4WD Tips & Tricks/ Off-road driving
If you love to jump in your 4WD and head out for an adventure then here’s some 4WD tips & tricks that might help you ensure it’s fun and exciting. 4WDriving sure is right up there on the popularity scale these days and it’s not just a lone adventure – the family loves it as well. Hazardous? Yes it can be, if your rig isn’t ready you don’t have some basic knowledge around general driving & the conditions you drive in aka mud, water and hills. We get a lot of really keen drivers at Gordon Country both newbies and ultra experienced, so we’ve created this page for you with a collection of tips that might help when you with your off-road driving /heading out into the rough stuff !
GENERAL INFORMATION –
- Always check the ground ahead if you’re unsure including water crossings, mud and sand sections.
- Be vigilant in watching the ground & always look for alternative routes.
- Avoid hand/finger damage by keeping your thumbs to the outside of the steering wheel rim as it’s easy to secure a sprain if the steering column is wrenched.
- Low tyre pressures will avoid getting stuck. As a rough guide, for general trails, about 25-28psi; for sand, about 15psi; and for mud, about 15psi. Remember that low tyre pressures equals low vehicle speed.
- For difficult areas, keep in a low gear and revs about 2000-3000rpm and don’t change gear during the manoeuvre.
- Cross small bumps straight on; bigger bumps at a slight angle; and ditches at a definite angle.
- Straddle ruts especially for uphill sections and be prepared to use rocks/logs to fill in holes and aid traction.
No doubt you’ve seen mudwrestling on TV? Well driving in mud is all this and more! Get it wrong and you’ll be seriously dirty.
- The proper tyres are vital. Open tread pattern with aggressive lugs.
- Approach the mud in 4WD Low second or third gear.
- Speed (momentum) and power (keep engine on torque band) are vital.
- Maintain a steady pace.
- Keep to the high points (if possible)
- Move the steering wheel quickly side to side to make the tyres bite and improve traction.
- If you get stuck, rock the vehicle backwards or forwards by alternating between first and reverse.
WILY WATER CROSSINGS
You should count on getting drenched!
- Firstly get out of the vehicle and check the route – and prepare to get wet right here.
- While most 4WD vehicles handle water depths up to 300mm, some are rated up to 700mm depending on the floor of the water and the current flow. A snorkel for deeper water may be needed.
- Good idea to spray electrical components with a dewatering solution (WD40) before entering the water.
- Loosen the fan belt (unless it has a clutch)
- If traversing water depths over 300mm, remove the fan belt and fit a cover over the radiator. This prevents the fan bending into the radiator and helps create a bow wave.
- Keep your speed low but enough to create a bow wave. Choose 4WD Low second and do not change gears.
- Keep the engine running even if you stop. If the engine does stop, DO NOT restart it, you’ll need to winch or snatch out.
- Remember that wet brakes will have poor stopping ability so after the crossing, drive slowly with brakes applied gently.
- Check the engine. Check the oil dipsticks for water contamination which will look like white colour in the oil.
HUMPTY DUMPTY HILLS
Up or down, patience is the key!
- Choose your 4WD Low second or third gear for uphill and 4WD Low first or second downhill.
- Remember to allow plenty of room for the vehicle in front or behind. Watch the vehicle in front as a guide for the best path.
- Don’t touch the clutch and use the brake sparingly.
- Definitely don’t turn the vehicle sideways.
- If the vehicle does start to slide sideways – very slight acceleration and steering into the slide will normally straighten your descent.
- If you happen to stall going uphill, don’t touch the clutch or accelerator. The best stall technique is to drive the vehicle in low gear, no clutch, no accelerator and no brake – with the starter motor.
- Many new 4WDs have “downhill assist” systems that automatically keep the vehicle at a set speed.
- The last resort to getting up a hill is winching.
We hope you enjoy your adventure driving and invite you to bring your vehicle and any club you might be associated with, to try out our great 4WDriving tracks at Gordon Country! Happy trails….