2WD Vehicles: Are they any good off-road?

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Taking your ride off-road is a fun and exciting activity that outdoor enthusiasts from all over participate in. There is an unmatched sense of freedom in leaving the beaten path to adventure out into nature and conquer the elements. Whenever you hear the term “Off-Road” your mind immediately pictures big, lifted trucks with oversized tires and aftermarket parts.

A majority of vehicles taken to the trials are normally equipped with lift kits, winches, and all the tools to be fully prepared for the rough terrain. Some extra items included are extra food and water, tire repair kits, and first aid kits in case the big day out takes a turn for the worse.

What if don’t have all of those things? What if you’re on a budget and don’t have the fancy technical setup and all of the expensive gear?

Could you take your basic two-wheel drive on an off-road excursion? Going off-road in a 2WD is completely fine, and actually norma. If you plan ahead and take reasonable measures, you can go almost anywhere on the trails with the rest of the pack. Four-wheel drive is a luxury and it does make the trip much easier as you know you have a better chance of not getting stuck. Yet, it is not always a necessity and you can still have all the fun with half of the traction.

Advice For Going Off-Road

If you want to take your 2WD out for a run, there are a few things to keep in mind. You want to keep the terrain mild. The odds of you getting stuck are inevitably higher so you want to try to stick to areas that will be reasonably easy to get in and out of. You also may want to invest in a winch.

A good working winch (like this one) can mean the difference between waiting for someone else to tow you to solid ground and being able to do it yourself. It is not advised to go off-roading by yourself, but if you choose to, this could save you from being stranded for hours before help arrives.

You should also take note of the condition of your tires. It is advised to always have tires with a healthy amount of tread left on them. If they are bald you are almost guaranteed to find yourself spinning, but going nowhere fast. These tires right here are some of the most popular and most capable tires off-roaders use.

Do Your Research

You should do some research beforehand and make sure the vehicle you take has enough clearance for the journey.

It would be wise to avoid places with deep ruts and puddles you don’t know the depth of to prevent scraping the ground.

If you have the means, putting a lift kit on your truck could prove to be a good investment. Fronting the money now may prevent you from paying for repairs to your oil pan later on.

Another big thing to keep in mind, is always pay attention to your surroundings. You should never dive into a part of your journey that you aren’t sure of. If you are with people that have 4WD vehicles, maybe ask them to attempt it first.

What are 2WD vehicles also called?

2WD vehicles are actually referred to by quite a few other names, and if you are shopping for a new vehicle, you will want to keep these terms in mind, to make sure you are getting the right vehicle.

  • 2WD – (Two-Wheel Drive)This term refers to any vehicle that only utilizes 2 wheels, regardless of if they are the front, or rear wheels on a vehicle.
  • RWD – (Rear-Wheel Drive) This is a 2WD vehicle that only uses the rear 2 wheels to move forward. This basically is pushing the vehicle, rather than pulling the vehicle like the next option does. This is generally used on trucks, sports cars, luxury cars and some other vehicles.
  • FWD – (Front-Wheel Drive) – FWD is a vehicle where the front 2 wheels pull the vehicle along, instead of pushing like RWD. These are commonly used in crossovers, sedans, and non-sporty vehicles as they generally are less engaging to use. I say generally, because there are some awesome cars out there with FWD like the Celica.
  • Prerunner – If you have ever been shopping for a Tacoma, you likely have been surprised to find 2WD trucks that are referred to as a Prerunner vehicle. These are basically RWD (2WD) vehicles that are meant for off-road. They tend to be less expensive, but also less capable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you go off-roading with RWD?

For most trucks, the term 2WD is synonymous with RWD. Because of this, from what we have found in this article, you can easily go RWD vehicles, as long as you take the appropriate precautions.

Can you turn a 2WD into a 4×4?

It is completely possible to modify a 2WD into a 4WD (4×4). You will be adding quite a few components to the vehicle however, and the cost generally will far outweigh the benefits. You will also likely find that reliability will drop dramatically when you are taking a system like that to something it wasn’t meant to have.

Is a two-wheel drive truck worth it?

2WD trucks, while not quite as capable as a 4WD can be extremely worth it. You can save plenty of money on the front end, and if you don’t live somewhere with snow, and wet roads they can be just as good. 2WD vehicles also save a little bit of weight, making them more efficient.


It is entirely possible to take your 2WD off-roading and have a great time doing it. It is important to have realistic expectations and prepare ahead of time for the type of terrain you’re going to be out on. You may not be able to do everything a 4WD vehicle could, but there is still a lot of fun to be had.

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