissions

The pollutants that are released into the air by an engine.

E85

A type of fuel that is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

F

Fairlead

A device that is used to guide the winch line onto the drum.

Fan Clutch

A type of clutch that engages the fan when the engine is hot to help cool it down.

Fender Flares

An accessory that is installed on the fenders to cover the tires and wheels. Fender flares can improve the look of a vehicle as well as provide protection from mud, rocks, and other debris.

Fill Rate

The amount of time it takes to fill a tire with air.

Final Drive Ratio

The ratio of the driveshaft to the rear axle. A lower ratio is better for low-speed off-roading while a higher ratio is better on the highway. A topic of much discussion with many different views, a book could be written on the topic.

Fixed Back Half

A type of roll cage that is welded to the chassis in the rear.

Fixed Front Half

A type of roll cage that is welded to the chassis in the front.

Flex

The ability of a vehicle to flex its suspension while under load. This is important for off-road vehicles because it allows them to maintain traction over obstacles.

Flat Spot

An area on a tire that has been worn down from excessive braking.

Floater Rear Axle

A type of rear axle that is not attached to the frame of the vehicle. This allows for more suspension travel.

Four Link Suspension

A suspension system that uses four links (arms) to connect the axle housing to the frame or body. 

FWD

Front Wheel Drive, only the front wheels receive power. FWD is not as capable in off-road situations as other drive types but has better fuel economy. 

G

Gas Shocks

Gas shocks are a type of shock absorber that uses gas to cushion the ride. They are common on off-road vehicles because they provide a smoother ride over rough terrain.

Gearing

Refers to the ratio of the driveshaft to the rear axle. A lower ratio is better for low-speed off-roading while a higher ratio is better on the highway. 

G-Force

Measurement of forces created during acceleration, deceleration, and direction changes. G is a unit of gravity. 1.5G is 1 and a half times the normal force of gravity. 

Granny Gear

The lowest gear in a manual transmission. Granny gear is used for low-speed, off-road crawling.

Gravel Guard

A type of Mud Flap that is made of a material that does not absorb water.

Grille Guard

Most off-road grille guards are made from heavy-duty steel, and they typically feature a powder-coated finish to resist corrosion. With an off-road grille guard in place, you can tackle even the most challenging trails with confidence.

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)

The maximum weight of a vehicle and its trailer when fully loaded.

Ground Effect

Ground effect is what happens when you add an air dam or side skirts to your vehicle. Reduced pressure under the vehicle provides better traction and creates a downward force on the vehicle. However, it can reduce ground clearance. 

Ground Clearance

Ground clearance is an important consideration for off-road vehicles. A higher clearance allows the vehicle to drive over obstacles that would otherwise cause damage.

Gumbo Mud

A type of mud that is very thick and sticky. It can be difficult to drive through and can cause vehicles to become stuck.

H

Hammered

A term used to describe a vehicle that has been damaged while off-roading.

Hardtop

A type of vehicle body that is not convertible. Hardtops are typically more aerodynamic than other types of vehicle bodies and offer better protection from the elements.

Handle

Your CB nickname. 

High-Centered

Getting stuck on an obstacle when the midsection of your vehicle is lodged on something and your wheels don't have sufficient grip to allow the vehicle to break away. 

I

Ignition

The system that produces the spark that starts the engine.

Incline

A slope or hill. In off-roading, inclines can be challenging because of the angle and potential for the vehicle to roll over.

Independent Front Suspension

A type of suspension that allows two tires on a single axle to move independently. This provides a smoother ride and better handling.

J

Jeep Wave

A tradition among Jeep drivers in which they wave to other Jeep drivers as a sign of camaraderie.

JK

The Jeep Wrangler JK was produced from 2007-2018.

JL

The Jeep Wrangler JL was introduced in 2018 and is the current model.

JT

The Jeep Gladiator JT is a pickup truck that was introduced in 2019.

Jounce

The upward movement of a suspension when it hits a bump.

