4WD Safety Tips
08 Summer-soonal rains in the Outback
If you’re living in the Flinders Ranges or the pastoral lands then there’s a good chance you may have already seen some heavy rain this summer. The drift of monsoonal activity from the tropics usually dumps massive rains across the South Aussie Outback and causes more than a few surprises. In the Flinders the biggest risk is at a creek that might have started running. Keep an eye on the depth markers, anything deeper than 300mm and running quickly will likely be problematic for plenty of 4WDs. In the pastoral lands it’s the risk of an enforced stay, the sandy and clay-based tracks turning to porridge. Get stuck out there and it’ll take a while to sort out!
07 Wish I could say there’s safety in numbers!
Each year around this week the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety issues its data from the previous year about ATV safety. It usually makes pretty grim reading, typically 15-20 Australians dying whilst using a machine. Sadly the farming community account for a staggering 80% of the incidents and the most common occurrence is a rollover. Dig a little deeper and the most common injury is to the head which tells us… no helmet! Don’t be an ATV mug, get smart and wear a lid, preferably a full-face MX style which will offer excellent protection to brain and face. Second most deadly injury is the crush type, having 250kgs plus landing on you with no give. That’s why we use and recommend the ATV Lifeguard, distributed here in Australia by Topaz Global in WA. Awesome product and hugely safe!
06 What tyre for the beach?
What’s a good tyre for the beach I hear you say? Toyo’s OPAT 2 in a light truck construction is awesome for beach running. It’s got a handy tread pattern that won’t dig you in and self-cleans nicely, maintaining nice momentum when accompanied by pressure reduction. They steer brilliantly and the risk of punctures is just about non-existent thanks to much higher load indices than the standard passenger car tyre seen on most fourbies these days. OPAT = Open Country All-Terrain, but make sure you buy the “LT” version!
05 How low should you go?
Speaking of beaches, lower tyre pressures work every time. The Adventure 4WD rule is to keep letting out air until the wheel spin stops. Start at your placarded road pressures and head down to around 20psi/135kPa as a starting point. Still struggling? Let more air out, perhaps to 18psi/125kPa, or 15psi/100kPa. There’s still more to go, but anything less than this should be regarded as emergency pressures, for at 15psi/100kPa that’s where the minimum guarantee of keeping a tyre on a rim (tubeless) finishes, so keep your steering efforts gentle along with braking and accelerating. A tyre that’s popped-off a rim introduces a whole new hurdle
04 Ouch, that hurt!
Middle of February and my nemesis the “March Fly” Mesomyia tryphera will likely be out in force on those lazy beach days and whilst you’re playing tag with a salmon, one of those buzzbombs will be looking to take a piece out of an unprotected leg or arm, leaving you with an itchy bite. Bastards! Best fix is to be wearing loose, light coloured clothing and get the bug spray or cream out. They don’t like the taste of DEET! Suck on that Mr Tryphera!
03 Summer beachside essentials
Still on holidays? A run down the beach sounds like my kind of relaxation with my DMAX. Make sure you’ve packed some essentials though – a tyre pressure gauge, shovel, compressor and perhaps if Santa was kind you might have a set of those flash orange Maxtrax now. If there’s any chance of getting bogged seriously there’s nothing wrong with packing a couple of ARB snatch-straps and bow shackles. Who knows, with your Adventure 4WD training expertise you might be able to come to someone else’s assistance and save them from a rising tide.
02 Roof racks aren’t for heavy loads!
“We’re all going on a summer holiday” was a popular song in the 1960’s and the message it chorused still fits today, that break between Xmas and around the second week of January means a chance to escape. The temptation is to pack everything and the kitchen sink. “I’ve got my toolbox, four jerries full of fuel, a couple of gas cylinders, the family tent and a couple of bags of gear, what’s the harm in that?” At a quick guess that little lot topped the scales at around 185kgs, a bit like having two big Aussie blokes or a modest Japanese Sumo strapped to the roof. Apart from the potential of weakening the roof structure (most vehicle makers permit maximum roof loads between 50-100kgs these days) there’s the greater risk of a vehicle rollover caused the pendulum effect of that extra mass sitting in the worst possible place! Don’t do it, learn the art of “Less is More” or take a trailer. By the way who makes the best roof racks? ARB of course!
01 Hot stuff this New Year!
Happy New Year to you all! Ah its holiday time and I hope you took heed of our advice late last year to get your vehicle serviced with hot running in mind? If we haven’t mentioned it already, there’s bound to be a day or two in the coming weeks where it’s going to be a stinker… 37C, 38C, 40C, 45C or if you’re in the far-North of the State may be nearer to 50C! That’s hot, but spare a thought for your vehicle because under that bonnet with radiator, intercooler, turbocharger, there’s going to be a lot of hot air blowing around. Coolant (that’s the green stuff in the radiator) has to work pretty hard in these situations. If you’ve got a radiator that’s choked with seeds or bugs or maybe mud from that big splash you had back in winter, the cooling efficiency will be compromised and a temperature needle heading for the heavens might be the result. Key an eye on the expansion bottle and the gauge, but make sure the cooling system is clean and the coolant is fresh.