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How To Maneuver Through A Sandy Terrain

Sometimes driving can lead us to very sandy terrain where getting stuck is inevitable. The challenge is how do we go past this densely sandy ground when there’s no alternative route to follow? This trick always helps and will certainly be a life-saver for you.

The first thing to do in any kind of vehicle is to let the air out of the tyres. Drop the pressure to levels way, way too low to use on tarred road. Twelve to 15 psi is good—less if you have narrow, high-profile tyres. This increases the tyre’s footprint, allowing it to float over the sand instead of digging a trench.

When you’re driving on the sand, avoid sharp corners. Wheels trying to turn take a lot more to push through the sand than ones going straight. If you start to get stuck, straighten the wheels out until you get going again. Then you can try and turn. If that means backing up, shoveling the trenches back in and trying again, fine.

If you do lose forward motion, don’t spin the tyres until you’ve dug halfway into sand. Back gingerly out. A floor mat, some branches or even a chunk of chain-link fence can get you started again. If the sandy patch is short and there’s water nearby, wetting down the path will make the sand grains stick together enough to lift the tyre over instead of digging in. Don’t try this with your drinking water if you’re far from fresh water.

Note that cars with Front Wheel Drives (FWD) will dig in almost instantly on loose sand. Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) cars do a little better—but there’s no substitute for Four Wheel Drives (4WD).  A proper part-time 4WD system with a low range and a locked center differential will get through almost any beach. If you’ve got a full-time All Wheel Drive (AWD) road car, you can do a limited amount of deep sand cruising, but there’s probably not a lot of ground clearance. More importantly, low gear isn’t really low enough, and you stand the chance of overheating the transmission by grunting along at low speeds.

About Nonso Okafor

I've worked as a technical support representative in major auto centers in Nigeria for more than twenty years. I have dealt with a variety of problems in my capacity as a customer service representative and auto diagnostics expert. I'm committed to assisting people in properly maintaining their automobiles and in appreciating this magnificent innovation known as an automobile.

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