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Top Performance Upgrades for Your 4x4

Top Performance Upgrades for Your 4x4

9 minute read

Improving 4X4 performance means your off-road truck or SUV is ready to give you a better experience off the asphalt–going over, around, and through bigger, more difficult obstacles. Aftermarket SUV and truck mods help you customize your vehicle to fit your chosen off-road lifestyle. Whether you want a more comfortable ride, to make sure you always have the traction you need, or that your vehicle is ready to go farther and stay out longer, we have 4X4 upgrades from some of the top brands in the business to help you plan, build, and conquer in your ride. Improving your vehicle’s performance will take your passion to a howl new level.

Build A Ride That Takes You Further

When you think about the 4X4 performance truck mods, you need to consider where your vehicle is falling short. Do you need more ground clearance? Are your wheels not staying planted through maneuvers, robbing you of power and control? Does funtime end when the sun goes down? Getting a better-performing vehicle means adding the 4X4 upgrades you need to get the experience you want and have a vehicle that lets you push yourself behind the wheel to improve your skills.

Every off-roader is an individual, with unique experiences, goals, and challenges to face. Their vehicles should be just as one-of-a-kind, each tailored to meet those. We’ll take a look at some of the most popular performance upgrades in off-roading, but it’s up to you to determine what improved 4X4 performance for your next outing will look like. That doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.

Top 4X4 Performance Upgrades

While every build may be unique, there are some key areas most off-roaders focus on early on when they want to upgrade their 4X4 and boost performance. These truck mods come in a range of models and styles to fit the top off-road trucks and SUVs on the market, so there is a path forward for everyone’s off-road experience, no matter what make, model, or outdoor adventure you’re working with.

Shape-Up Your Suspension

You need a suspension that works hard if you want to play hard. Your vehicle’s suspension keeps your wheels down to deliver both control and power, absorbs and dissipates the energy of big bumps and drops to protect your vehicle, cargo, and passengers, and keeps your chassis and axles located and working in unison to keep your vehicle drivable. Your suspension parts are going to take a beating in the process by virtue of being subjected to forces and stresses from different angles and at an intensity that most road cars will never face.

A performance 4X4 suspension system comes with several benefits. It’s made tougher, often with stronger alloys and design elements that are meant to better protect sensitive parts or manage the stresses of cushioning three tons of truck, cargo, and passengers. It can give your wheels an extended droop rate, allowing them further travel to keep in contact with the ground. Better suspensions also give you better support for heavier towing and cargo, matched with energy dampening to keep your ride smoother and more comfortable.

One of the top manufacturers of aftermarket suspensions is ICON Vehicle Dynamics. Along with premium suspension parts that improve 4X4 performance on their own, they offer staged packages of truck mods that group together parts for a single, convenient price. The result is a bolt-on, bumper-to-bumper suspension system upgrade that takes the guesswork out of matching parts. These 4X4 upgrade packages use vehicle-specific valving and unique ICON features, like their patented Delta Joint upper control arms, to give you a better suspension for a higher level of 4X4 performance.

The ICON Toyota Tacoma Stage 1 Suspension System is a great example of a stage that’s meant to give you a ride similar to the familiar stock feel but with stronger components for better off-road performance. You get stronger front coilovers and rear shocks that give your vehicle a lift while improving both support and dampening. In contrast, the ICON Raptor Stage 4 Suspension System not only offers improved coilovers and shocks but adds remote reservoirs, user-adjustable valves, multi-rate leaf springs, upper control arms that allow for a wider range of movement, and a bump stop kit that strengthens and supports the rear end through more aggressive maneuvers. When you enter your vehicle’s make and model information at the top of the page and search for ICON suspensions, we’ll help pre-filter results to show you the 4X4 performance suspension upgrades for your truck.

More Light Means More Action

Your stock lights are designed to meet the legal requirements to operate your vehicle safely on highways and city streets–most of which are already lit to some degree by area lights installed by your local or state transportation departments. Some may even be equipped with upgraded headlights, extra cornering lights, or fog lights. That isn’t always enough when you get off the road, away from civilization, and the sun drops below the horizon.

