A 4-wheeler or a vehicle with 4-wheel drive (4WD) can get you over rough hills, terrains, and even shallow rivers. But small mistakes can turn your thrilling adventure into a miserable or even tragic experience. You can be stranded, injured, or damage your expensive vehicle. A damaged 4WD will not be very useful during your road trip and can rack up a hefty repair bill.

3 Top Tips for Off-Road Driving for Newbies

Here are some ways you can have a great time driving your 4-wheeler without incurring costly repairs:

1.      Drop the Tire Pressure to Get Out of Thick Mud

An over-inflated tire has less grip than an under-inflated one, especially if you are going through thick mud. But if you get stuck, don't worry. Just let out some of the air and apply a gentle throttle in second gear.

Move the steering wheel left and right while applying power, and if you still cannot get out, switch gears between reverse and second. This will make the vehicle rock back and forth, and you may back out in reverse.

2.      Assess How Deep the Water Is Before Driving Through

If you approach a body of water, such as a river or lake, that looks shallow, don't try to plow through it, hoping for the best. No matter how tempting it is, determine how deep the water is while you are on dry land. Use posts, bushes, fences, and anything submerged in the water to assess this.

When you have a general idea of the watermark, drive forward slowly and smoothly in low gear. If you drive in too fast, you can get the engine wet, and your vehicle may stall mid-stream. Drive smoothly till you get to the other side.

3.      Don’t Add More Weight than Your 4WD Can Handle

The more weight your 4WD carries, the more strain it places on its components, such as the suspension and chassis. As you add more weight, you compromise the vehicle’s performance. So if you get stuck in a rut or start to go backwards while going up a hill, the weight can prevent you from taking control.

Don’t exceed the weight that is mentioned by the manufacturer. Besides putting yourself and your passengers in danger, you can make the warranty useless, get a citation, and waste your insurance in case of injuries or damage.

Most insurance companies have a policy that requires a fully intact 4WD that can be driven post-accident. If it is overweight, it doesn’t fulfill that requirement which in turn can reduce your insurance.

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