There are plenty of brand new 4WD’s ads on television which boast the smartest, quickest and most capable traction control in the market. Whilst these features and functions are perfectly capable of pulling a vehicle through tough sections of track they still haven’t quite cracked the egg when it comes to soft surfaces such as snow, sloppy mud and even sand which are some of the most popular terrains to take your 4WD on!
When lifting wheels, crawling over rocks and even descending extremely slippery surfaces and even at speed on the highway traction control, ABS (Antilock Braking System) and electronic stability control, give excellent handling properties in obscure situations where traction and balance might waver from stable and these smart systems can cleverly calculate things like your wheel speeds, suspension travel and the stability of your trailer and automatically account for any discrepancies to make your vehicle handle safely.
Whilst this tech is exciting and modern, its not all positives traction control has some negative trade-offs which you have to understand how the system works to fully appreciate the trade-offs. When you have a 4WD the engines power is diverted from your gearbox to the wheels using the front and rear differentials. With a standard differential clever gearing allows your tyres to turn at different rates, this means when you turn around a corner the wheels on the inside can spin slower than the wheels on the outside can spin faster.
This is great for hard surfaces where your vehicle has plenty of grip, but when you hit slippery surfaces a regular differential will be ‘fooled’ into spinning up the wheel with the least amount of traction – this is where traction control comes in, by sensing the wheel spinning, even before it breaks traction the computer can apply braking pressure to that particular wheel to prevent the spin, reduce torque and allow your tyres to gain grip. If you consider the effects of soft sloppy terrain. The computer will reduce wheel speeds due to the absolute lack of traction, meaning your vehicles torque output and wheel speed is greatly reduced, causing the vehicle to essentially stop where it stands, where a standard vehicle not fitted with traction aids might be able to simply drive it through with a little momentum. This is where “ETC OFF” or “ESC OFF” comes in handy, essentially turning your 4WD into an old-fashioned beast of burden.
So how do you gain traction in these tricky situations where even the miracle traction aids wont help, this seems like a difficult situation to over come but these problems were addressed decades ago, there are a handful of simple ways for you to get further offroad, expensive traction aid or not – Starting with tyre pressures, its obvious to some, but completely left field for others.
Many years ago you could pick up a 4WD magazine or watch your favourite Aussie bush man television show, and the most critical point of interest would be reminding 4WDers that dropping tyre pressures will give you massive amounts of extra grip and allow your 4WD to drive through obstacles that you would never think your 4WD would get through. Using a tyre deflator like a Kwiky Tyre Deflator gives you the ability to do this quickly, accurately and easily which nearly triples your vehicles ability to grip surfaces offroad.
One of the next things that you can do to give your 4WD more grip offroad and prevent wheel slippage is to ensure you have 4WD engaged and when things get tricky, ensure your 4WD gearbox is set to low range and you apply a controlled accelerator, this will give you two advantages no matter what terrain you are tackling, low range ensures your vehicle has the absolute best possible gear ratio. This means low wheel speed, high torque and minimal slippage, whilst also ensuring your vehicle has the most drive to overcome obstacles.
Think about low range as almost a button, turning your vehicle into a slow speed high control tractor capable of climbing big hills and driving through the toughest terrain including mud and sand. Whilst your differentials will keep spinning the wheel with the least amount of traction. Your wheels are much less likely to break traction thanks to the lower gearing.
Finally including a way to get your 4WD out of trouble is a great idea regardless of how modern it is or what electronic buttons you have at your disposal. The best idea is to bring a fully equipped recovery kit with you. A kit that includes everything you need for snatch strap recoveries, winch pulls and even digging your 4WD out of trouble. This is where the Hercules Complete recovery Kit comes into its own fully stocked with all the right gear it even includes a Kwiky Tyre Deflator for the ultimate in getting yourself out of trouble!
For more information don’t hesitate to contact us on 1800 88 39 64 or jump online to www.4WDSupacentre.com.au or even duck into one of our stores to grab a bargain on gear that is designed to get your 4WD further offroad!