4x4 driving tips

Before going off-road

a. Desert kit to keep in your car

  • Water - 2L per person per day
  • Ensure you have sufficient fuel
  • Distilled water or pre-mixed coolant in case of overheated engine
  • 1-2 spare tyres
  • A small compressor/tyre pressure gauge
  • A shovel & gloves
  • A blanket or extra jacket as the desert will get cold at night
  • A wood board/plate or mats
  • Two jump cables or a Kinectic Recover Strap (3 ton capacity)
  • Shackles with the correct load rating
  • Mobile phone + charger
  • First aid kit
  • Maps/GPS
  • Torch
  • Take along food that packs the most nutrition in the least size and weight.
  • Googles, hat and dust mask against sun and sand storm

b. Always do dune bashing by convoy and take walkie talkies
It is always easier to get out from a bad situation when you are at least in pairs (2 vehicles minimum). Besides, you probably noticed that there is no mobile reception in some areas of the desert. To keep on communication with you friends, use walkie talkie in UHF (Ultra High Frequency).

c. Always inform someone of your planned route before departure

Basic tips

a. Deflate you tyres for better control & safety.

Why should I deflate my tyres?
Deflating your tyres will increase its footprint. This mean the tyre area in contact with the ground is bigger, allowing better traction and reducing your chance to sink into the sand, and getting stuck.
How much should I deflate my tyres?
Standard rule recommends 2/3 down from the highway pressure. For soft sand, -14psi should be sufficient. Any pointy object pressed into the valve will release the air for you. You should carry a pressure gauge to dial in the correct psi.

After you are back on firmer ground you should re-inflate the tyres before driving.

d. Drive as straight as possible
Driving straight makes the rear tyres follow in the already compacted channel the front tyres have created increasing the traction available.Avoid turning sharply as the tyre could unseat from the rim as a result of the low pressures been used

e. Be careful with rocks
If you are driving several kilometres on soft sand, be extra careful with rocks that might appear on top of the sand like icebergs showing only the top. Hit one and you risk severe tyre damage.

f. Gear box

1. Manual transmission
Shifting up in sand will be almost impossible. Therefore, start in 2nd gear low range and keep it there until you are through.

2. Automatic

You will be able to shift without any loss of momentum and the torque converter always provides the needed extra torque. However, the hard working engine and the heat generated in the torque converter during this process might lead to overheating. Heat kills automatics. Therefore you may use low range as well.

3. In sand, if your wheels start to spin, ease off the gas a little to let the tyres slow down and regain traction.

g. Keep it slow
Slow acceleration, slow stopping and choose the right gear. The less gear changes you have to make the better.

h. Weight
Keep all your weight as low down as possible and try and load your axles evenly, put heavy water containers right behind the back seats and pack all your light stuff at the back of the vehicle and on the roof.

i. Keep your seat belts on and your windows closed to avoid sand coming into your car.

j. Never rush an unexplored dune
Always walk it before attempting it. You never know what is on the other side.

Being bogged

a. If you are not stuck
If you do get slightly bogged down, try rocking your vehicle back and forth, 1st, reverse, 1st, reverse etc… This will compact the sand slightly in front of and behind the wheels and allow you to move forward. Only use this if you stopped too quickly on a flat surface not if you’re very stuck.

b. If you are stuck
What to do when you get bogged down?
It happens to the best of us
First of all, do not panic or accelerate. Do not spin the wheels or you will get yourself deeper into it.
 Get out having a look at the situation by checking your 4 tyres

Two ways:
a. Recover by yourself
Use a shovel to dig away the sand in front and/or behind the wheel. Put some materials under the wheels like plates or mats to provide additional traction.
Shift the car from “4-high” to “4-low”.
Keep switching from first gear into reverse and gently accelerate,don’t exceed 2000rpm.
 Get assistance from another vehicle
Line the recovery vehicle up in such a manner that the recovery will be done in as straight a line as possible
- Connect a Kinectic Recover Strap to the shackles that you have attached to the recovery points on your vehicle and to the 2nd vehicle doing the recovery
- Both drivers should wear their seatbelts and be able to communicate clearly between each other.
- No spectators within 50m
- The recovery vehicle should drive off,the stuck vehicle should have its engine running and be in Neutral gear. The bogged vehicle should extract itself as the straps stretches.

b. If none of the above is working, call the below emergency number: