Driving takes on a whole other dimension when switching from tarred or gravel surfaces to the dirt and dust of off-road terrain, as well as everything else in between. Needless to say, off-roading in the dirt is sure to be one dusty affair. If you’re an experienced off-roader, you’ll know that this will take some getting used to. On the other hand, if you’re a novice at off-roading in the dirt, here is some advice to prepare you and your 4×4 Defender for what’s ahead.
4wd in your 4×4 defender all the way
One of the main things you’ll have to get used to is switching from 2wd to 4wd for when you hit the ground running. This will give you the extra traction you need to control your speed. And give you the ability to maneuver your truck better on slippery, sandy surfaces. As far as gear selection goes, you’ll probably want to opt for high range rather than low range (if the road allows it). Mainly because you generally won’t have to fight your way over obstacles or deep ditches in the land. Furthermore, it’ll usually be extended, clear paths you’ll have to contend with. So if you need to pick up a bit of speed, there shouldn’t be a problem in 4H. So, as far as off-roading on the dirt is concerned, we’d say 4wd all the way.
Your tires can either make or break your trip
Riding over dirt means you’re likely to encounter almost anything. Of course, this calls for a specialized set of tires that can endure the hardships of the land. In other words, your tires should ideally be marked as LT (or Light Truck) to be able to withstand whatever’s thrown at them. Actually, what sets these tires apart from others, is their solid sidewalls. In addition to their increased rubberized tread, which further enhances their durability.
Furthermore, your tire pressure (or the lack thereof) can end up protecting your tires from irreparable damage. Lowering your tire pressure to around the 20psi mark can also provide more traction as well offer more stability over demanding uneven terrain. This can be likened to trailing over snow, where lowered tired pressure is pretty much a necessity.
A smooth suspension for a better ride
Another thing to check up on before hitting those dusty trails is the condition of your suspension. And your shock absorbers too. Because no one enjoys a bumpy ride when it could rather be smooth sailing all the way.
Moreover, when riding over dirt surfaces, beware of dreaded corrugated surfaces. You know those ultra bumpy surfaces that can make your teeth feel like they’re chattering as you go over them?
Again, a good suspension will play a role here in minimizing the feel of the impact. But, surprisingly, so too will speed. The key is to find the correct tempo that will have you gliding over rather than bumping along its surface.
Dust, dust, and more dust
When off-roading over red, sandy trails, be prepared to encounter dust – and LOTS of it. If you’re not prepared enough, this can cause you to temporarily lose sight of the road ahead of you (pure torture) as well as cause damage to your engine. This is where a snorkel comes in handy. Like a water apparatus with the same name, a snorkel for trucks works along with similar principles – to capture clean air from above instead of the dust line. This is great news for your engine as it minimizes its exposure to the swirls of dust below it. Fortunately, many of our Defenders come with this installed, so you won’t have to go searching or have it installed yourself.
Suppose your Overlanding trip has taken you to the outback of Australia. If so, don’t be alarmed if you encounter a bit of bulldust along the way. Just steadily approach if you encounter a thick cloud of bulldust and continue on through it and out to the other side if you cannot avoid it.
Keeping an eye on the road ahead of you and behind you
Of course, if you’re trailing in line behind other dirt road enthusiasts, it can be tricky to tell what’s around you when the dust is thrown up into the air all around you. In this scenario, pull back some, if you can, and allow the dust to settle for a bit. After all, safety first, adventure second.
A Defender made for dusty occasions
If you’ve been hankering to get out on the open road, our Defenders are made for dusty occasions
So contact us today for more information on how we can help you fulfill your off-road 4×4 Defender dream.