Do you own a 4×4 vehicle but don’t really know how to use it? You are on the right page – we are here to help you get your vehicle driven the right way without breaking it, or at least worrying about doing things wrong.
In today’s guide, we’ll show you all the tricks you need to know to successfully drive off-road in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE. The truth is, today’s trucks are amazing machines – they can handle highways but also adapt well when you go off the beaten path. Besides, what’s the true point of a 4WD vehicle if you are not actually visiting the rough paths?
Still, off-road adventures in the UAE are not as simple as they sound. The desert is sometimes unpredictable, which is why it can be challenging and confusing, especially if you are not prepared. Follow the steps below to make sure you know the basics of heading into the wilderness on your four-wheeler.
1. Start by understanding what your vehicle is capable of
There are so many different trucks out there made for off-road travels. Logically, you should know more about your vehicle and its key systems that play a vital role when going off-road. Understanding them can help you see what they do and how to use them. Some of these include:
- Traction control: Most the modern 4WD trucks will have a level of traction control, which could be a simple on/off setting, or a complex system with many settings programmed in for various situations. Traction control uses brakes or the 4×4 mechanics to limit wheel slip and make sure torque is transferred from the tyres to the trail. It also tells the computer how to monitor wheel spin, and will brake to keep the vehicle moving forward.
- 4WD High and 4WD Low: These are the speeds in your transfer case – 4WD High is what you can drive with day-to-day, and what gives you better speed with lower torque when stopped. With 4WD Low, there is more torque at low-end speeds, but the top speed reaches its limits quickly.
- Locking differentials: This system locks the turning of the left and right wheel together, which can help in off-road driving. For example, if you are turning on a corner uphill or downhill, one of your tires needs to move slower. The locking differentials help your wheels turn at different speeds, and in new 4WD truck models, you can lock the differentials using just a button push. Having this feature is a huge plus if you want to test your vehicle’s off-road capabilities.
Next, let’s talk about off-road vehicle equipment.
2. See if you need any special equipment
Now that you know the basic 4WD systems found in trucks nowadays, let’s talk about special equipment. Here, we have the following things you should consider:
- Tyres: A good set of tyres is one of the most important things when going off-road. Tyres for off-road vehicles in the UAE make a huge difference and ensure better stability, comfort, fuel performance, and most importantly, safety. If you wish to shop for off-road tyres for trucks, you can do that on our website. We have different models that fit trucks of all sizes, and if you need more help, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll help you choose the right model for your needs.
- Suspension: Next on the list is suspension – something that is very important and one of the fundamental elements of off-road vehicle reliability. Going with a cheaper suspension is a big compromise which we don’t recommend. Instead, you should think of your suspension as one of the biggest foundational elements of building your vehicle. The more gear or people you have with you, the higher stress will be put on your suspension.
- Bumpers: A solid set of bumpers can help you protect your vehicle from many off-road obstacles such as the sand, rocks, tree, brushes, and even animal strikes. There are aftermarket bumpers you should consider which can help you relocate the spare tyre and put it on the back of the vehicle – doing this will help you swap it easily if you end up with your truck buried in the sand and your trunk blocked as a result of that.
- Maxtrax: This traction device goes under your wheels and is used to help you crawl out of a hole by regaining your traction and momentum.
- Winch: An essential active recovery system that is of great value, especially when your truck is in a precarious situation and some form of methodical recovery is needed. A high-quality winch is always worth the money.
- Snatch straps: These dynamic recovery straps can help you get your truck out of the sand with the help of another vehicle and some common off-road tactics.
3. Evaluate all the scenarios
If you want to go off-road in the UAE, you should be prepared for all the scenarios – even the worst-case ones. This is why we recommend carrying a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, seat-belt cutter, glass breaker, warm clothes, food, and water with you. All of these extra accessories can help you make the most of your adventure and know that you are fully prepared for an off-road trip.
Also, you need to be fully aware of what you are in for – preparing for your recovery is some of the logical things you need to think through. In other words, there must be a plan in your head if you get stuck. Are you going with another fellow? Do you have a contact you can call? Should you stop or keep going when you are blocked? Thinking of all of these situations can help you get ready.
Airing down is one of the best ways to help maintain traction. They say that the best off-roaders are the ones that are prepared for every situation and know when to air down and with that increase the overall length of the tyre and the contact with the ground.
4. Know the places you will visit, or bring someone who knows
You never know what can happen on your next adventure. Mud, dust, or sand, it’s always good to evaluate the terrain and know how you are planning to handle it. Mud and sand are surely among the trickiest surfaces to travel through (they are deep and fat), which is why you need to know the terrain or bring someone who knows it and knows how to air down, pull out, or make the right move in the right situation. This is how experience is built, and how you can make sure you are safe at all times.
We hope this guide will help you make most of your travels off the beaten path! Follow our blog for more information and tips on driving, cars, and equipment in the UAE!