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01 Ford F150 F250 Dent Side Vintage Old Iron 4x4 Moab

How We’d Spend Your Tax Refund

Put Your Tax Return Cash To Work On Your 4x4

Photos: John Cappa and Courtesy of the Manufacturers

It’s tax time, and fortunately that means tax refunds for many of us. The average tax refund for the 2022 tax year is said to be 3,039 dollars. That’s up 7.5 percent from 2021, which means you’ll have more tax refund money than ever to invest in the performance of your 4×4. No matter if you are prepping for summer adventures or need to beef up your 4×4 for next winter, we can help you spend your money most effectively. Read on to find out the best way to invest in the fortification of your 4×4. 

02 4x4 Kinetic Recovery Rope Air Compressor Tire Deflator

Tax Refund 4×4 First Timers

If you’re a 4×4 enthusiast that’s just starting out, there are a few small things you can add to your 4×4 that will greatly simplify your life. These items won’t break the bank, but you’ll find them incredibly handy when improving the off-road performance and function of your 4×4. Every enthusiast should have a recovery rope. In most situations a kinetic style recovery rope is the best choice. It will stretch to aid in recovery and reduce stress on the vehicles. Make sure the recovery rope works with your recovery points. You may need a soft shackle to make the connection. An air source is an absolute game changer. Lowering the pressure in your tires for off-road use will improve traction, provide a smoother ride and reduce stress on the 4×4 drivetrain and suspension. At the end of the trail your air source can be used to reinflate the tires to street pressure. While you’re shopping, consider adding a tire deflator to the cart. It will help you quickly lower the tire pressure to the desired off-road psi.

03 Warn VR Electric Winch Recovery Jeep Wrangler JK

Tax Refund Recovery

If you and your friends regularly find yourselves stuck in more complicated situations than a recovery rope can rescue, then it might be time to put that tax return to work in the form of an electric recovery winch and winch mount or bumper. There are many winch capacities and mounting styles to choose from that can fit your tax refund budget. Select a winch rated to at least 1.5 times the total weight of your 4×4 for best performance. To make your winch even more useful add a winch accessory bag to your shopping cart. It will help make more advanced recoveries a snap.

04 Ford Bronco Suspension Lift Leveling

Tax Refund Lift and Tires

While most full blown lift kits will set you back more than the average tax return, you can affordably add a suspension leveling kit to your 4×4. The advantage is that a leveling kit will inexpensively allow for tires that are one to three sizes larger than stock. Savvy shoppers should be able find a leveling kit and aggressive off-road worthy tires that come in below your tax refund budget. Those on the tightest budgets can reuse the factory wheels in some cases.

05 Camping Smittybilt Overlander Rooftop Tent Jeep Gladiator JT

Tax Refund Camping

Those that like to camp far off the beaten path can use their tax refund to get themselves up off the ground and into a much more comfortable rooftop tent. Move on up to the big leagues and away from dirt, mud and crawling vermin. As an added bonus, most rooftop tents are faster and easier to set up and put away than a typical ground tent. Some rooftop tents can even store your bedding while traveling.

06 4x4 Jeep LED HID Aftermarket Lights

Tax Refund Lighting

Traveling dark rural roads at night and night wheeling adventures can be made much safer and more fun with the proper lighting. Aftermarket LED and HID lights can reach significantly further through the darkness than the OE headlamps. Look for LED lights with a color temperature between 5500-6500 Kelvin. This is where the human eye sees best and becomes less fatigued over time. For slower speeds look for driving style lights. Faster drivers will want an array of lights that include driving and spot beam lights for even more range. Mounting the lights to the bumper and grille area will cause less glare than putting them up high on the hood or roof of your 4×4.

07 Smittybilt Element Ramps Recovery Traction Pads Snow Mud Sand

Tax Refund Advanced Recovery Gear

As you and 4×4 friends venture further into the unknown, you’ll likely find that the standard recovery gear isn’t enough. If you are tickling these kinds of trips then consider adding traction ramps, a winch anchor, winch line extensions, a tire plug kit and various common hand tools to your vehicle go bag. Traction ramps are great for quick and easy sand, snow and mud recovery. Winch anchors are ideal for areas that don’t have solid winch points such as trees or boulders. Winch extension lines will let you reach out further with your recovery winch when solid winch points can’t be found close by. A tire plug kit can keep a simple puncture from ruining a trip and common hand tools are always needed for trail repairs.

08 G2 Gear Axle Core 44 Selectable Locker Differential Jeep

Tax Refund Traction

Factory open differentials and some traction control systems leave a lot to be desired when trying to navigate a trail off-road. Getting the power to the ground can be optimized through the use of an aftermarket limited slip or locking differential. In most cases you’ll want to put the new traction adding device in the rear axle. Newer 4x4s will need to make use of limited slips or selectable locking differentials to avoid compatibility issues with modern anti-lock braking and traction control systems.