Ram 1500/2500/3500 Owners & Service Manuals

Ram 1500/2500/3500: Crossing Obstacles (Rocks And Other High Points)

While driving off road, you will encounter many types of terrain. These varying types of terrain bring different types of obstacles. Before proceeding review the path ahead to determine the correct approach and your ability to safely recover the vehicle if something goes wrong.

Keeping a firm grip on the steering wheel, bring the vehicle to a complete stop and then inch the vehicle forward until it makes contact with the object. Apply the throttle lightly while holding a light brake pressure and ease the vehicle up and over the object.

WARNING! Crossing obstacles can cause abrupt steering system loading which could cause you to loose control of your vehicle.

Using A Spotter

There are many times where it is hard to see the obstacle or determine the correct path. Determining the correct path can be extremely difficult when you are confronting many obstacles. In these cases have someone guide you over, through, or around the obstacle. Have the person stand a safe distance in front of you where they can see the obstacle, watch your tires and undercarriage, and guide you through.

Crossing Large Rocks

When approaching large rocks, choose a path which ensures you drive over the largest with your tires. This will lift your undercarriage over the obstacle. The tread of the tire is tougher and thicker than the side wall and is designed to take the abuse. Always look ahead and make every effort to cross the large rocks with your tires.


  • Never attempt to straddle a rock that is large enough to strike your axles or undercarriage.
  • Never attempt to drive over a rock which is large enough to contact the door sills.

Crossing A Ravine, Gully, Ditch, Washout Or Rut

When crossing a ravine, gully, ditch, washout or a large rut, the angled approach is the key to maintaining your vehicle's mobility. Approach these obstacles at a 45- degree angle and let each tire go through the obstacle independently. You need to use caution when crossing large obstacles with steep sides. Do not attempt to cross any large obstacle with steep sides at an angle great enough to put the vehicle at risk of a rollover. If you get caught in a rut, dig a small trench to the right or left at a 45-degree angle ahead of the front tires. Use the removed dirt to fill the rut ahead of the turnout you just created.

You should now be able to drive out following the trench you just created at a 45-degree angle.

WARNING! There is an increased risk of rollover when crossing an obstacle, at any angle, with steep sides.

Crossing Logs

To cross a log, approach it at a slight angle (approximately 10 to 15 degrees). This allows one front tire to be on top of the log while the other just starts to climb the log. While climbing the log, modulate your brake and accelerator to avoid spinning the log out from under your tires. Then ease the vehicle off the log using your brakes.

CAUTION! Do not attempt to cross a log with a greater diameter than the running ground clearance or the vehicle will become high centered.

Getting High Centered

If you get hung up or high centered on an object, get out of the vehicle and try to determine what the vehicle is hung up on, where it is contacting the underbody and what is the best direction to recover the vehicle. Depending on what you are in contact with, jack the vehicle up and place a few rocks under the tires so the weight is off of the high point when you let the vehicle down. You can also try rocking the vehicle or winching the vehicle off the object.

CAUTION! Winching or rocking the vehicle off hard objects increases the risk of underbody damage.


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