Four-Wheel Driver Accessories: A Starter’s Guide
Now that you’ve got your 4WD and are ready to go, don’t forget to stock up on these key 10 accessories before taking off on your first 4x4 adventure. All those dreams of weekend getaways and adventurous drives are coming to fruition now that you have your own set of wheels. To fully enjoy the experience while still keeping yourself safe, be sure to look into these accessories before heading ou. Bull Bar Ask anyone what is the most important part of your machine, and it’s this piece of metal out front. Considering most 4WDs have all the essential mechanical parts being protected by a simple bumper, and are still vulnerable to the smallest of knocks. As the name suggests, this metallic bar attaches to the front of the 4WD, and gives your vehicle a buffer between what might try to stop you, and yourself. When you’re hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest town, a knock by a kangaroo without a bar could put not only your car in serious danger, but your life. You won’t just look the part of a serious driver, but you’ll be out of harm’s way. Air Intake Snorkel Keeping an engine away from water is recommended to avoid water ingress, but if you’re going through a water crossing it’s unavoidable. Snorkels lessen the possibility of water getting into the guts of your engine. 4WD snorkels also work a treat when you’re driving in the dusty plains of Australia, helping get cooler, cleaner air into the engine. With all that dust being kicked up into the air, your air intake is amongst all of that. Gaps on the side by the snorkel’s top also force any dusty air you might pick up while in convoy too. If you happen to come across snowfall, snow can build up by your air intake and the radiator, so using a snorkel helps keep quality air into the engine. Long-Range Fuel Tank You might not be near a petrol station when you’re out and about – especially when you’re far from any civilisation at all. Needing all this extra oomph to your drive when you’re out on difficult terrain takes up a lot of your fuel very quickly. On top of that, towing a caravan or a boat can chew through the rest of your fuel, leaving you with just a finite amount of time with a stock tank. Most extended tanks are lightweight and tough, giving you hundreds of extra kilometres to explore without worry. Not only does it give peace of mind to have that added amount of fuel for the day, but you can plan when to fill the tank up and avoid the unpredictable petrol prices of stations and roadhouses away from town. Dual Batteries While in normal cases you should be fine with a singular battery, once you need to use your 4WD’s winch or want to add creature comforts like a car fridge, a battery’s charge gets drained quicker. Forget giving your truck a push-start if you’re out 4WDing – hill or no.Setting up a dual-charging system alleviates that concern – the extra battery will be ready to go if the first one goes flat. Camping with some creature comforts requires a bit of power, and that’s where an extra battery also comes in handy. Using electrical devices without draining the car’s battery makes for a less stressful sleep under the stars. Warn Winch When the 4WD is bogged out in the deep sand of the desert or stuck in wet mud, an electric winch will be your saviour. By finding an anchor point to wrap the metal wire rope around, the winch – built to withstand the weight of a 4WD – is strong enough to help pull out your vehicle out with its motor. Recovery Gear Sometimes you’ll be stuck in a place with no real anchor to connect your winch to, leaving you bogged and far from the others. Making use of an exhaust jack in places like soft sand – using your vehicle’s engine exhaust to inflate a bag underneath and raise the 4WD from the ground – and sliding some sand tracks underneath will get you back and running. This technique works in mud and snow too. Lift Jack A 4WD lift jack is another tool that is useful in getting part of your vehicle out of the trouble it’s found itself in. No need for electricity or exhaust fumes, your good ol’ arm muscle will help lift you out. These jacks can withstand a tonne, and can lift a good 48 inches – though you won’t need that much. Suspension Kit Stock standard suspension of some 4WDs should do for a mixture of normal road or 4x4 use, but once you start adding people, luggage, and any modifications made, prolonged use could add stress and flexing to the suspension, as well as affect wheel alignment. The nature of off-road terrain being unpredictable, you need a strong suspension kit designed to withstand the increased load carrying, as well as give you better handling. The last thing you want is to feel battered around left and right for hours on end. Driving Lights Your vehicle should come equipped with lights already, though depending on where you plan to drive, things get more difficult under less-than-ideal lighting situations. Night driving or being stuck under bad weather will hinder your vision, and by installing additional driving lights, will help get you through tough spots. LED driving lights and light bars can shine strongly in a concentrated area, ensuring that you see what’s ahead. Cargo Barriers This last one usually gets dropped off the radar, but can be a key part in safety inside the vehicle. With unexpected terrain comes unexpected bumps, and the contents of what’s inside the vehicle have a tendency to move around with it – a 4WD’s cargo hooks might not be enough to hold your heavy objects back if there’s a collision. While it also makes for a very tidy pack when heading out, this is a great addition to keep heavy stuff away from the front. Find out more about the products and services Total 4x4 offers.
