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Guide for 4WD newbies

Guide for 4WD newbies

So, you want to buy a four-wheel drive and go off-roading? Here are some things you should consider before driving off into the sunset down a rocky road.

Depending on your wants and needs (and, of course, your budget!), the ‘right’ vehicle could be almost anything on the market. Sitting down and having a long, hard think about how you’ll actually use your four-wheel drive will help you to narrow your search. Even basic questions need to be considered, like: ‘How many seats will you need?’ and ‘What kind of driving will you do?’

Then, of course, there are the classic petrol-vs-diesel and manual-vs-auto debates. Think through all of the options and answer these questions, taking into consideration your budget.

Don’t believe the hype

Being able to ignore a sales pitch is a particularly useful skill when you’re looking to buy a new vehicle. If you’re scouting the second-hand market, you’ll need to be even more wary of dodgy owners who might be stretching the truth to make a buck. Ask lots of questions and look closely at the physical condition of the vehicle, rather than taking the seller at their word. The same goes for what you read on blogs and internet forums – you can’t believe everything you read there, because you don’t have all the information to know whether you can trust one random person’s assessment.

Before you drive off

Once you’ve finally bought the thing, we know you’ll want to take it out bush immediately, but before you go anywhere, book yourself into a four-wheel driving course with an accredited operator to prepare you for going off-road, and will cover everything you’ll need to know: how to set tyre pressure and deal with flats, how to assess four-wheel driving tracks, how to drive in different terrain, how to prepare for a deep-water crossing, how to recover from a stall or from being bogged, how to judge what your vehicle is and isn’t capable of, and how to use low-range and high-range gears. They’ll even cover things like good convoy procedure.

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