Taking your 4×4 out on a beach day is popular especially with newbie 4x4ers wanting to ride the dunes or simply cruise the beach. Getting stuck in soft sand is going to happen at some point or another. Even with the right 4X4 Tyres and knowing the correct 4×4 techniques, even the best-laid plans can still end up with you stuck frame height in the sand. But when it comes down to it sand and dune driving is exhilarating. If you do get stuck, don’t panic and follow these simple 4×4 techniques to get out.
Lower your tyre pressure
Your standard off-road pressure is usually 16-18 psi. You will need to let out air to give you a bigger footprint and surface area to generate friction. Some people might say you can do this by eye, looking for when the tyre starts to bag out at the sides. We would say the best way to know your pressure and not risk losing your tyre off its rim is to use a proper pressure gauge. Usually, reducing to a pressure of 10psi will be enough to help you out, but occasionally you might have to go lower. If you are going to go lower, you will have less chance of losing your tyre from the rim with bead locks. There is no set rule for exact tyre pressure, so you just need to see what works at the time. It’s important to note that reducing your tyre pressure will affect the handling of your 4×4. Also avoiding any sharp turns will avoid the tyres coming off the rim. As soon as you’re on firm ground re-inflate your tyres.
There is a certain level of skill to getting out of the sand. It is a good idea to keep momentum and only stop when you really need to. When driving on the dunes, always acsend an decend in a straight line to avoid sliding and even rolling. Have enough momentum to reach the top of the dune, but not too much so as to launch yourself over the top. There could be a big drop and your 4×4 won’t fly. Take the time to pause at the top to see you decent and any potential obstacles or other vehicles.
If you get stuck in soft sand, the main thing to know is not to keep spinning and digging yourself deeper. It can be tempting to keep going thinking if you just get a tiny bit more momentum you’ll be out, but in fact all your doing is making it harder for yourself.
Back in the day you’d have used anything you could lay your hands on, a bit of wood, a rego plate, anything you could wedge under the wheels to get some traction. And if all else fails you might be searching around the ground for something – because anything even stones and twigs can help. These days most people will carry recovery tracks. When using recovery tracks don’t be tempted to floor it. Easy, gentle momentum will stop your boards getting damaged.
If you’re really stuck you might need to use a recovery winch, jacks or flag someone else down for help. Be as prepared as possible before you go.
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