So you have a 4x4 and plan on competing in a rally or getting to grips with some serious off-roading. Or perhaps you're dreaming of overland adventures with wild camping under the stars?

Whatever your plans, it is important to know your 4x4 and have it set-up properly so that the vehicle is adapted to your requirements and the conditions it will encounter out in the field and therefore reduce the risks of  breakdown or breakage.

Different 4x4s and different set-ups can be intended for very varied uses. From week-end green-laning to overlanding, rally-raid and extreme offroading , etc. It is important to know your 4x4, it's specifications and limits. You will then be ready to choose the right parts and accessories for your set-up.

- If you have a 4x4 and intend to enjoy green-laning, all-terrain tires and firmer suspension are a must.

- If your 4x4 is going to be used for long, overland journeys and perhaps wild camping, you will need: all-terrain tires, suspension lift, camping accessories and navigation equipment.

- For rally-raid or competition use, in addition to a standard off-roadset-up, it may require complete vehicle modification such as reinforced body, roll bar, etc in order to meet safety standards.

- Finally, for extreme offroading, you will be looking at oversized all-terrain tires, so-called "extreme" suspension, hydraulic steering, a winch, roll bar, etc ...

From this, it becomes obvious that a basic 4x4 with stock set-up remains like any other vehicle and may not behave as expected as you push it over its basic limits.

So here are some of the basics you need to know when choosing your 4x4 and set-up so that together they match you plans and requirements.

One of the fundamental notions that determines just what your 4x4 is capable of is described in terms of "angles".

1 - Approach angle

The approach angle, also known as the attack angle, refers to the angle between the point of contact with the ground and the lowest element of bodywork at the front of the 4x4. This is the angle at which an obstacle may be approached before the vehicle will touch it.

2 - Departure angle

The departure angle similarly refers to the angle between the point of contact with the ground and the lowest element of bodywork at the rear of your 4x4. This is the angle at which you can leave an obstacle.

3 - Ramp angle

The ramp angle, also known as the breakover angle, refers to the angle between the 2 points of contact with the ground and the lowest element under the middle of the 4x4. This angle determines the ability to clear an obstacle such as a ridge. 

This is angle is what makes the difference between long-wheelbase (LWB) & short-wheelbase (SWB) designs. The latter have a better ramp angle and therefore a better clearance ability. 


Ground clearance is the height measured between the ground and the lowest element of the vehicle. For a 4x4 with a solid axle design this is more often than not the differential.
This is key value to take into account when heading over rocks or when both wheels run through deep tracks.


These angles as well as the ground clearance can be modified & improved to increase the offroad performance of your 4x4 whether you are on an expedition or competing. As we mentioned above, you can change the the suspension and tyres of your 4x4, for these kind of modifications.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you need any advice to prepare your vehicle.  Our team of experienced technicians are on hand to help you!
Just give us a call (+33 or contact us via the website.


In terms of improving the ability of your 4x4 one of the first steps is usually to install a suspension lift kit. The immediate effect is improved attack, departure and breakthrough angles. 

We supply kits with various lift options that cover a vast range of 4x4 makes and models.  

Examples of our suspension lift kits:

Euro4x4parts suspension kits

Tough Dog suspension kits 

Raptor suspension kits

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All the photos in our articles are taken on authorized roads or tracks, private land, or during supervised competitions. Let's all do our part to preserve the environment!

Please note: Euro4x4parts publishes this information to help its customers, but cannot be held responsible for the advice given here and their consequences when used.