Off Road Wheels

In this day and age, with almost every corner of America connected by highways and most everyone using cars to get around, it is hard to imagine that the United State's interstate system was only initiated in the 1950's by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and that it was only a few decades before that that the majority of Americans lived in exceedingly rural areas, where a paved road was the exception rather than the rule, and that only the wealthiest had the privilege of owning and driving an automobile. No, the roads crisscrossing and interconnecting the United States are a relatively new phenomenon. People dwelling just 60 years ago would be amazed by the interconnectivity of it all. Those people, who often spent their time driving on rutted gravel and dirt roads and repairing the inevitable car malfunctions as a result, would probably also be amazed by another American desire particular to modern times – the intense desire to go off-roading.

People desire off road wheels on their vehicles in order to drive off the road for many reasons. Sportsmen drive on their off road wheels to secluded hunting spots where rumor has it the best game can be found. Nature lovers and hikers drive on off road wheels for much the same reason, except their quest is to observe and enjoy nature rather than stalk and hunt it. Forest service officials and other authorities use off road wheels to do their jobs – preventing forest fires, catching criminals who haunt the backwoods (such as poachers, moonshiners and drug cultivators), and helping protect endangered species. No matter what those people from 60 years ago, who would gape at the idea of willingly driving off the road when a perfectly good road sits nearby, would say, it is clear that Americans have a passion, and sometimes a need, to take off on off road wheels and use their automobiles to get closer to nature.

Most off road wheels are part of four wheel drive systems. Rather than being an all in one solution, there are practically as many types of four wheel drive systems as there are reasons to go off road. Almost every manufacturer of automobiles, ATV's, etc. has developed its own method of powering all four off road wheels. Also, it is important to note the semantics that go along with the term "four wheel drive." For the most part, "four wheel drive" actually refers to a system that powers all four wheels just some of the time. On the other hand, the term "all wheel drive" refers to a system that powers all four off road wheels all of the time.

Four wheel drive (and all wheel drive, of course) systems are designed so that the tires of a vehicle do not slip when that vehicle is driving off road. This is extremely important, and not only because slipping tires can cause nasty accidents. No, abolishing tire slippage is important for another reason, and that reason will require a little background. To put it simply, car engines work by using torque. The better the engine , the higher the torque. But interesting, torque is generated from traction – that is, the tire's relationship with the ground. Therefore, if a tire is not getting any traction, the engine cannot work. In order for an engine to work, tires have to do one very important thing – stick to the ground. Luckily for off road drivers, car companies have tackled that problem for years and have come up with some stellar solutions for when you are off joy riding on your off road wheels.

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