Essential 4WD Off-Road Driving Tips

We’re incredibly lucky in Australia, with our gorgeous coastlines and abundance of lush forests, all perfectly suited for a 4WD enthusiast to push their vehicle to the limits. Before you set off, it’s important to prepare for all eventualities so you get the best experience out of your 4×4 off road adventure.

Plan your route

The number one reason people get into trouble when four-wheel driving is that they aren’t prepared for the unique challenges they may face on the track. Give yourself every possible chance for success (and fun!) by planning your route carefully. It’s a good idea to consult maps of the area and talk to people you trust who have already driven in the same or similar location. You can even scope out a digital version of the track first, spotting potential hazards before you get behind the wheel.

You should always let somebody know where you’re going and when you’re expected to come back, especially if you’re driving alone for an extended period of time.

Get your 4WD serviced

Your 4WD will be the safest and most capable for your trek after it’s been serviced by a professional 4WD mechanic. This will ensure that it’s operating at peak performance and you can trust it to get you through the rough patches.

Clean your vehicle 

You may have a great time driving through sandy beaches and muddy rivers over the weekend, but you might regret it if you don’t properly look after your vehicle afterwards. A thorough cleaning of the undercarriage with a high-pressure hose is the best way to ensure that none of your car’s essential mechanical components will seize up later down the track.

Check your tyre pressure 

A decent trick that not all new 4WD owners know is that you may want to slightly decrease the pressure in your tyres before you attempt any difficult or interesting terrain. This will give you more grip and more control over your vehicle’s movement.

Be Prepared for Different Terrain 

Every new terrain you attempt in your 4WD will present different challenges for you to overcome – that’s the fun of the activity! Here’s some basic tips and tricks you should know for some of the more common environments you will encounter while four-wheel driving.

Deep Water

One of the most common obstacles you may find when on an offroad adventure is deep water. Traversing deep water can be particularly hazardous for you and your vehicle if you don’t know how to approach it safely. To begin with, you need to make sure that your air intake will stay above the waterline, otherwise you risk seriously harming your engine. (This is where standard 4×4 accessories like snorkels can make your life much simpler.)

You should also assess the river bed itself and the point on the other side of the crossing where you’re planning to drive out. Make sure they aren’t too sandy or muddy, or you might find yourself stuck.


Inside a deep ditch or a rut, go slowly and be mindful of the lowest point of your 4WD whenever you make any manoeuvres. Let your wheels guide you to where they want to go (while staying in control) and only ever cross a ditch at an angle, to avoid trapping or damaging a tyre.


Driving on sand can be a lot of fun, but it can also be tricky if you don’t know the proper tips. Start by lowering the pressure of your tyres (between 20–60psi) and only drive on firm, wetter sand that can support the weight of your 4WD. If you’re driving with a friend, avoid their tyre tracks and chart your own path, to avoid getting stuck in theirs.

Momentum is the key to getting across sand quickly – if you brake too quickly or stop, your wheels may need to be dug out of the sand. 

If you have any concerns about your 4WD, or just want to make sure that it’s in perfect condition for your action-packed weekend of off-roading, chat to an expert 4×4 mechanic at Hi-Mech Auto Solutions today. Give our experienced team a call at (07) 4696 7116, or fill in our online contact form.