Aftermarket lighting has become an iconic part of the “off-road look” because drivers who really want to push themselves know that–whether intentional or not–outings don’t always come with business hours. Some off-roaders choose to take their vehicles farther, using them as mobile campsites, while others love to challenge their driving skills after dark. Even the best of scheduling intentions can be thrown off by a flat in the field, leaving you limping home later than you intended. Aftermarket lighting improves 4X4 performance by giving you the right amount of light in the right dispersal patterns to keep challenging the terrain.

Lightbars are a classic aftermarket lighting upgrade. Whether you choose a traditional bar of round lights, like the classic KC HiLites Xross bar with Apollo lights, or a sleek, modern bar, such as the Baja Designs OnX6 Dual Control 40” LED Bar, you’ll get plenty of light for better offroading. Upgrading your fog lights with a three-light design that has customizable patterns is also a great choice. Already available for the Gen. 1 and 2 Ford Raptor with the Gen. 3 model available soon, our own Offroad Alliance Triple Bezel Fog Light Kit gives you a finished look and six lights–two squadron lights and a single S1 pod–all available in the patterns you need to tailor your lighting to your off-road needs. Other lights can help you light the area directly around your truck for crawling rocks or light up a campsite for an all-night party. 

Supplement Your Storage

Whether you work out of your truck, play hard in it, or use it as your home-away-from-home, you need the space to haul your off-roading gear and keep it secured as your vehicle bounces and jounces along the trail. Like the old adage says, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” When you think of 4X4 performance, storage may not top the list of truck mods, but when you need your air-down tool, have to make a quick suspension adjustment, or want to ensure your overlanding kit is packed for transport, organization improves efficiency.

When it comes to organization, you can’t get much better than DECKED. The DECKED Truck Bed Drawer System gives you full-length drawers that you can organize to secure and protect your gear while still allowing the use of the bed for large, oversized items. With the addition of the DECKED Core Trax 1000, you get flexible mounting options for tie-downs and cargo securement. The drawer system is also compatible with bed covers and caps, like the RSI SmartCap EVO Sport and SmartCap EVOa Adventure, which offer their own SmartCap cargo accessories, like gullwing cargo bins and drawers, with customizable features like MOLLE panels for the bins and the roof coming soon.

Rapid Recovery Essentials

Stuck trucks have zero performance. One of the most overlooked aspects of 4X4 performance when you’re miles from the next closest living soul is the ability to get your truck back on the trail and moving when the run goes sideways. Recovery gear isn’t just for the other guy. Adding the 4X4 upgrades to get your truck past difficult obstacles, pull it out of a ditch, or keep it from digging itself down to the diff case are all direct upgrades that improve your truck’s ability to help you off-road fearlessly.

A good winch is worth its weight in gold when your truck can’t pull itself out of an obstacle, and the Warn ZEON 12-S Platinum is top of the line. Featuring a 12,000 lbs weight capacity, fast, efficient motor and gearing, and a handy remote that controls not only the winch but two other accessories, it’s meant to tackle the big jobs. No more fiddling with manual clutch releases through thick gloves while your…fingers are freezing off. Run your line out, find your anchor point, and use the remote to put your winch to work on the big pull.

A good jack isn’t just useful in the garage. It can give you the lift you need to change out big tires in the field or a little extra room to place recovery boards under a dug-in wheel. The Kratos 3-Ton Big Wheel jack gives you a broad footprint for firm planting and an easy lift for even the largest vehicles. Made by Pro Eagle, a leader in off-road jacks, it is designed to stand up to field use, then stows easily away in your drawer system or other convenient cargo securement spot.

The Experts In Your Corner

We started Offroad Alliance to make sure we could get quality parts at fair prices, and that vision has never changed. Our team of experienced off-roaders has been there, done that, and has the dirty hands and busted knuckles to prove they’ve turned a few wrenches in the garage and field themselves. If you need help finding the right parts to help you off-road better, want more information about any parts, or run into a tricky install, they’re happy to talk to you on the phone days, nights, or weekends to get you squared away. Order your 4X4 Performance Upgrades from Offroad Alliance today.

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