A Beginner’s Guide to Taking Your 4WD Off-Road in WA

How do you use a 4×4 off-road? What about 4WD courses and 4WD insurance?

A four-wheel-drive trip in Western Australia (WA) is essential for every adventurer’s bucket list! These trips are challenging, making them any thrill-seeker’s dream. There is no more exciting way to spend your time in WA than going on a 4 wheel drive off-roading adventure.

Since some scenarios can be overwhelming in the moment, it’s essential to plan your trip well beforehand. To get you started, we’ve compiled a Beginner’s Guide to Taking Your 4WD Off-Road in WA.


4WD Australia: Choosing the Right Vehicle

Your vehicle will determine the extremity of your journey, as most modern 4WD cars are not suited for driving off-road. You’ll need a rugged dirt road 4×4 to handle the ruggedness of off-roading, and a crossover car might not make the journey. When choosing a vehicle, here’s what you need to consider.

  • Understand how the 4WD system works and how to control it
  • Locate the spare tyre and jack, as you will need them along the way
  • Get the car’s dimension before starting the trip so that you can determine whether it can move through tight spaces
  • Get used to driving your vehicle before the trip
  • Ask for more information on the engine’s air intake and where the computer box is located to understand how much water depth your car can take
  • Check the tyres to ensure they have the correct pressure
  • Confirm that the steering and brakes are working perfectly


How Do I Prepare My Car for Off-Roading?

Perhaps you’ve already acquired your 4×4 vehicle. In this case, you might want to modify the car for the sake of your trip.


Vehicle Modifications

The first thing you’ll need to check for is a good set of All (or Mud) Terrain tyres, depending on your driving. All-Terrain tyres will give you the ability to drive on rough surfaces and help you to get out of tricky situations more easily.

Aftermarket suspension should be looked at next, but before you even look at the suspension, get all your gear out, pack it and weigh it.

Other possible modifications include a snorkel, bullbar, winch, driving lights, dual battery systems, fridges and awnings. You’ll need to consider carefully what you want from your 4×4 before making any modifications. 

Luckily, you don’t have to modify your entire vehicle in one go! Most 4WD vehicles are constant works-in-progress.


How Do You Look After a 4WD?

Frequent servicing and maintenance are crucial. You don’t want anything to go wrong mechanically during your trip. 

Get your car serviced by a qualified mechanic at regular intervals. However, if you’re going to be doing some four-wheel driving (especially if you are going for long trips into remote areas), there are basic things you need to know about your vehicle, from changing oils and filters to checking and changing wheel bearings on a camper.

Having a small tool kit at hand may save your trip. After all, you can’t fix anything if you don’t have the means. Even if you’re unsure of how to fix something, someone else might come along to help.


4WD Driving Tips

Here are our top 4WD driving tips to consider when planning your trip:


1. Know Your 4WD

For a successful 4WD trip, you need to know precisely what your car is capable of and what not. You’ll have to check under your vehicle to identify its lowest point for off-roading purposes. Your four-wheel drive should have an approach and departure angle and a ground clearance figure, and wading depth depending on the vehicle. Take note of all the prospective benefits of your 4WD by consulting the owner’s manual or asking the manufacturer.


2. Prepare for Success

A beginner 4WD trip is built on supplies. Be sure to load up on all the essential items you’ll need in a tricky situation. Unpredictable terrain and weather conditions may present more than a few surprises along the way, so always expect the unexpected. 

These items are essential to your trip:

  • A shovel
  • Water
  • UHF radio
  • Tyre recovery gear
  • Car starter kit
  • First aid kit
  • Snatch straps
  • Recovery tracks


3. Plan Your Route Carefully

A successful 4WD adventure starts with a plan. By taking the time to plan your route, you’ll be able to pinpoint spots to stop, areas to avoid and keep yourself from getting lost. Should a crisis arise, you’ll be able to tell anyone on the way to help exactly where you are.


4. Get to Know the Terrain

An off-road 4×4 track comprises different terrains, including sandy, rocky, steep, muddy or slippery areas. Knowing when and how to engage different modes is a skill you will pick up with time, but understanding your vehicle and the terrain you want to traverse will give you a good head start. 


5. Adjust Your Tyre Pressure

Adjusting your tyre pressure to suit the terrain will improve your vehicle’s performance, aid tyre life, prevent track damage, and result in a much more enjoyable journey. One of the most common mistakes novice drivers make is failing to reduce their tyre pressure for added grip, so don’t you do the same.


6. Slow and Steady Wins the Race

When it comes to off-road driving, many unexpected obstacles will pop up along the way. If you drive too fast, you’ll lessen your time to brake, endangering yourself and your passengers. Instead, travel slowly and enjoy every minute of your trip rather than speeding through it and getting yourself and your car into trouble.


7. Low Range is Best

Nothing can compare to the ease and security of a 4WD’s low range capabilities. Designed for the low-speed and low-grip conditions you’ll encounter when driving off-road, this feature is a must-have for anyone new to the 4WD world. 


8. Check for Water 

As soon as you come across a pool or stream of water, walk through the water first to determine the depth and how fast it’s flowing. The last thing you want is to find yourself in the dam you thought was a puddle!


What to Do When You Get Stuck

If you’re driving an automatic, switch to manual mode and stay in the same gear to avoid losing momentum. If your car is a manual, switch to first or second, don’t change gears, and don’t stop. This will prevent mud and water from getting sucked into the clutch.

If you become stuck and the vehicle is not floating away, then you have time to try a different approach. However, if this fails, you’ll need to call for assistance.


9. Don’t Do it Alone

Are you going for a 4WD drive? Please don’t do it on your own! If you find yourself in a sticky situation and you’re unsure how to move forward, having a friend who can hop out and direct you may save the day. Even if you end up travelling alone, let others know where you’re travelling to, giving them a rough itinerary of the trip to ensure safe travels.


Who Can Help You With All Your 4WD Needs?

If you plan to take your 4WD off-road in Australia, partnering with a 4×4 expert like Total 4×4 is the wisest decision! We’ve got you covered from dirt road 4×4 fit-outs to 4WD driving advice: simply browse our website for more.

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