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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 4×4 enthusiasts are keen to hit the massive sandbanks. The Ford PX Range, Toyota Hilux, Toyota Prado, and Isuzu D Max are the top four 4×4 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 4×4 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 tides
Do 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 pressure
Reducing 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 bogged
Bogging is when your vehicle gets stuck in wet or naturally soft ground – in your case, soft sand. When you’re with your 4×4 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 and one of the Exitrax recovery boards, newly added to our offering!
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 4×4 disaster. With these handy tips, you’re all set to enjoy a 4×4 adventure on Australia’s beautiful coastline.
Tackling the dunes
In the event of climbing a sand dune, you realise you might not make it all the way, don’t try and turn your 4×4 around. The best action to take is to chuck it into reverse and go back down in a straight line.
The moment you try to turn around while your low-side springs are compressed and your high-side springs are trying to unload you increase the risk of rolling. It is important to remember that the sand will shift and what you thought was a nice gradual slope can quickly overcome your vehicle’s centre of gravity.
What recovery gear should you bring?
You may be ready to tackle the dunes but is your 4×4? It is important to make sure your vehicle has been equipped with the correct 4×4 accessories that will allow you to traverse up and down the beach with ease. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Getting bogged is inevitable, make sure to bring a long handled shovel to dig you out of a sticky situation.
- Snatch straps are a must and will not only help you, but also other 4×4 enthusiasts.
- Sand flags let other drivers know where you are, especially when you’re traveling up and down through the dunes.
- An air compressor will make inflating your tyres a breeze, which you will be doing a lot of when going from sandy tracks to more solid terrains.
- MaxTrax are a great recovery tool that will allow you to self recover if you happened to get bogged.
- Bull bars provide excellent recovery locations to place winches, sand flags, snatch straps while protecting your 4×4 from unsuspecting wildlife.
Where to, now?
We have created a list of WA’s best beach tracks for just you so you can plan your next adventure.
Let us help you prepare for the journey. Contact us today and find out about out 4×4 accessories.