Juicebox

A slang term for a vehicle that is equipped with a winch.

K

Kicker Shocks

An extra shock absorber that is added to the rear suspension to improve handling.

L

Ladder Bars

A type of suspension that uses bars to connect the axle to the frame.

LED

Light Emitting Diode, a type of light bulb that is more efficient than traditional bulbs. Nearly all off-road lights utilize LED technology.

Leveling Kit

A kit that provides all necessary hardware to lift the front of your vehicle, usually a truck, to match the stock height of the back of the vehicle. Typically can provide no more than 2 inches of lift. 

Lift Kit

A lift kit will give your vehicle additional clearance, making it easier to navigate over obstacles. It will also provide a more comfortable ride, as you won't have to worry about bumping into rocks and branches. In addition, a lift kit can help to improve your vehicle's handling and stability, giving you more confidence when driving on rough terrain. Whether you're an experienced off-roader or just getting started, a lift kit can help you take your off-roading adventures to the next level.

Limited-Slip Differential

A type of differential that allows both wheels to rotate at different speeds. This is helpful when one wheel is on a slippery surface, as it prevents the wheel from spinning.

Line or Trail Line

In off-roading, the line is the path that you take through an obstacle. It is important to choose a line that will not damage your vehicle or cause it to become stuck.

Locker

A type of differential that locks both wheels together, forcing them to rotate at the same speed. This is helpful when one wheel is on a slippery surface, as it prevents the wheel from spinning.

Low Gears

Gears that are used when driving at slow speeds. Low gears allow the engine to run at a lower RPM, which can help to prevent damage when driving over rough terrain.

M

MAS

Stands for Mass Airflow Sensor, an important sensor that measures the amount of airflow in the intake manifold. Critical for your vehicle’s electronic fuel injection system. 

Modular Wheel

A type of wheel that consists of multiple parts that can be disassembled for easy storage.

Multilink Solid Axle

A type of suspension that uses a solid axle and multiple links to connect the axle to the frame.

N

Nail It

To floor the accelerator pedal.

Nitrous Oxide or NOS

A gas that can be used to increase power in an engine. Nitrous oxide is typically used in racing applications.

O

OEM

Stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, meaning the parts were made by the same company that made the vehicle.

Off-Camber

A term used to describe a turn that is not perpendicular to the direction of travel. This can be challenging for vehicles, as the wheels may lose contact with the ground.

Off-Road Bumper

Off-Road Bumper

There are many different types of off-road bumpers available on the market, and each offers its own unique benefits. Center mount, stubby, full width, tubular, ranch style, and low profile are some of the common styles. One popular type of bumper includes a bull bar, which is designed to protect the front of the vehicle from damage. Bull bars typically feature a heavy-duty steel construction and can be fitted with a variety of accessory options, such as light bars and winches. Whichever type of bumper you choose, make sure that it is compatible with your vehicle and that it offers the level of protection you require.

OHV

Stands for Off Highway Vehicle, such as a side-by-side or UTV, or ATV.

On-Camber

A turn that is perpendicular to the direction of travel. This is easier for vehicles, as the wheels will have more contact with the ground.

Open Differential

A type of differential that allows both wheels to rotate at different speeds. This is helpful when one wheel is on a slippery surface, as it prevents the wheel from spinning.

Overland Camping

Overlanding

Overlanding is a type of long-distance off-road travel that originated in Australia. It typically involves driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle, equipped with camping gear, over rough terrain. Overlanding can be undertaken for any length of time, from a weekend getaway to months-long expeditions. The appeal of overlanding lies in its ability to take you to places that are inaccessible by any other means of transport. It is the ultimate way to explore the world's wild places.

While overlanding can be done solo, it is often undertaken as part of a group. This allows for greater flexibility in route planning and helps to share the workload. It also provides a built-in support network in case of breakdowns or emergencies. Whatever form it takes, overlanding is an adventure that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Oversteer

When the rear of a vehicle starts to lose traction, causing the vehicle to spin.

