1201or-05+off-road-readers-rides-january-2012+1987-toyota-pickup-2wd-off-roading

On a recent trip, my friend Greg and I figured out something interesting about driving over bumps. If you preload the suspension by briefly applying the brake right before the bump, and then get on the throttle to power over the bump, it really smooths things out and makes the bump less jarring. Motorcyclists will know this move well.

Briefly braking right before the bump compresses the suspension. This is called “preloading.” Then immediately getting on the throttle, as the front tires go over the bump, shifts the weight towards the back of the truck. This lightens the front end and the front suspension rebounds, helping to lift the front tires over the bump. Moving the weight toward the back also preloads the rear suspension. Keeping the throttle on as the rear tires go over the bump keeps the rear suspension taught. This is what you want, as an unloaded rear suspension would otherwise rebound as the rear tires clear the bump causing and uncomfortable bucking motion.

The above picture oversells it a bit. This doesn’t have to be a wheels-in-the-air maneuver. Just shifting the weight a bit is enough to make a difference.

Give it a try the next time you’re out on the trail and encounter a berm or some other relatively smooth obstacle. I bet you’ll notice a difference.