A Newbie’s Guide To 4 Wheel Driving

4X4 has been a true innovation for motorists, and if you have never had the pleasure of driving a vehicle that has four wheel drive, there are some important differences between this and a traditional 2 wheel drive car. Before the arrival of 4WD, a car would either have the rear wheels powered, or, as was introduced later, front wheel drive. As any experienced driver would know, each has its own specific characteristics, and this comes into effect when turning at speed. If the car develops high end horsepower then traction will be lost on the wheels that drive the car, as they will often be turning faster that it is possible to grip the road. In short, when driving a car at high speeds, both systems will handle very differently, and the driver should be aware of this, especially in wet and slippery conditions.

Four Wheel Drive

4WD is what the name implies, and all four of the wheels receive power via a series of differentials, or geared pieces of engineering that can transfer power from one direction to another. The gearing of a four wheel drive vehicle is such that there is a central gearing mechanism that transfers the power to both the front and rear axles, and this effectively gives the driver much more control in certain conditions. The right suspension is vital, and if you are looking for suspension in Perth, or anywhere in WA, http://www.westcoastsuspension.com.au/ are the people to talk to.

Off Road Driving

4WD was designed primarily for vehicles that travel over rough terrain at slow speeds, and it cannot be compared with a 2 wheel drive car in this environment. A traditional 2 wheel vehicle would not be able to negotiate deep holes and rocks, whereas four wheel drive gives the vehicle a lot more individual wheel traction. If you’re new to off-roading, don’t just drive through that river, or over that rocky area, rather take a look first, and if you are crossing water, take the current into account. With no assessment, often a driver will get into trouble halfway through, and will require winching out.

Hand Placement

If you are driving a car on a smooth road, the traditional racing car configuration of “ten to two”, with both hands evenly apart just above the halfway point of the steering wheel is ideal. This gives the driver instant response and is regarded as the safest way to hold the steering wheel. It is not, however, suitable for slow off-road driving, as each wheel is trying to find space to make contact with the road, and one wheel coming into contact with a small boulder, and the wheel will be wrenched over to the right or left. This could cause serious damage to your arm, and in particular your wrist or fingers. Do not grip the wheel tightly, as any bump or trough could cause the steering column to be wrenched without warning. If your hands are touching the outer surfaces of the wheel, then any sudden turn, and the steering wheel will spin and your fingers are not impeding that.

Four wheel driving can be a lot of fun and as long as the driver is aware of the capabilities, and the limits of the vehicle, they should have an enjoyable experience behind the wheel.

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