Avoid These 4×4 Newbie’s Mistakes

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There’s a lot of appeal in driving a 4×4. Whether you’ve got a big off-road trip planned, or you just want to drive something a little more rugged, 4x4s can be extremely useful. As great as some of these cars are, there are a lot of common mistakes which new off-roaders can make. Here are some of the most frequent slip-ups. Avoid these, and your 4×4 experience will be so much smoother.

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Image from Wikimedia

First of all, don’t rely on the gas to get you out of a rut. I’ve seen countless newbies get stuck in some dense mud, and then slam on the gas thinking it will get them free. While this works in some situations, overdoing it can just dig your car in further, and make the issue worse. While you’re still getting a feel for the car, go much slower than you would on level tarmac. By keeping your speed down, you’ll improve your overall traction. If your tyres are spinning quickly, then you’re sacrificing traction. Let the tyres work for you by keeping your speed down. On the subject of tyres, you’ll need some which are cut out for extended off-roading. Toyo Tyres are one brand which does excellent tyres for off-roading.

I’m sure you’re raring to get out onto some untamed dirt racks and start speeding over them. If you’re new to the whole experience though, it’s best to take your time. For instance, if you come to a muddy hole you’ve never crossed before, test it before launching yourself straight at it. You can have more fun the next time you go around! Get out of the car, and use a stick or whatever else you can to test it. Pay attention to the depth of the hole, and if the bottom feels hard or soft. You can imagine how deceiving mud holes can be. If the base is too soft, then avoid it completely. When you enter the hole, try to build up some momentum beforehand. If you feel the car getting stuck, then turn the front wheels from left to right. This can help the vehicle get a little more traction.

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Image from Geograph

You don’t want to get your 4×4 stuck on one of your first times using it, obviously. Don’t be too careful though; you should never approach a sheer hill without enough momentum. Try to hit the hill straight on, and maintain traction as much as possible. Keep on the gas, and keep up your forward momentum. The only time you should stop pushing forward is if the hill is extremely muddy, and you feel your vehicle sliding sideways or backwards. If this happens, let the gas off in short, little windows and try to regain some control. If you really can’t mount the hill, let the car slowly roll backwards, and try it again with more momentum.

These tips will help you keep away from newbie mistakes and upsetting damage to your vehicle. Finally; make sure to maintain your 4×4. No matter how tough it is, an off-roading vehicle requires proper attention and care.

Joseph is a dedicated and passionate motoring enthusiast. Usually found behind the wheel of a white Ford Fiesta ST, but dreams of driving a Bugatti Veyron. Connect with Joseph via Twitter.