Off-roading – Dealing with Emergencies

What happens when off-roaders get into difficulty? There are various problems that could occur.

Before you start off:

It is vital to tell someone where you are going and also when you believe you are returning, just for safety’s sake.

To reduce the damage of any off-roading exercise it is best practice to lower the tire pressure before you begin off-roading and get ready with the spare tire or the repair kit if something bad happens.

It’s a good idea to find an official off-road driving course, or “space” to practice.

There are other changes that will improve your vehicle such as changing your front fender and back fender to stronger examples. One thing you may not expect to need is a winch, but this is vital if you get stuck. It’s important that you get a new enough winch that it won’t rust up otherwise it’s no use to you.

Crossing Water

Rivers can prove tricky – is the bottom solid enough or is it a mixture of shallow and deep water? If it’s the latter, then it’s best not to cross.

Beware of traversing water that has strong currents, because even 4x4s aren’t cut out for them. Always move slowly through any water. When you leave the river check that the brakes haven’t been damaged. Most people don’t know that if you traverse through cold water you will need to change the oil.

If you plan to go into deep water, you will need to protect the car’s radiator somehow. This is one of many reasons why it’s dangerous for a novice to do so.

Hi / Low Gearing

The 4×4 HD High gives a day-to-day speed as well as splendid torque or traction. The 4×4 HD Low as you’d expect is low end power but is better if you are traveling long distances.

It is hard to understand what locking differential is – it’s to do with moving the right and left wheels at the same time. A differential allows your wheels to turn at a different rate which makes cornering a lot smoother when your tires are gripping asphalt. By locking the differential in a 4×4 you force the tires to turn at the same speed which can increase traction since a tire will continue to spin even when it’s broken lose from gripping the ground beneath it.

Some incidents with the transmission perhaps through wear and tear may occur, causing you to hear noises when you try to shift gears.

Undercarriage and Tires

People forget that the undercarriage, the area under the car, could get damaged. Bits are liable to leak, and parts could fall off. You may also be faced with a strange rattle that you need to investigate.

After going through various rocks and ditches your wheels may misalign. You should let go of your steering wheel and see if it pulls to one side. Driving over rocks may cause specific damages including scratches to the bodywork. It may be advisable to get stronger tires, it is best to talk to an expert.

In fact they make tires for rock climbing that are very different than tires for mudding. If you know you’ll be mainly doing one or another you should buy the best kind of tire for that use.

Off-Road Courtesy

It is always a good idea, if you see an off roader changing a tire, that you offer to help. Don’t worry, you won’t be running into other off roaders all that often. But it’s good karma all the same, and it’s an accepted courtesy among 4×4 enthusiasts.

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