USEFUL 4WD DRIVING TIPS
Get your 4X4 beach ready Australia is home to many beautiful beaches, epic sand dunes and many an outdoor adventurer. So, it stands to reason that so many 4x4 enthusiasts are keen to hit the massive sandbanks. The Ford PX Range, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Prado, and Isuzu D Max are the top four 4x4 vehicles in the Australian market. While they are hardy vehicles, you still need to prepare yourself if you’re dreaming of fishtailing up and down pearly-white hummocks. There are a few things to take into consideration.Have you ever thought about what would happen if your 4x4 started slowly sinking into the sand, or the tide came in rapidly without you noticing?Here are a few tips to help plan your sandy adventure. These titbits of advice will allow you to enjoy drifting and driving on the beach, knowing that should something happen, you are well prepared.Beware of the tidesDo your homework on the beach you’re about to visit. First make sure that the beach allows the use of 4x4s, then find out about any incoming high tides. We recommend you start your trip on an outgoing high tide - the sand is firmer and you\'ll have adequate time to reach your destination before the next high tide returns. Stay clear of the water\'s bank - one wave is all it takes to lift or roll a vehicle.Lower your tyre pressureReducing your tyre pressure will spread the weight of your vehicle across a greater surface area, it also increases the surface area of the tyre in contact with the ground, making for better traction.When driving on sand you should reduce your tyre pressure to half that of your normal road driving pressure. If you find your engine struggling, then reduce tyre pressure some more. You can try reducing in 4psi increments until you’re satisfied. Finding the right pressure for your vehicle (taking into consideration the current conditions) can be a lot of trial and error – be prepared.Save those kilograms‘Just in case we need it.’You’ve heard the line many times before but removing unwanted fittings or miscellaneous items from your vehicle can make a big difference. Vehicles like the Holden RG Colorado, Nissan Navaro and the Mitsubishi MQ Triton, work best when the load is lightened. This way, the vehicle endures less strain, you’ll experience better fuel economy and there’s less chance of breakdowns and flat tyres. Also, think about the amount of time you’ll save on packing and unpacking.Prepare to get boggedBogging is when your vehicle gets stuck in wet or naturally soft ground – in your case, soft sand. When you’re with your 4x4 on the beach, always assume that at some point you’ll be bogged. So, come prepared. Keep essential equipment on hand to help you get out of a sticky (or sandy) situation. Total 4X4 has plenty of recovery gear available, including a handy X-Jack. View this video to see how easy it is to use.Before you attempt to de-bog yourself, always scoop the sand from the front and behind of all wheels. If you do get bogged, don\'t spin the wheels. This will only dig the tyres in deeper.If you’re well prepared, then you’re guaranteed to have a great time and not a 4x4 disaster. With these handy tips, you’re all set to enjoy a 4x4 adventure on Australia’s beautiful coastline.Let us help you prepare for the journey. Contact us today and find out about out 4x4 accessories.