P

Panhard Bar or Track Bar

A bar that is used to keep the axle located in the center of the vehicle.

Parallel Link Suspension

A type of suspension that uses bars to connect the axle to the frame.

Passenger Side Drop or PSD

An axle configuration in which the passenger side axle is lower than the driver side axle. This can help to improve traction and stability when driving on rough terrain.

Peg Leg

A term used to describe a vehicle that is missing a wheel or has a flat tire.

Pinion Gear

The gear located at the end of the driveshaft that meshes with the ring gear.

Plow

Slang for understeering.

Posi-Lok

A type of differential that locks both wheels together, forcing them to rotate at the same speed. This is helpful when one wheel is on a slippery surface, as it prevents the wheel from spinning.

Power Braking

Applying the brakes while simultaneously accelerating. This can be used to help a vehicle slow down on slippery surfaces.

Positive Offset

An offset where the wheel is pushed outwards from the center of the vehicle. This can improve handling and stability.

Prerunner

A type of vehicle that is designed for off-road use. Prerunners typically have a higher ground clearance and a longer wheelbase than other vehicles.

Pumpkin

Another term for the differential.

Push Bar

A type of bumper that is designed to protect the front of the vehicle from damage. Push bars typically are used to push other stuck vehicles free.

Q

Quadratic Equation

An equation that is used to calculate the force of a tire on the ground. The quadratic equation is important for off-road driving, as it can help determine how much traction a tire has.

Quad (ATV)

An all-terrain vehicle that has four wheels. Also can stand for a 4-barreled carburetor.

Quarter Panel

The panel located on the side of a vehicle, behind the door.

R

Ramp Breakover Angle

The angle at which a vehicle can drive over a ramp without bottoming out.

Ramp Travel Index (RTI)

A measure of a vehicle's ability to drive over a ramp. The higher the RTI, the better the vehicle will perform.

Rear Sway Bar

A bar that is used to keep the rear of the vehicle from swinging side to side.

Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)

A type of vehicle that has the engine located in the rear. Rear wheel drive is typically used in sports cars, as it offers better handling.

Redline

The highest RPM that an engine can reach before it is damaged.

Ring and Pinion

The gears located in the differential. The ring gear is meshed with the pinion gear, which turns the driveshaft.

Rock Crawling Wrangler

Rock Crawling

A type of off-roading that involves driving over rocky terrain. Rock crawling can be difficult, as the rocks can damage your vehicle. Crawling is about overcoming tough obstacles and seeing what you and your rig can handle.

Rock Sliders

These are rails that are installed along the sides of a vehicle to both protect the body edges as well as offer pivot points when rock crawling. Popular amongst Jeep and Bronco owners.

Rocker Bars

Bars that are used to connect the axle to the frame.

Rocker Panel

The panel located on the side of a vehicle, below the door.

Roll Cage

A cage that is installed in a vehicle to help protect the occupants in the event of a rollover.

Rolling Start

A type of start where the vehicle is already moving before the engine is started. This can be used to help a vehicle get moving on a slippery surface.

RTW

Overlanding term for 'Around The World'.

S

Sand Ladders

Ladders that are placed in the sand to help a vehicle climb out.

Sand Traction Aid

A device that is used to help a vehicle drive on sand. Sand traction aids can be either manual or automatic.

Scale

A measure of how well a vehicle can drive up and over an obstacle. The higher the scale, the better the vehicle will perform.

Shackle

A device that is used to connect the axle to the frame.

Shift Kit

A kit that is used to improve the shifting of a vehicle. Shift kits can be either manual or automatic.

Shiny Side Down

A term used to describe a vehicle that has flipped over.

Skid Plate

A plate that is installed on a vehicle to protect the underside from damage. Often made from aluminum or steel, they can be install below a front bumper, beneath the shocks, under the differentials, and even at the rear of the vehicle.

