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After owning my 2010 Element EX for about a week I decided to take her for a little fun and I am here to post my experience...

The Wife and I were driving around a newly developed neighborhood in a small town out side Raleigh NC. After looking at houses we saw a little trail that looked like it was used by construction workers. I looked at my wife and she smiled and said, "Go ahead" and with a bigger smile I proceeded to head to the mouth of the trail. For the most part the beginning was nice a little gravel and mud but nothing serious and my element did great but I need to push her a little further. We continued down and it soon just became tire tracks and tall grass and that light on the dash let me know that the back wheels were kicking in from time to time. For the most part I was impressed by my element as it was doing pretty well.

Until we started to encounter puddles, they were deceivingly deep and caused my element to bottom out a bit. As my face started to cringe we decided to push a little further to find a spot that would hopefully allow us to turn around and head back but that never happened. The puddles were getting deeper and there were moments where I thought I was stuck. Then finally we were stuck. The elements factory tires filled up with mud and became to slick and couldn't gain traction. I got out in the mud and gave her a few pushes and she was free. Not wanting to seriously damage my first brand new car my wife and I decided to go back. Well there wasn't a place to turn around so I had to do the whole thing in reverse.

We returned back to the mouth of the trail and started to pull out and heard a loud scraping noise. At first I thought it was a piece of brush stuck to the underside of the car but when I got down to look it was a piece of plastic from the rear suspension. My heart dropped, my new car of which i've had for 5 days had its first piece of damage. I didn't have a flash light so I drove incredibly slow to the nearest gas station and every slight bump I heard a scrap that made cringe even more. I pulled in and took look and couldn't pin it up so I could drive home and try to fix it. Finally I tied it with a zip tie and went home. The next morning i woke up early before I went to work and tried to see if I could get a better look at the situation. All and all I was able to snap it back on and move on.

My final words are this...

The element seems like it does great in softer conditions. Such as dry sand (Beach) and would do fine in Snow. My only thing I would change would be to put better tires to get the full potential out of this tough vehicle. Also the Elements ground clearance is a little misleading. There are pipes that run under the vehicle that are vulnerable to ground scraping. Also adding a 3-4 inch lift on the vehicle doesn't seem like such a bad idea. As my adventures continue with my new vehicle so will my 2cents. Anyways attached is a picture of when we pulled into a gas station. I couldn't get a picture of the plastic as it was to dark. Hope you enjoyed reading this and if you have any comments or suggestions I would love to hear them.
 

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You lucked out.

Glad you got out of there, though. But too bad for the damage; that should have been expected.

Traveling on trails with the stock tires is taking a huge risk. Dusty dirt roads is as far off-road I'd take those stock tires. Hitting an unknown trail on stocks? Yikes!

Keep the mud for at least a week... It looks good on it.. ;)
 

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WOW! I thought i was Crazy... brand new! you have brass bearings my friend... brass bearings. Ive done better with BFG AT/KO's in a muddy field... i was whippin cookies, actin like a 20 year old... then i think the 4wd system overheated and i quickly dug into the mud... she was covered head to toe in mud... didnt get a picture... but i might have to do it again... but now that the crops are being planted... doubt ill get the chance =(

Check out the off road section, you will likely see some shenanigans you like =)

Good job though =)
 

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Always traumatic to scuff up a new ride- my sympathies!

I think the thing to remember(and I'm not the first one to point this out I'm sure) is that the stock E is NOT REALLY an off-road vehicle. It's not designed for it at all- witness the complete lack of any kind of under-body protection, except that stupid bar under the gas tank, and as you point out, the ground clearance ain't what it should be for any kind of serious four-wheeling.

At first, I was kind of bummed about this but then I realised that despite my fantasies, I very very seldom NEED to go off-road, and I almost never did so even when I owned a more "serious" 4WD vehicle. Gravel Forest Service roads are about the extent of my "wilderness" travel.

Of course, many folks DO use their Elements in ways never intended, and that's all well and good if you're willing to risk more damage.

IMO you can put better tires and a lift on an Element but that isn't going to make it a true ORV. It is a rugged and versatile vehicle but it is what it is- it isn't an Xterra, Jeep or Land Cruiser....or even an Explorer.
 

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lol daoud... are you stalking me?:-D also, you gonna be at the mod meet coming up in a week or so? its pretty close to your neck of the woods.
 

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lol daoud... are you stalking me?:-D also, you gonna be at the mod meet coming up in a week or so? its pretty close to your neck of the woods.
Ha, ha....no. I'm no stalker. Are you talking about the meet over around Raleigh or somewhere? It's actually a fur piece down the road from here......and, unfortunately due to the kind of work I do, weekends are a busy time for me job-wise....almost impossible to get away.....kind of a bummer- makes it pretty hard to socialize with regular people.
 

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...makes it pretty hard to socialize with regular people...
It's a good thing E owners aren't "regular" people then huh? :-D

:lol:
 

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Its just north of greensboro... but looking at a map again... its actually probably closer to me in greenville =P
 

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Roger that....about three hours for me- if you're in Greenville South Cackilacky it's about the same or a little more I do believe.....like I said though, weekends are kinda out as far as I'm concerned.....
 
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