Off-roading is an art in itself. Traversing over boulders, crossing streams, climbing mountains – it is all about the thrill of making a new trail or conquering a terrain no one would dare to go on. It is like a drug – once you manage to overcome an obstacle, the want to get through others keeps increasing.
I have dabbled at off-roading for a while, and as a beginner entering the world of off-roading, these four tips really helped me get through some sticky situations.
KNOWING WHEN TO QUIT
This one goes hand-in-hand with mechanical sympathy. It’s so tempting to grab a few more revs, a higher gear and give it a harder go. Most of the time, it won’t work – except to break something. Knowing when to back off, run out the winch rope, or try another line isn’t a sign of failure – it’s a sign that you will be able to drive home under your own steam.
THE CORRECT TYRE PRESSURE
Every one knows to drop the pressures to 18psi on the sand and 26psi on the dirt, but who knows how far you can air down if you’re stuck in deep slush?
In a pinch, if you really need it, dropping tyre pressures down to 4psi or 6psi will massively increase traction, but there’s a cost. At these pressures, you’re extremely likely to pop a tyre at the drop of a hat. So the wheel spin needs to be kept to an absolute minimum, and you need to air back up to normal pressures as soon as possible. Still, it could well keep you from losing your pride and joy to an incoming tide.
THUMBS UP ON THE STEERING WHEEL
If you are an off-roader, this is drilled into your head. But for those stepping out into the world of off-roading, it sure will help. When you’re off-road, don’t ever wrap your thumbs around the steering wheel. If a front wheel picks up a rock or a rut, no power steering system in the world has the ability to stop the wheel from spinning violently in that direction. Broken thumbs do happen in that scenario, and they bloody hurt. Keep your thumbs rested on the outer edge of the steering wheel at all times – make it a habit.
LEFT FOOT BRAKING
Here’s a trick that genuinely works for you to get further in the rough stuff. When you get to a spot where you’re spinning wheels and not getting any further, pulse the brake pedal on and off gently while keeping light throttle on. The idea is that the brake application will stop the airborne wheels from spinning, transferring some power to the wheel that has contact with the ground. It isn’t as effective as a diff lock, but most times, this does work. So try it and let us know.
So next time you are on the rough trail make sure to follow these tips for a great off-road experience.