4x4s are heavy-duty vehicles – we all know that. But they can also be pretty expensive, heavy-duty trucks at that. Maybe your newly acquired 4×4 is your baby, and you’re a little hesitant to push her as far as a round trip, for example. Or perhaps you’re just not that ready to go THAT far. Whatever the reason for hesitating to take an extended trip, here are some off-road Defender driving techniques that’ll equip you for the long haul.
High range versus low-range
Now, this tip may seem pretty obvious for experienced off-roaders. However, knowing the difference between these two drive modes is essential for those just starting out or are perhaps teaching our youngsters to take over the wheel.
Low range for the arduous journey
Off-roading over particularly challenging terrain, such as up steep hills or down steep descents, can be tricky. This is where low-range driving comes in handy. Or driving in 4L in your off-road Defender as per the symbols on your gear shift. 4L is a lifesaver when you need that extra boost over a particularly challenging ascent. Three of the most common types of terrain you’ll need to engage your low range gear over for extra torque include soft sand, high ground, or rocky steps.
For when speed control is required
As far as controlling your speed goes, you’ll need 4L to go uphill and to manage your speed better over bumpier terrain as well as when going through water. Of course, you’ll also need to drive in low range as per the required speed limits. Generally speaking, 4L is suitable for speeds of up to 25mph and under. Finally, low-range gear can save the clutch of your truck if you find that you’re using the clutch too much to control your speed.
4L is also handy to use if you’re traveling downhill. And you don’t want to place this entire burden solely on your brakes. This can save on the wear and tear of your brakes and even brake failure on the off chance this occurs. Additionally, low-range driving can prevent your 4×4 from stalling in the most inconvenient places.
4H for the long haul
While there is undoubtedly a time and place for a low-range drive, there comes a time in every off-roaders journey where high-range works like a charm! High-range driving is ideal for going the distance, especially where the speed limit allows. Also, if you want to stretch your diesel or gas capabilities that much farther, high range is more efficient at fuel consumption than low range drive.
Done with getting bogged down?
The golden of all golden rules
As far as extreme off-roading goes, you’re more than likely to encounter treacherous terrain on your lengthy adventure. Before embarking on your trip, you’ll want to make sure you’re as ready as can be. This includes taking the necessary precautions, like doing pre-trip vehicle inspections. Equally important is ensuring you have the proper grip on your steering wheel. That means keeping your thumbs free of the steering wheel to avoid injuring them if your steering wheel suddenly starts spinning if your wheels get jammed.
Low range is the best range
As mentioned previously, low range (and second or first gear if you have a manual truck) is the best range for hilly terrain. Furthermore, you’ll want to take it nice and slow rather than forging ahead guns blazing to get through a troublesome patch. But what if this isn’t enough to get you up and over your nemesis? In this instance, taking a strategic approach by controlling your momentum might be just the thing to save the day. So, just start off by giving and releasing enough power in increments to enable you to get over that bump in the road.
Following the lines
Again, this may sound simple enough when the lines are apparent on the road. However, it becomes a bit more challenging to gauge where the lines are when off-roading. Here, what you’ll want to aim to do is keep your wheels in alignment by studying and following the lines of the land, ensuring that all four wheels maintain contact with the ground below them. This is to avoid any one wheel getting stuck and spinning in the air, putting an abrupt end to your journey.
Nailing the basics
When it comes to pushing your 4×4 to its limits, nailing the basics is always a great way to start off your adventure in the wild. Of course, choosing the right Defender to go the distance with is just as important. At Classic Overland, we have a Defender for everyone.
So, contact us today to find out how we can get you your very own off-road Defender.