GEAR UP WITH THE 4×4 ESSENTIALS
Checklist your tough toys for that epic 4x4 adventure you have planned Experienced 4x4 enthusiasts never take on Mother Nature’s unforgiving elements without being sufficiently prepared. If you’re part of the uninitiated then pay close attention, because one thing you must know is, that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. And, if your tough toy is not up for a tough adventure, then you’re in for a nasty surprise.Dead batteries, leaking fuel tanks and a forgotten drinks cooler bag can turn your epic adventure into an unpleasant experience. So, how do you ensure that your road trip goes off without a hitch? For a start, the cooler needs to be stocked, the rest of the tips follow below.Dual batteriesA must for any short or long 4x4 trip, dual batteries are your reserve power. Wired into the engine bay, the auxiliary battery ensures your travel refrigerator, radio and safety lights are sufficiently powered when your car is switched off. Take it to the 4x4 professionals to ensure it’s correctly installed.Accessory batteries need to be mounted with a battery tray, a fabricated steel plate attached to the engine bay. The tray secures the battery to the vehicle body preventing it from vibrating as you navigate rough and uneven terrains that could damage the unit. But if you really want to be on the super safe side, then invest in a dual battery charger, because even the biggest boys know once the battery dies, not even solid muscle is going to do the trick.Dual battery chargersThe goliath of all things battery energy related, nothing rattles the Redarc dual battery charger’s cage. Mounted either inside your vehicle, or on the engine, this charger is designed to be fully sealed, and uses fan-free cooling to really beat the heat, even in 80°C temperatures – not even Crocodile Dundee would’ve stood a chance.The benefits are that your battery life is prolonged, the run time of your electrical components – and the all-important cooler – are increased, and available in 12 or 24 volt vehicles. It’ll knock your socks off.Recovery kitsThe all-in-one goodie bag that no 4x4 adventurer should leave home without. Recovery kits are your angels in a canvas pack, filled with the basics that you might need to get out of some sticky situations.Haul your car out of mud with snatch straps; prevent your winches causing ring bark with tree trunk protectors; folding shovels for those impromptu holes you need to dig yourself out of, bow shackles and several other essentials to keep you from losing your mind in the middle of the outback.4x4 Vehicle check listPrepare your vehicle for the long road ahead. A pre-check engine list lines up what you need to examine on your car before your trip. Every lug, bolt, nut and moving part needs to be tested for smooth operation, and your safety.Here are several points that need attention pre-departure:Check the – Oil, brake fluid, coolant, wipers and fluid, brake pads, fan belt, seat belts, cleaner and hoses. All gears need to be oiled and any differentials need to be checked and replaced if necessary. Air pressure – Pressure up for freeway driving, and down for sand and terrain driving. Check – Lug bolts and U-bolts, and all nuts and bolts throughout your 4x4. Closely inspect your engine frame for any cracks. Give all joints a good greasing. Ensure all cables, winches and straps are in good shape and straightened. A fray will cause weakness of a heavy-duty strap, and kinks can cause knots, making it difficult for use in serious situations.Unlike regular on-road vehicles, 4x4s require more attention because they’re subjected to rougher conditions. Be prepared for the worst and you’ll enjoy the best of what nature has to offer. Please don’t forget to fill up.Long range fuel tanksGo the extra kilometre – or several hundred – with a long range fuel tank. With up to 160 litre capacity, the additional fuel means you can seriously increase your travelling range even in the toughest conditions, without having to worry too much about finding a gas station.Long range auxiliary tanks are lightweight, weighing about 1/3 of a regular fuel tank; they’re made from industrial strength polymer and are easy to install. They also use factory standard 4x4 mounting points and can withstand the toughest conditions.All outdoor enthusiasts – experienced and novice – need to know what their 4x4 and the outback are going to demand from them. Use these tips and get in touch with Total 4x4 professionals who will inspect your engine and vehicle to make sure you’re all set.Now, go forth and take on Mother Nature!
