Are Diesel Trucks Good For Off-Road?

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Trucks with diesel engines come with a long list of benefits over gas burners. They have a higher towing capacity, they burn less fuel, and they have a longer life expectancy. Unfortunately, all these positive traits come with a price.

They require more parts to operate, the cost of filling up on gallons of diesel is higher than gasoline, and they are all around a more expensive option. Diesel trucks are known for making excellent workhorses as they create more torque, making them more suitable for towing heavy loads.

So they may be workhorses, but what about if you want to go play, specifically off-roading? Are diesel trucks good for off-road? It depends entirely on what kind of terrain you are driving through and how you drive. They have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to leaving the pavement. Some of them will be better equipped with things like all-terrain tires, four-wheel drive, or a life-saving winch installed on the bumper. They can be great off-road vehicles and have proven their worth in countless competitions and videos but aren’t the best fit for everything.

Before you decide to take your truck off the beaten path, there are some factors to look over.

Disadvantages To Diesel Trucks

Diesel trucks are much heavier than their gas-powered counterparts, which makes them much more difficult to pull out of sticky situations.

If they become bogged down and are left only being able to spin tires, it requires a lot more work to tow them back to solid ground.

The added weight of the diesel engine in the front end also makes it so when the front end gets stuck, it gets stuck bad.

They also operate on lower RPMs, which under normal circumstances isn’t optimal for slinging mud or tearing up desert dunes.

Advantages To Diesel Trucks

In most off-road escapades, high speeds are never reached. This makes torque a more important factor than horsepower. Specifically, low-end torque output is valuable as it prevents the engine from being overworked as you’re riding through the trails.

This is typically the amount of power that is produced between two and three thousand RPMs. If you plan on going rock crawling or hill climbing, you would want to invest in diesel for this reason. Yet, if you are looking for speeding around tight curves in the swamps, you would be better of with a regular truck as they operate on the higher RPMs to make it through that terrain.

Most people taking their ride off-roading have installed larger tires with treads designed for the type of terrain they are planning on conquering. Diesel engines are better suited to put off the power to move trucks with these modifications.


Diesel trucks can be a great candidate for off-roading as long as you play to their strengths. They have the torque to make it climb up steep mountains and power through slippery slopes. Taking all the right steps to prepare your truck will make all the difference between having a good or bad day out.

Always make sure you are equipped with the right tires, have performed timely maintenance, and have safety procedures in place to make sure you have the best time possible on the trails.