Sliders

This is another name for Rock Sliders.

Snatch Block

A block that is used to redirect a winch line. Snatch blocks can be used to change the direction of the pull, or to increase the pulling power of the winch.

Solid Axle Suspension

A type of suspension that uses a solid axle. This is opposed to an independent suspension, which uses separate axles for each wheel. Solid axle suspensions are often used in off-road vehicles, as they offer better stability and durability.

Spool Out

To unwind the winch line from the spool.

Spooling

The process of winding the winch line onto the spool.

Spotter

A person who stands outside of the vehicle to guide the driver when reversing or driving in tight spaces.

Stinger Bar

Stinger bars are a type of front-mounted add-on that's built as an extension of a grille guard or an off-road bumper extender. Stinger bars have a steep rake and are angled upward to prevent your car from flipping over its wheels and landing on the front end if it begins to roll down a steep decline. In addition, using stinger bars allows you to slide out of a hole without burying your vehicle's front end.

Suspension Travel

The amount that the suspension can move. This is often limited by the shocks, as they can only compress so far.

Sway Bar

The purpose of a sway bar is to provide resistance to the inside tire while at the same time compressing the opposite side to lessen body roll. Swivel joints are not only for aesthetics; they help your vehicle's suspension manage body roll by connecting the movement of what would otherwise be two separate wheel assemblies. The sway bar link is usually made out of metal, and it connects the sway bar to the other suspension component, which is often the control arm. As one side of a car rolls as it corners, one side of the suspension compresses more than the other.

Sway Bar Disconnect

When driving off-road, there are a number of obstacles that can impede your progress. Rocks, logs, and other debris can all cause your vehicle to become stuck. One way to overcome these obstacles is to use a sway bar disconnect. This device allows you to disconnect your vehicle's sway bar, giving you more clearance and flexibility when tackling rough terrain. In addition, a sway bar disconnect can help to improve your traction by redistributing weight more evenly across your tires. As a result, it is an essential tool for any serious off-roader.

T

Tachometer

An instrument that measures the speed of the engine.

Taco

Slang for Toyota Tacoma.

Taco'd

A term used to describe a vehicle that has been damaged, particularly when the body, frame, or axle is bent.

Tail Gunner

The vehicle at the end of the line on a trail ride.

Throttle Body Injection (TBI)

A type of fuel injection that uses a throttle body. TBI systems are typically found on older vehicles.

Thermal Wrap

A material that is used to wrap exhaust pipes. This helps to reduce underhood temperatures.

Three-Link Suspension

A type of suspension that uses three links to connect the axle to the frame. Three-link suspensions are often used in off-road vehicles, as they offer better stability and durability.

Tie Rod

A rod that is used to connect the steering wheel to the wheels. Tie rods can be either inner or outer.

Tire Carrier

A device that is used to carry a spare tire. Tire carriers can be either mounted on the outside of the vehicle, or they can be located inside. Often they are mounted at the rear of the vehicle, either to the tailgate or the rear bumper.

Traction Boards

Traction boards are a type of recovery device that is used to provide traction when a vehicle is stuck. They are often made from plastic or metal, and they have a tread pattern that is designed to grip the ground.

Transfer Case

A case that contains the gears that transfer power from the transmission to the driveshaft. The transfer case also has a differential, which allows each wheel to turn at a different speed.

Tree Saver

A strap or rope that is used to secure a vehicle to a tree when winching. Tree savers help prevent damage to both the tree and the vehicle.

Tow Hooks

Hooks that are mounted on the front or rear of a vehicle. Tow hooks can be used to tow a vehicle, or to secure a vehicle when winching.

Traction Aids

Devices that are used to increase traction. Traction aids can be either mechanical or electronic. Common traction aids include diff locks, traction control, and limited slip differentials.

Traction Control

A system that helps to prevent wheels from slipping. Traction control can be either electronic or mechanical.

