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4WD Essentials, to save you grief on the tracks!

May 14, 2020   |   By Liam Arthur 4WD Essentials, to save you grief on the tracks! - image recove on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

It may come as a surprise to you, but many Aussies hit the bush drastically unprepared for all the possibilities the track might throw at them.

One of the first things people leave at home is a good compressor and tyre gauge, this may seem like a strange thing to pack with you, however correct tyre pressures give you mountains of additional grip for a range of slippery surfaces, uneven terrain and soft surfaces. This critical factor can determine whether or not you have adequate grip when you head offroad.

To determine how much pressure you need to run first you must consult your manufacturers placard recommendations often found near your drivers door hinge or near the sill on the side of the door. From the recommended pressures we can determine just how much pressure you might want to be running when you are heading off road.

Starting from a standard pressure from a full sized 4WD, you will typically find somewhere around 32psi to be the correct pressure for tyres that are up to temperature. The ideal pressure will vary depending on the terrain surface, the type of tyres you have fitted and how heavily loaded you are, with a typical load out on standard all terrain tyres giving you plenty of grip with around a 20% drop for higher speed work on gravel roads, this will sit you somewhere around 25psi which will smooth out the bumps and allow the sidewall to droop offering up more length to the track surface, despite the typical pub knowledge that sidewalls bag out, the side wall does little to grip the track, but rather allows more tread to contact the surface increasing the area and decreasing downwards psi on the track surface.

If you gravitated towards muddier terrain then dropping your tyres down around 30% from the recommended pressures you will find that your vehicle will increase tread contact area significantly, running at 10psi less than the recommended pressures will give your 4WD much better grip and allows the sidewall to flex over tree roots, ruts, rocks, and other debris commonly found on wetter tracks.

One of the more common terrains you might find yourself running on is sand, with Australia having more than 10,000 beaches and countless islands, you can visit a new beach every day for 27 years and still not see them all, not to mention our great sandy deserts and bulldust tracks. sand is a perilous terrain and shouldn’t be taken lightly, when driving on sand it is not uncommon to drop your tyres down to roughly 50% of what the recommended road pressures are, that is because the soft sand requires a much larger tread contact patch to “float” above the surface instead of sinking down into the soft terrain as is often experienced when pressures are too high.

By dropping pressures all the way down to around 16psi your 4WD will have around 200% more contact area on the track decreasing your downforce by many factors, giving you 4x mini tank tracks to drive you through obstacles with ease.  

Once upon a time we used to drop our tyre pressures down using the back of your key, a small flat blade screwdriver or a clean looking stick, to depress the tyre valve core, counting the seconds of deflation in your head to get roughly the same pressures on all 4 corners, but because of the regular necessity of dropping tyre pressures down you can now get a purpose made tool like the KWIKY TYRE DEFLATOR. Using the Kwiky to dump air out of your tyres, you can easily and quickly make short work of getting your tyres to the perfect pressures for the terrain you like to drive, thanks to its clever valve removal tool and integrated pressure gauge you can drop all 4 corners (and your trailer tyres too) in just a couple of minutes.

The next accessory you must bring into the bush is a reliable recovery kit. whilst tyre pressures are important, they won’t save you 100% of the time, all it takes is a bungled line or an unusually soft or deep section of track to sink your 4WD up to the door sills like your very own titanic.



But with the right accessories and a calm state of mind you can easily dig your tyres free, and simply drive out of trouble! The first step to getting your 4WD unstuck is to assess just how deeply you might be stuck and what your best course of action might be.

If you have the right tyre pressures then sometimes the key is simply chucking it into reverse and backing out of the sticky situation, however that doesn’t always work, which if that is the case then a long handled shovel, and an offroad jack will become your two best buds on the track with an offroad jack and jacking base we can lift the 4WD up from a stable base giving plenty of clearance underneath the tyres to fill in the deep ruts you have just created by a little bit too much lead foot. With the tyre popped up simply use your shovel to clear some of the soil, sand or gravel from the side of the track into the trench where your tyres were sitting. NEVER get under a vehicle only supported by a jack, accidents happen, and you don’t want to make your situation worse.


Once your tyre tracks have been filled in with a little bit of elbow grease you can attempt the obstacle again, but with a little more caution or a slightly different line. If this doesn’t work it is time for plan ‘B’.

A trusty winch like the Domin8r X and a full recovery kit, are your ticket to freedom. A winch can assist you by literally pulling you out of trouble when you mess it up for real, a serious winch has the capability of roping out 12000lbs of force and when rigged correctly and safely can even be doubled for fine control on uneven slopes where the full force of a winch is critical to getting you unstuck.

 

A winch rigging setup involves running the winch cable out towards an appropriate, and stable anchor. This could be anything from a nice, deeply rooted tree, all the way to another vehicle. With the stable anchor selected, simply wrap the tree trunk protector bridle strap found in the recovery kit all the way around the girth of the tree as low to the ground as possible, then hook the integrated winch hook through the sewn in eyes to secure your vehicle to the anchor, when fastened drape your high visibility recovery dampener over the metal hook and you are ready to winch.

 

Ensure the winch clutch is engaged and that you have cleared a path for your vehicles diffs and wheels to roll freely, then just jump in the cab, and begin winching, slowly engage “IN” on your winch controller to begin pulling your vehicle free, once you are well clear from the obstacle you can jump out and reverse the setup process packing your recovery gear away in its included bag.

With the right equipment for the job, and the right mindset you can get a lot further offroad than you thought with the best value equipment, without blowing your budget, or taking the chicken track when you don’t need too.

To see the full range of gear to save your bacon on the track, head to www.4WDSupacentre.com.au call our expert team on 1800 88 39 64 or visit one of our showrooms to see the entire range in person and leave with the perfect setup for your 4WD!