Do you want your four-wheel drive truck to perform better off-roading, for either work or pleasure? If so, then you will need to make a few upgrades. The following are three ways you can customize your truck for better off-road performance.

#1: Upgrade Your Tires

The factory tires are optimized for road use, since that is where the manufacturer expects the truck to be driven most. If you spent a lot of time off-road or on dirt roads, new tires should be one of your first investments. The soft sidewalls and moderate tread pattern result in a quieter and smoother ride on pavement, but they don't provide sufficient traction and durability for off-roading. Upgrade to a tire with a thicker tread that is meant to provide more traction in mud and off-road. You also want tires with a thicker sidewall, so you are less likely to have a blow-out.

You may even want to upgrade to a larger or wider tire, depending on the capabilities of your truck and your budget. Wider tires provide more surface area to get traction when driving off-road. Every manufacturer lists the maximum stock size that you can fit onto your truck without making any axle modifications. Purchasing tires, and new custom rims, at the max stock size will also supply you with the optimum traction.

#2: Shock Therapy

The stock shocks on your truck won't work for two reasons—first, they were designed for street use, and second, they were sized to work with the factory tires. When placed under the heavy use required when off-roading, these shocks tend to overheat and fail. Aftermarket shocks have larger pistons and piston rods, which allows them to work better with larger tires under more trying conditions. They are also designed to dissipate heat more effectively, so they aren't as prone to failing when subjected to extreme use. There are even nitrogen-charged shocks available, which are even better as staying cool under heavy use.

#3: Suspension Decisions

Once again, the factory suspension on your truck limits its off-road capabilities. The first problem is a limited amount of ground clearance. It can also limit the acceptable tire and rim size for the truck. While lower ground clearance makes a truck more fuel efficient, it means you are more likely to bottom out and cause major damage to your under-carriage when you are off-roading. The answer is to fit a custom lift kit to your truck. These kits include everything necessary to safely lift your kit, and they even list the max tire size you can use with the kit.