If there’s one thing Australian off-roaders will never get tired of, it’s the endless trails and tracks that challenge us and our vehicles. When we do them right, they reward us with experiences like no other. But what do you do when something goes wrong? If you’re new to off-roading, or you just always seem to run into 4x4 trouble, we’re here to help. Here are the most common 4WD mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. BUYING POOR QUALITY GEAR
One of the most common 4WD mistakes that both rookies and seasoned adventurers make is opting for cheap gear over quality. If you do happen to land in hot water while off-road, the last thing you want is to be left stranded because of a broken bow shackle or a snapped snatch strap. This doesn’t mean that you have to invest in extravagant, gold-plated 4WD items. It does mean that you should do your research and look for quality recovery gear. After all, it’s better to spend a little more for something that’ll last than to skimp on the cost and wind up regretting it. Don’t know where to start? Our heavy-duty CAOS 4x4 recovery range has a huge selection of TESTED TOUGH® products to get you out of almost any off-road predicament.
2. NOT BEING PREPARED
We all know how exciting a weekend on the trail can be – especially if you’ve been cooped up at home for a while, BUT before you rush out to your favourite track with your best mates, remember to pack more than a carton of beer! Don’t forget your first aid kit, basic recovery gear, and 4WD tools. Depending on where you’re going, it might also be handy to bring along extra food and water (just in case). If you plan on off-roading, it’s also essential to carry a GPS unit, satellite phone or HF radio – so you can get help should you get lost, stranded, or break down. Remember: the further off-road you’re going, the more prepared you should be. Navigating through difficult terrain in far-off areas can prove costly if you don’t have the right tools and equipment on hand.
3. FORGETTING TO AIR DOWN
If there’s one thing that makes a difference on the tracks, it’s your tyre pressure. Whether you’re traversing through dense forests, sandy dunes, or plain grass, lower tyre pressure is best.
The reason for this is that aired-down tyres conform to the shape of the ground more than fully inflated tyres, resulting in a much larger tyre footprint. This’ll not only prevent you from popping a tyre, it’ll also vastly improve your traction. Our easy-to-use tyre deflator has an operating range of 70PSI, allowing for quick and accurate deflation of 4WD tyres to get you off-road faster.
4. FOOLING AROUND
For the sake of all of your mates and fellow off-roaders, please don’t drive like Colin McRae along public 4WD tracks – spinning your wheels in mud marshes. Not only does this put the safety of others at risk, but it also tarnishes the reputation of 4WDers, leaving those who do the right thing to clean up the mess. Use off-roading as a way to visit the beautiful scenic gems that this incredible, diverse continent has to offer. After all, how many countries can boast the spread of jaw-dropping natural scenery as Australia?
5. PACKING TOO MUCH
Are you guilty of bringing along every piece of 4WD equipment that you own for every trip? While doing so may seem harmless, this common 4WD mistake can create problems – if you’ve got all your gear strapped to your roof or packed in the back. We’re seeing too many off-roaders loading their 4WD with accessories, gear, and people, and not paying attention to how much it all weighs and how it contributes to their vehicle’s payload (its safe and legal weight limit). Don’t forget, your vehicle’s payload includes everything inside the car – from passengers to equipment. Be sure to think twice about what you’re packing and whether it’s truly necessary.