Escaping in a 4WD is quickly becoming a national pastime, with the fall of the national standard domestically designed and built family sedans, we’ve seen a flood of epic value for money dual cab 4WD Utes taking their place as Australia’s family transportation choice and its easy to see why, offering great handling, cost effective maintenance and the ability to get off the beaten track, mean the development of comfortable and extremely capable 4WDs filling the roads of Australia’s capital cities.
Modern Dual Cab Utes are incredibly good value when it comes to 4WDing, this is due to decades of market research coupled with recent advancements in traction technology such as traction control, hill descent control and much more than we can describe in this article, with sensors on the wheels picking up any speed discrepancies between wheels and calculating minor adjustments that are required to maintain grip.
Whilst your 4WD may offer you a way to get out an explore, not only your local area but also your favourite escape destinations, we love to test our 4WD to not only find its limitations but to also enhance our own driving abilities. There are a handful of different ways to get more out of your 4WD particularly on a really low budget, not everyone has stacks of cash to throw at their vehicle, and if you use your 4WD as a daily driver, there is no reason to put excessive amounts of lift and huge mud terrain tyres on your vehicle when small adjustments to settings and taking advantage of a few simple techniques you will be able to take your stock as a rock dual cab or family wagon through some serious terrain without any troubles!
Starting off with getting the correct tyre pressures, whilst your computer powered voodoo can give your 4WD much better performance than you’d expect, the tyres you have utilise a contact patch which when on the highway is approximately one palm width per corner this may not seem like much but it is plenty for hard surfaces, the thing with tyres is, you are balancing between plush ride, grip and stability. When you adjust your pressures you will sacrifice one for the other and in the trading off of properties could make your situation unsafe.
Now that we have that out of the way, we’re going to let you in on a groundbreaking trade secret, the key to additional grip offroad is the ability for 4WDers to increase the contact patch of each tyre by over 200%, this is achieved by lowering down the air pressures inside your tyres to nearly half what the normal operating pressure is, for example, if your recommended minimum tyre pressure placard states your vehicle should be running 29 psi then an appropriate tyre pressure for driving on gravel roads is more like 20 – 22 psi, and if you are driving slower on sand, mud or even crawling over rocks, you can drop your pressures down to 14- 16 psi this increase in contact patch is extremely handy,
The dramatic drop in tyre pressures allows your tyres sidewall to bag out, but despite popular opinion, this isn’t where the extra grip comes from, when your sidewalls bag out, your tread actually lengthens, the lengthened tread makes your tyres more like a caterpillar track and gives you exceptional grip offroad but also allows your tyre carcass to flex up and over tough terrain, such as rocks and tree roots, preventing punctures and piercing of your tyres.
You may be asking… “how do I let my tyres pressures down?”, this question is easily answered, there are many products on the market that are designed to lower your tyre pressures down to a suitable pressure offroad – from small caps that are ‘setable” and simply screw onto your valve stems. To the purpose made and accurate Kwiky Tyre Deflator which fastens to your tyre valve, and unscrews the core internally and dumps out all your tyres air pressure in absolute control for some of the fastest tyre deflation speeds in the country, coupled with its integrated bourdon tube gauge you have ultimate accuracy and speed in dropping your pressures, and allowing you to drop your tyres more than once in a session without recalibrating your device every time. This is extremely handy when the surface gets seriously soft like on the beach where there is a massive variance in the firmness of the surface.
Like we mentioned earlier, when you hit the tracks you are trading off stability, for massive increases in grip, in the slow speed stuff it isn’t as mission critical to corner hard and drive at high speeds, meaning your low pressures are perfect, but every good offroad session has to end at some point in time. Because of this, you should definitely consider grabbing your self a reliable and powerful 12v air compressor to pump your tyres back up to recommended pressures, this is a piece of cake thanks to the Adventure Kings Thumper MKII and MAX, both of these air compressors are capable of inflating all 4 corners of your 4WD in just a few minutes. Preventing any damage from being done to your 4WD’s expensive rubber!
To find out more about getting your 4WD further offroad, don’t hesitate to call us on 1800 88 39 64, visit our website www.4WDSupacentre.com.au or visit one of our stores or dealers to talk directly to our professional team!