4x4s are famous for their off-road abilities. Drivers love being able to go where they want without having to worry, but factory-standard 4x4s aren’t always as reliable as you’d think. 4x4s may be made to go off-road, but that doesn’t make them immune to problems. You can still find yourself stuck in a rocky or sandy situation, and that’s guaranteed to ruin your trip.
Luckily, there are steps you can take before you head into the Australian bush or hit the sandy beaches. Let’s start by going over the top three beach modifications, and then we’ll move on to inland mods.
Mods To Help You Handle the Sand
With so many gorgeous beaches in Australia, it’s only a matter of time until you and your 4×4 visit the sand. That can present tricky driving situations, as sand can prevent you from gaining the necessary momentum to overcome obstacles. It’s easy to accidentally dig your wheels in, but luckily with the right mods, it’s also easy to get un-stuck. Here are three upgrades to consider before you do some 4×4 on beach driving.
Sturdy Recovery Points
If you find yourself stuck in the sand, you’ll be grateful to know there’s a safe way to retrieve your 4×4. Bullbars and rear bars make excellent recovery options because they’re rated recovery points. That means that they’re designed to handle the intensity of being pulled by a towing vehicle. You don’t want to find yourself without sturdy recovery points, or you could do more harm than good when you attempt to move the vehicle.
Always make sure the recovery points you’re using have been properly installed by a qualified technician.
A Reliable Roof Rack
When you take your 4×4 on the beach you’ll need a few accessories. Shovels, lift jacks, recovery boards, and other emergency equipment can take up a lot of room. You don’t want all that crammed in your backseat, so consider a roof rack for storage.
Roof racks are fairly light, and allow you to keep a whole host of items on top of your car. In addition to rescue gear, you can also secure a bicycle, canoe, kayak, cooler, or camping equipment. It’s a great way to ensure you always have space for exactly what you need.
A Winch That Can Handle Anything
If you’re heading out to explore an abandoned beach on your own you can’t count on having another vehicle available to pull you out if you get stuck. You could easily find yourself in a sticky situation with no cell service and it’s important to be well prepared. Having the right kind of winch will let you get yourself out of trouble.
A winch can be fixed to a sturdy object, like a large tree or boulder, and allow you to slowly pull your 4×4 forward. Even if you’re not on your own, a winch lets you recover your 4×4 on the beach without risking getting another vehicle stuck. Take some time to practice using a winch before you head out and make sure you’ve chosen a winch that’s appropriate for your vehicle.
Now that you know what to do before taking your 4×4 on the beach, let’s move on to inland exploring.
Mods That Keep You Moving on the Land
Australia is known for its versatile terrain. Chances are you’ll encounter mountains, waterways, deserts, and other fun but challenging obstacles during your inland 4wd experiences. With so many potential driving situations, it’s important to be prepared before you hit the off-road. Here are three mods that can help you with inland 4wd off-roading.
Optimizing Your Air Intake
Snorkels aren’t just for people, you can get one for your 4×4 to optimize your air intake. The device fits into your engine’s air intake and pulls in air from the roof level. This helps prevent your air filters from becoming clogged while you travel through dust and dirt. A snorkel can also help improve your fuel efficiency which is always an excellent bonus.
Overcoming Standard Suspension
The suspension that comes standard on 4x4s isn’t appropriate for inland 4wd journies. Standard suspension systems are designed for driving on the road and often don’t provide the appropriate under-vehicle clearance for off-roading. A suspension upgrade can help you keep your tires on the ground and ensure that you’re braking, turning, and accelerating properly.
Getting the Best Bull Bar
Steel bull bars can be equipped to the front of your 4×4 to ensure that there’s always a safe recovery point to use if you get bogged while inland 4wd off-roading. Bullbars also help prevent damage to the front of your 4×4 if you collide with objects, and are a great place to mount fog lights.
What You Need to Remember
There are a few things that you always need to keep in mind when considering upgrades for your 4×4.
First up, you always want to consider the weight of your vehicle and the weight of the modifications. There’s a maximum weight for every 4×4, and when you go beyond that you’re putting yourself in danger of car trouble and maybe even legal trouble. Having an “over-loaded” 4×4 is illegal in some places, due to the danger it presents. Always find out what the max weight limit for your vehicle is and keep it in mind when choosing mods.
The second thing you want to avoid is buying modifications in the wrong order. Come up with a list of your end goals at the beginning, so you don’t find yourself paying someone to take a part back off after it’s installed. You should also consider what’s most important to you when creating your list. If you’re going to start off-roading immediately, a suspension upgrade probably outweighs a cosmetic upgrade, for example. If you’re not sure what order you should go in, or what needs to be done, consult with a technician.
Last but not least, you want to avoid bad-quality gear. There are a lot of manufacturers out there, and they aren’t all reputable. Buying cheaper parts could cost you more in repairs in the long run. Here are a few steps you can take to avoid getting scammed by shoddy manufacturers.
- Look for independent reviews of the products.
- Find stores or manufacturers that have been in business for a while.
- Research the return policies and product warranties.
- Consult with your technician to find out what’s appropriate for your 4×4.
If you keep these points in mind, you should be safe from inferior products.