Trail Jack

A jack that is designed for use on a trail. Trail jacks are often lighter and more compact than traditional jacks.

Trail Rating

A rating that is given to a trail by an organization such as the Jeep Badge of Honor Trail System. Trail ratings range from easy to difficult, and help to indicate the level of difficulty of a particular trail.

Trail Ready

A term used to describe a vehicle that is prepared for off-road use. A trail ready vehicle often has modifications such as a lift kit, larger tires, and recovery gear.

Transamerican/Panamerican Trail

Transamerica or Panamericana is a long-distance overland journey from the Arctic Ocean in Alaska to the South Atlantic Ocean and Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. To achieve this is to truly earn the badge of an overlander.

Transfer Case Skid Plate

A plate that is mounted to the bottom of the transfer case. Transfer case skid plates help to protect the transfer case from damage.

Tree Hugger

A strap or rope that is used to secure a vehicle to a tree when winching. Tree huggers help prevent damage to both the tree and the vehicle.

Two-Track

A term used to describe a road or trail that is only wide enough for two vehicles.

U

U-Bolt

A bolt that is shaped like a U. A U-bolt is often used to attach a leaf spring to an axle.

Understeer

A condition where the front wheels of a vehicle slip before the rear wheels. Understeer can be caused by a number of factors, including incorrect tire pressure, improper weight distribution, or worn tires.

Unladen Weight

The weight of a vehicle without passengers or cargo.

Unsprung Weight

The weight of a vehicle that is not supported by the suspension. Unsprung weight includes the wheels, tires, brakes, and suspension components.

V

Vapor Lock

A condition that can occur when fuel vaporizes in the fuel line. Vapor lock can cause an engine to stall or fail to start.

Vehicle Recovery

The process of retrieving a stuck or disabled vehicle. Vehicle recovery can be done using a variety of methods, including winching, towing, or pushing.

W

Wheel Travel

The distance that a wheel can travel up or down. Wheel travel is limited by the suspension and body of a vehicle.

Wheelbase

The distance between the front and rear wheels of a vehicle.

Wheeling

The act of driving a vehicle on a trail or off-road course.

Winch

A device that is used to pull a vehicle. Winches can be electric or hydraulic, and they are often used in conjunction with a winch line.

Winch Line

A rope or cable that is used in conjunction with a winch. Winch lines are available in a variety of lengths and thicknesses.

Winch Mount

A mount that is used to attach a winch to a vehicle. Winch mounts are available in a variety of styles, and they are often specific to a particular winch.

Winch Rating

The maximum load that a winch can safely pull. Winch ratings are usually expressed in pounds or tons.

Winching

The act of using a winch to pull a vehicle. Winches can be used to retrieve a stuck or disabled vehicle, or to move a heavy object.

Wiring Harness

A collection of wires that are used to connect a vehicle's electrical components. Wiring harnesses are available in a variety of sizes and lengths.

WOT

Wide Open Throttle

X

XJ

The Jeep Cherokee XJ was produced from 1984-2001. The XJ was the first Jeep to use an independent suspension, and it was also the first Jeep to be offered with a diesel engine.

Y

Yaw

The rotation of a vehicle around its vertical axis. Yaw can be caused by a number of factors, including steering input, wind, or uneven terrain.

YJ

The Jeep Wrangler YJ was produced from 1987-1995. The YJ was the first Jeep to be offered with a square headlight design, and it was also the first Jeep to be offered with a four-cylinder engine.

Z

ZJ

The Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ was produced from 1993-1998. The ZJ was the first Jeep to be offered with a V-shaped grille, and it was also the first Jeep to be offered with a six-cylinder engine.

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2WD

Two-Wheel Drive is a vehicle that only has rear 2-wheel drive options. 

4WD

Four Wheel Drive, power normally goes to the rear wheels, but can also be sent to the front wheels by changing settings. 

This list is by no means contains all off-road terms we all use. Let us know what we're missing in the comments so we can add it to this list.

 

 

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