THE FOUR BEST RECREATIONAL 3X4’S FOR CARAVAN TOWING
Go far and wide with ease when you choose the right 4x4 to lead the way Maybe you’re a born traveller, indulging in the nomad’s lifestyle that comes naturally to you. Maybe you’ve lived a routine life, seeing the same views and people which has left you with a deep desire for adventure and the great outdoors. Whatever the case, if you’re planning a road trip, and your preferred accommodation is a caravan or camper trailer, then you’re going to need a powerful vehicle to tow it. We’d like to suggest a 4x4.When to choose a 4x44x4s are the perfect solution in two scenarios, namely when you’re heading off-road into the bush, or if you’re towing a boat, heavy trailer or caravan. Today, we’re looking at towing caravan’s, and which is the best 4X4 to travel comfortably and safely while your mobile home follows in your wake.We’re going to cover some of the best recreation 4x4 vehicles for the job so sit tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, or smooth in this case. Here are our favourites:Toyota LandCruiser 200 TDV8Max capacity: 350kg/3500kgThis beautiful beast boasts an appetite for diesel with a tank to match, offering an impressive amount of power as well as towing stability. If you’re planning to go far and wide, this is your ride.Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013Max capacity:350kg/3500kgSurprise, surprise another diesel engine. While its predecessor, the Grand Cherokee CRD, displayed a great tow tug, the turbo diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee 2013 with the same 3500kg braked trailer tow rating holds its own.It is comfortable, stylish, offers an impressive terrain selection system and can tow heavy loads with such ease you might forget you’re towing anything.Range Rover SDV6 3.0Max capacity: 350kg/3500kgThere are two versions of this Range Rover, but we’re referring specifically to the more powerful SDV6. The twin-turbo diesel engine can power you and your caravan effortlessly to just about any remote destination.Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0Max capacity:350kg/3500kgThis Range Rover can handle all types of trail and its terrain response function gives you the power to correct 4x4 settings at the touch of a button. Despite its size it handles well just about anywhere, and its V6 twin turbo engine has enough power to easily tow the largest caravan.Tips for towingHere are a few tips to keep in mind as you turn the key to the ignition and set out on your journey:Slow and steady – When you’re towing a caravan you will need more time and space so take your time, brake earlier and accelerate slower than usual. Wider is the way – When taking a corner, you must take it a wider angle to accommodate the additional length of your caravan. Sharing is not caring – Never carry passengers in the caravan while you’re towing it. It is dangerous and not recommendedIf you are considering taking a few trips into the outdoors with friends or family make sure you are fully equipped with the right vehicle and know the best practice for towing your caravan safely and hassle-free. We live, breathe and dream all things 4x4 at Total 4x4. Feel free to consult us for any information you may need to make your next camping trip a success. With over 30 years’ experience, we’ll point you in the right direction.Did you find this helpful? We hope so. Total 4x4 is your one-stop shop for all your 4WD, truck and passenger vehicle accessories. We are also readily available with expert advice. Contact us today.
HOW CANOPIES PROVIDE THE BEST STORAGE SOLUTION
Heading on a trip to the outback in a 4×4 vehicle is the safest and best way to do it. You need all the off-road power that a 4×4 UTE offers, but what’s also important is efficiently utilising all that storage space for your outback camping gear. A canopy allows you to maximise a UTE’s storage capacity, with its ability to safely and securely store all your camping gear and necessary tools for your trip, while also protecting them from rain and dust. It also means keeping all that gear separate from your passengers in the cab. You can store your food items in cooler boxes under the helpful shade of the canopy.
EFFICIENT UTILISATION OF STORAGE SPACE
When you are packing for your whole family to go in one vehicle to the outback, you need all the storage space you can get. This is why it’s important not to waste space unnecessarily when you are packing. Packing things in a neat and tidy fashion will help ensure no space wastage. Installing storage drawers in the tray of your 4×4 is the best method of utilising available space. It also means easy access to your gear and protects it from being knocked around on bumpy roads. Other storage solutions that will work are slide out shelves, stackable tubs and roof racks attached to your canopy.
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