In the world of 4×4, there is the right way of doing things and the wrong way of doing things. In many cases, the difference between the right and wrong can come down the personal opinion or preference. There are, however, a few hard-and-fast 4×4 rules that should never be broken. With that in mind, here are 3 of the most common 4WD mistakes that you need to avoid at all costs.
Not Airing Down
Your tyres are what keep you on the straight and narrow on the most testing terrain. They are your most valuable asset on the tracks and the easiest way to ensure that you safely navigate varied terrain. Driving on serious off-road tracks without the correct air pressure is asking for trouble.
When we talk about airing down your tyres for difficult terrain, we don’t mean reducing a few PSI. There is no hard-and-fast rule for the correct tyre pressure when driving over certain terrains. The only way to find out your ideal PSI is to experiment, make mistakes, and find your happy median.
Cutting Corners on Proper 4×4 Gear
Trying to save a few dollars on recovery gear and 4×4 equipment that could potentially save your vehicle (or your life) is just plain foolish. There are areas where it is ok to skimp on cost, but proper 4WD recovery gear and 4WD equipment isn’t one of them. In most cases, you can spend a bit more on something that is going to last you a long time and end up a long way ahead in the long run.
It’s important to know the difference between a cheap and cheerful product and a useless bit of kit. Some of the most important 4×4 equipment like recovery tracks and winches are expensive for good reason – because they work, and they are essential. If something seems too good to be true or claims to do something that is well beyond what you would expect for the money, then it’s probably best to avoid it.
Powering Out of Tricky Situations
Contrary to what Jeremy Clarkson may have you believe; power isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, the best solution is to use your brain instead of your right foot to get you out of a tricky situation. Pick your line carefully, walk the course if you’re unsure, or let a more experienced driver take the wheel if you don’t feel confident. It’s easy to overestimate your ability -particularly when you’re driving in a convoy. Remember, if you’re not sure about the track or you don’t feel confident, there’s no shame in asking for help from a more experienced 4WD’er.
Whether you’re new to the 4WD community or you’re an old hand, there’s always room for improvement. If you have a new vehicle, want to gain more knowledge of proper 4×4 protocol, or you just want to refresh your 4×4 skills, a good quality driving or recovery course can help you. This is particularly true if you find yourself at the wheel of a new 4×4 vehicle that favours complex electronics and buttons over traditional levers and low range gearboxes. Modern 4×4 vehicles require specific techniques and a specialised skillset to ensure that you are getting the most out of them.
As a 4×4 enthusiast, the most important thing is to be open to learning new things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek direction from a more experienced 4WD’er if you find yourself in a situation that you’re not comfortable with.