4WD Adventures: How to get your 4WD ready to hit the beach
One of the main reasons people buy a 4WD vehicle is to have access to the vast range of beautiful beaches around the coast of Australia. While having a vehicle with 4WD is a good first step, there's still some important things to consider when it comes to packing recovery gear and supplies, pre-trip maintenance and what to do once you're on the soft stuff.
Making sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition prior to heading on a beach adventure is crucial. Not only does driving along the beach put more strain on your vehicle's engine and driveline than standard suburban driving, but it's also not somewhere you want to experience a mechanical failure. If roadside assistance services aren't able to reach you and your 4WD, then a tow truck recovery from the beach can be quite a costly exercise!
Ensure your vehicle servicing is up to date by checking the log books and carry out any overdue servicing before heading off-road. Next, check all important fluids under the bonnet such as engine oil, brake fluid, clutch fluid, and power steering fluid - these checks take 5 minutes and could mean the difference between a successful trip and a mechanical failure.
Tip: Consult the maintenance section of your manual for which fluids to check and where they can be found.
Pack The Right Gear
Once your vehicle is mechanically ready, the next step is to pack all the necessary gear to navigate the beach and get home safely afterwards, no matter what challenges you face. A tyre deflator is a great place to start as it will let you easily drop your tyre pressures to the appropriate level for driving on the sand. A reliable compressor is also important to reinflate your tyres for the trip home as driving on the road with tyres under inflated can cause premature wear and tear to your wheels.
While most beach trips will be trouble free, packing recovery gear ensures that if you happen to get stuck, you're prepared. Self-recovery equipment such as recovery boards, shovels and even tyre repair kits are essential. I always take my recovery boards with me and they've saved my car from countless boggy situations. You should also pack snatch straps and recovery shackles, but keep in mind that your vehicle will need to be fitted with rated recovery points to use these.
Prepare To Get Bogged!
Getting a 4WD bogged isn't something you should be worried about, it happens to even the most experienced four wheel driver and so long as you've got the appropriate gear with you then you'll be out in no time. Deflating your tyres further, digging away excess sand and using your recovery tracks will get you out of most boggy situations. To effectively use your recovery tracks, use them to dig away the sand in front of your wheels, insert them in front of the wheels that are slipping, and drive out!
If you take the time to make sure your vehicle is prepared and pack the right gear, you'll be ready to hit the beach with absolute confidence and enjoy many beach 4WDing adventures to come!