These quality 4WDriving Tips have been selected for your safety and information.
Once your vehicle has been fitted with quality aftermarket accessories, we recommend that if you use these products as intended, you regularly check them. This will limit the possibility of a breakdown or failure of components due to the harshness of terrain. At TJM, we advise you to return after 500km where we re-tension everything previously fitted. We have found, from years of experience travelling in remote parts of our country and what we’ve seen in our workshop, that this offers the best outcome for yourself and your vehicle. Enjoy your 4WD experiences and ensure your safety.
After buying an Electric Winch, it is good practice to run the winch rope out and back in, every 2 to 3 months. This will stop the electric motor from freezing up. All Electric Winches should be fully serviced every other year, or before going on a trip where you may require the winch. *Winches are not water proof (even the winches that claim to be water proof will suffer water problems in time). So by following the above tip your winch will last as long as your vehicle.*
Packing your vehicle
Packing gear correctly in your vehicle is very important and will avoid the load moving around on rough roads and corrugations, or worse still, becoming a projectile in case of an accident. If you have a wagon, we strongly recommend fitting a cargo barrier to protect your passengers and yourself from shifting cargo. A cargo barrier enables you to load the rear of your wagon above seat level safely and offers more options to tie items securely. For tray back utes and utes with canopies, we recommend the fitment of as many tie down points as possible and the use of a cargo net to restrain your load. Remember to pack everything tightly in boxes and even wrap in rags or foam to save it from vibrations on corrugations that cause damage to the storage boxes or containers.
Don’t overload your vehicle
It can be tempting to overload your vehicle when preparing for a long trip. For outback and offroad travel…don’t overload your vehicle! You will learn, after a few long trips, that there are a lot of items that you don’t really need. All those clothes you never wore, or the 20 tins of canned food you didn’t use. The lighter your vehicle is, the better the fuel economy and the easier it is on the tyres and suspension. The old saying of experienced travellers is: “everything should have two uses or you don’t need it”.
To make life easier when travelling, try to pack things that you use regularly in easy to access places. This applies to lunch stops in particular. Roller drawer systems in wagons and utes solve this issue amazingly well.
The two minute check
When you’re out travelling, do a two minute check of your vehicle every morning. This will give you peace of mind and you will be surprised how many problems can be avoided by that quick morning check.
Check under the bonnet, fluid levels, tell-tale dust signs of leaks, check belts and hoses and give the batteries a shake to check they are secure.
Depending on how dusty it is, check your air filter and give it a dust off. Check under the vehicle to make sure that everything looks secure, taking particular notice of exhaust mounts, bushes and shocks. After a few days of doing the two minute check, you will notice any obvious differences. You can even run a spanner around all the obvious bolts, if required.
Check the wheel nuts and the tyres for pressure and for any cuts or damage. Finally, check that your drive lights and aerials are tight and secure.
There is a lot of information available regarding tyre pressures – so let’s keep it simple this time. As every vehicle is different depending on load, looking at the bulge in your tyres, front and rear will give you a fair idea. If you run 36-40psi on the highway, when you get to dirt roads and further outback, lower your tyres by 5-8psi for better ride quality and far less chance of punctures. For the 4WD, slower speed tracks, lower by another 5psi to 25-28psi for better traction and less tyre damage.
For very sandy tracks and beaches try 18-20psi in front and match the bulge of the rear tyre to it. If you find you are bogging down easily in the sand, lower by another 2-3psi. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to your progress.
Most importantly, carry a quality high output compressor in a handy to access location in your vehicle. This will make pumping your tyres back up once you get to firmer ground far easier.
Never drive even short distances at higher speeds with under inflated tyres.
Carrying fruit and veggies
Fruit and vegetables are difficult items to carry on any trip however, with a bit of preplanning and a designated area to carry them in your vehicle, you can help to keep them fresh and minimise spoiling. Have a separate container or area in your storage system for them. Choose the coolest part of the vehicle, away from direct sun beating through the windows and also away from hot floors caused by the exhaust. Wrap all vegetables and fruit separately in newspaper to insulate them from each other as they get pounded on corrugated roads. It sounds a bit laborious but well worth the effort to maximise the life of your fresh food. When you use fresh items, return the newspaper to the container to keep the other items secure, or for restocking.
UHF Radio reception
UHF Radio technology has advanced significantly over the past 5 years. Most quality brands such as GME, Uniden and ICOM have Digital Signal processing which allows RF and audio processing techniques that produce infinitely clearer reception. We generally find a 6dBi gain antenna is the best for all round performance. Whilst travelling, it is wise to do a daily check to ensure that your aerial is tight on the base mount as this is the most common cause of poor reception.
We all love a campfire! You just can’t beat sitting by a campfire at night with friends and a drink, staring at the bush tele.
Sadly, in many locations these fire pits are scaring the landscape. At most locations you travel to you will find an existing fire pit. Please try to use and reuse this area. Don’t make a new one. Where possible, we recommend digging out the existing firepit or digging a new fire hole approx 40cm wide x 1m long by 20 – 30cm deep. This allows one end of your fire pit to be a cooking fire with a piece of mesh or folding hotplate to cook on and boil the billy. The other end is your fire to sit by and is nicely retained by the dirt from the hole.
Please don’t try to burn cans and bottles. If you can carry it in…you can carry it out. Pick up any other rubbish left by others that you can easily carry, otherwise the next person will think you left it behind!
Firewood can be scarce at many campsites so try to collect your wood before you arrive at camp. Remember, a big fire isn’t always warmer, you just sit further away and burn more wood.
Most importantly, remember to properly extinguish your campfire in the morning and fill your dug pit in. In many cases no one will know you ever had a fire there.