Driving modified cars in Iceland

Travelling in Iceland can be one of the greatest experiences you can have. But this beautiful and rugged landscape also contains some difficulties and dangers for the driver, difficulties and dangers that you may not have come across in other countries.

In this video you can see a few examples of what to bear in mind when driving in Iceland so as to avoid these hazards and have an accident-free holiday.
We at Arctic Trucks have a solid reputation of only delivering the best to our customers, wether its our cars or our tours. Since driving in a modified vehicle is significantly different from driving a regelar vehicle we always start our tours with a short introduction about these differences. Driving on 38‘‘ tires is in our opinion a skill that should be learned in cooperation with one of our Arctic Trucks-instructor/guides, therefore we never rent out our cars to customers who have no previous experience in these type of cars.

Is it hard to drive a modified car?

No, it is just like driving a normal car. It is Arctic Trucks aim to keep the driving abilities of the original vehicle, even improve it. In normal conditions you should not feel the difference, but when it gets tough the difference is huge!
In Iceland today, most modified vehicles are used as a normal family car as well as a truck for highland tours. Meeting both good normal driving performance and the super off-road capabilities is a challenge. Arctic Trucks has specialized in offering modification that combine that nicely, based on the preferences of our customers.


Why the big tires?

Larger footprints gives lower ground pressure so you can drive on softer grounds with minimum disturbance, no matter if the ground is snow, dirt, sand or anything else. 
Larger tires give higher ground clearance, making it easier to drive over rough surface, rocks and snow. 
Large tires rolls easier on rough surface, with the tires eating up more of the surface irregularities.  The tires give better ride and less load and forces on the suspension of the car.

In Iceland people have been experimenting with using bigger tires in snow for over 25 years. People used to use snow chains on the tires to increase the traction and to pull you further through the snow. Soon people discovered that by lowering the air pressure to 2-5 psi, large tires could make a normal 4wd vehicle drive on top of a soft snow.


What is Arctic Trucks Modification?

When we modify an SUV to 32“ tires, we usually lift the suspension to achieve the same clearance as before. There is no need for extra fender flares, as the offset of the wheel, fits the original fenders. The AT32 gives your SUV a stronger and more robust look, smoother ride on rough roads and increases minimum ground clearance.

When we modify an SUV to 33” tires, we lift the suspension at least 20 mm. In some cases we would add extra fender flares, but that depends somewhat on the individual SUV or the size of the wheel. If extra fender flares are added to the vehicle, it will increase the visual affect on the car. With the AT33 you will be able to drive your SUV off road, without loosing the good driveability and luxury feeling in normal conditions. You will have increased ground clearance, softer ride in rough terrain and more flotation when driving in snow, soft sand or mud. 

When we modify a SUV to 35” tires, we lift the suspension 40 mm, and in some cases we would lift both the suspension and the body. Extra fender flares are used when modifying to 35” or larger, which gives your SUV a powerful look and separates it from all others. With the AT35 you can take your SUV to almost any mountain road in the world, with out having any trouble. The AT35 will give you much grater ground clearance, better traction, softer ride, higher seating and most of all a feeling of confidence. Also will it give you the possibility to deflate your tires, so that you get a better flotation in snow, sand and mud. The AT35 is ideal for hunters, farmers and park rangers, or just for those who want something different from the rest.


This modification is mainly for utility and rescue vehicles. When modifying to 38” tires, you are far exceeding the normal off road capabilities, with flotation on snow as the core benefit. This modification requires, both lifting of the suspension and the body. Extra wide fender flares are used, 15 x12,5” wheels, 4,88:1 gear ratio, and many other modifications to the various parts of the undercarriage and the body.
With the AT38 your SUV will become a super offroader, with remarkably good driveability on normal roads.
The AT38 is ideal in remote areas, like police and rescue work, construction companies, tourist driving, scientific work and many other difficult tasks.  

This is an extreme modification for extreme conditions. When modifying to 44” tires, we lift the suspension as well as the body. Extra wide fender flares are installed and 15x16” wheels are used. Gear ratio is lowered and often an extra low gear is added to the central gearbox.  This is strictly a utility vehicle for use on glaciers and areas covered with snow. In Iceland, the AT44 is used by professional mountaineers, rescue teams and others, who need to travel in the highlands over the wintertime.  



Why modify a perfectly good car?

Road and weather conditions can vary by countries and seasons, what fits one market or one customer might not be the best combination for another.
Generally larger tires increase off-road capabilities for most conditions, especially in snow. In Iceland people have been experimenting with using bigger tires in snow for over 25 years. People used to use snow chains on the tires to increase the traction and to pull you further through the snow. Soon people discovered that by lowering the air pressure to 2-5 psi, large tires could make a normal 4wd vehicle drive on top of a soft snow.
Early on modifications were mainly focused on off-road capabilities. The customers were mainly off-road enthusiastic individuals, utility companies and farmers. As demand increased from people who wanted to try something new or just liked the look of a bigger car and the possibilities the big car offered, the focus was more and more placed on maintaining drivability under normal conditions and maintaining high reliability. Soon owning a modified vehicle became a lifestyle for many people; the possibility of travelling in the highlands and getting to places very few had ever seen became attractive to many people, even though most of the time the vehicle was used for on-road driving.   Style and image has therefore become one of the key issues when designing modifications.


Do I need a special license to drive a modified car?

No special licences are needed to drive a modified car.


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