Preparing your vehicle:
Salt and sand can cause damage to your vehicle if not properly removed. There are preventative measures you can take however. If you want to know more about driving through salt water, and why we advise you don’t, click here. For driving on sand however, you can prepare your vehicle with a coat of lanolin, especially sheep skin oil, which is readily available in spray form from Bunnings and Repco. Make sure you apply a coat a day or two prior to your trip to allow it to dry, and be sure to rinse off thoroughly after your trip to avoid rusting.
Lighten your load
An often overlooked step, be sure to remove any unnecessary fittings or cargo before driving onto sand. The lighter a vehicle is, the less likely it will get bogged.
Check your clearance
To avoid bottoming out when cresting even slight rises, you want to ensure the underside of your vehicle has at least 180mm clearance above the ground. Similarly, only ever go straight up and down dunes, never try to turn around or the sand will shift under your 4×4 and can potentially put you in a dangerous position.
Adjust your tyre pressure:
Before hitting the sand, be sure to lower your tyre pressure. Why? Lowering the pressure of your tyres extends the ‘footprint’ of your tyre, increasing surface area from front to back which achieves better traction and allows your vehicle to sit on top of the sand more evenly.
The psi to which you should deflate your car varies from vehicle to vehicle and tyre to tyre. Check out our blog 4WD Tyre Pressure Basics to find out more.
Tools to pack
Watch the water
Beware of an incoming high tide. Check the tide charts prior to departure. Aim to start your journey on an outgoing high tide when the sand will be firm. This way you will have ample time to reach your destination before the next high tide. Always remember to stay clear of the edge of the water, it only takes one rogue wave to lift or roll a vehicle.
Caring for others:
Caring for the environment:
What to do if you get bogged in sand:
Traction is Key here.
Step 1: Stay calm. Have all passengers exit the vehicle and move to a safe space.
Step 2: try to gain traction slowly. Don’t accelerate too hard or you will build up sand and worsen the situation. In an automatic car, put your vehicle in the low gear and accelerate slowly to gain speed and traction. In a manual vehicle, put it in a higher gear and release the clutch slowly
Step 3: If the vehicle is still stuck you are lacking traction. This is where your shovel comes in handy to remove sand. If available, lay your traction boards, or whatever item you have handy (jacket, tree branches, carboard) in front of the tyres that are spinning. Try move forward until the tyres catch traction on the item and you can drive out.
Step 4: If you are still stuck, have passengers gently push the vehicle from behind to assist. Note however, that any items placed in front or under tyres may be flung backwards, so ensure they stand clear of the tyres. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you are free from being bogged.
Take this information as a guide only and go awaken the explorer within.
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