With the increase in stylish SUV design, crossover-SUV’s and similar “Soft” off-road adventurers, questions have been asked whether these elegant vehicles can actually tackle the outdoors like they say they can. If you have been following the Surf4Cars reviews in the last few months, you will note that without exception, all the crossover-SUV’s we have reviewed are more than capable of tackling the rough terrain. However, this doesn’t mean that your Soft-SUV doesn’t need some special attention. Far from the days of the rough-riders built to withstand scratches, dents and hardcore environments, the new stylish SUV still needs to maintain it’s beautiful appearance for the days you aren’t Bundu-bashing. Here are some useful tips to keep your crossover in tip-top shape:

Smart Off-roading Skills: So, your car has the ability to traverse the rough terrain, and you are eager to hit the hills and try… but thinking the course through or taking some time briefly to anticipate possible problems may be the difference between a scratched paintjob, a dented fender or a smashed light. Although this should be standard practice in off-road adventures, taking it a step further to anticipate branches that may scratch the flank will be worth your while in the long run.

Posh it Up with Soap and Water: After your off-roading adventure, have your car properly washed and cleaned. Remaining dirt and moisture cause rust and paint-deterioration, and can bog down the engine too. A good wash and dry will help keep your paintwork scratch free too, and adding a good polish and/or wax before your next off-road adventure will also mitigate sun-damage when out and about.

Gearboxes and Diffs: When going off-road with an automatic gearbox, the gearbox may overheat which – when it happens too often – can break down the gearbox fluid and cause it to fail. Regular lubricant and filter checks and changes are imperative to making sure your gearbox stays in good working order. Similarly, the differential takes a beating in really rough terrain, and can often be dented or cracked if it doesn’t have a cover, which causes fluid leaks. Invest in a cover where possible, and check it regularly for cracks or leaks.

Shocks, Brakes and Wear and Tear: Softroaders, as they are often called, need to function in two environments: off-road, and on-road, so to speak. For both scenarios you need working shocks and brakes, but when off-roading, shocks and brakes often wear down quicker. Checking this regularly will ensure your urban travel remains smooth and silky as well, and your safety isn’t compromised. As a general rule, effectively maintaining your vehicle service through your dealer should be a great foundation to keep you covered.

In summary, equip yourself with knowledge about your vehicle and its capabilities. Respect the boundaries which your Soft-SUV has and don’t push it over these limits. That being said – enjoy the duality of you Softroader as it kicks up dust in adventure-mode, and keeps your safe in the urban jungle.


By Desh Bechan