4×4 Tips: Coping With Sand

As soon as you leave the tarmac and go off-road, you never know what you’re going to get. That’s the fun of it: the unpredictability and sense of adventure. In Australia, you can more or less guarantee you’re going to run into one obstacle: Sand.

It’s especially important to know how to drive in sandy conditions because, there’s a fair chance you’re going to be hitting the beach at some point.

But given the size of the coastline, if you are planning on leaving the beaten-path for some isolated surf or wind, then always let someone know where you’re going; if you do get stuck it could be a very long time before someone else comes your way. Of course, it’s better not to get stuck in the first place, so it’s worth having a few tricks up your sleeve to avoid sticky situations.

When you encounter sand in a 4×4 the first thing you need to do is drop the air pressure of the tyres – 10-12 pounds below normal should do it. This increases the amount of tyre in contact with the sand, giving you more traction. In most cases this is going to be enough to get you through the sand with few difficulties. This technique also works if you have already become stuck. But don’t forget to re-inflate them afterwards – you’d be amazed how the relief at getting unstuck can make you forget even something so basic.

Use the high-range 4WD to maintain your forward momentum. This is really crucial. If you stop, you greatly increase your chances of becoming stuck. And that could really spoil your day on the waves.

Make large, wide-ranging turns if you can. Tight turns will also increase the chances of sticking. But, again, your forward momentum is key.

If the worst does happen and reducing the tyre pressure doesn’t work, you may need to dig out the wheels. Remove the sand from directly around the wheels and dig tracks in the direction you want to drive. This should be enough to get you moving.

About Olmate 4x4

No one knows 4WD’s better than Troy Whitelam of Olmate 4×4. Troy doesn’t just sell 4X4 gear, he installs it and he uses it. Troy’s 4×4 training courses have a huge following in the Central Coast of NSW. He’s practical knowledge is based on thousands of hours researching and testing for himself in real off road and recovery conditions. Troy doesn’t recommend the gear he sells – he sells the gear he recommends.

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