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When you think of four-wheel driving your first thought will probably be of a 4X4 hammering through a big mud hole with lots of spray either side. While heading bush is a lot more than just mud, it proves to be a massive drawcard for a lot of enthusiasts. However, while it may seem to be a lot of fun, it can be damaging to both the track and your vehicle.

Here's everything you need to know so you don't get stuck in the mud

HOW TO DRIVE IN MUD

GUIDE

WORDS BY JOSH NEEDS

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PREPARATION
Before diving into a muddy puddle or clay-based track, you want to make sure your vehicle is prepared to handle it. The first point of preparation to offer yourself better odds of making it through unscathed is providing your 4WD with a better set of boots. Whatever your personal brand choice is aside, you want to have either an all-terrain or ideally a mud-terrain to have any chance of getting up a muddy track. All-terrain tyres, while better than your standard passenger highway terrain, won't offer as much grip as a mud-terrain. This is due to a closer tread pattern designed to give both added grip off-road but better on-road ride and handling compared to the aggressive and therefore noisy mud-terrain. Also, keep an eye out for a light truck compound tyre to provide the added strength you may need when out on the tracks.

Having the correct tyres is one thing, but knowing how to use them is another. No matter how good the tread is on your brand new mud claws if you're running them at 40 psi, you're still going to struggle. Mud is an extremely low traction surface so you want as much help as you can so make sure you lower your tyre pressure. The perfect pressure varies from vehicle to vehicle and tyre to tyre, but a good starting point is around the 18-20 psi.

The last thing before you go diving into the mud is to make sure you have your traction aids all ready to go and switched on. If you're driving a newer 4X4, make sure to switch it into its ‘mud' mode, if not put it in low range and disable traction control as it will slow you down due to the low traction surface.

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THE DRIVING
Lying beneath the muddy water, waiting to capture your 4WD is an array of obstacles but foremost a lack of traction. Therefore, to hopefully avoid having to climb out a window, we've all been there, or having to do the dreaded dive for the recovery point, you need to make sure of one thing. Momentum. Momentum comes from intelligent throttle control of your vehicle to make sure you keep going. That Newton fellow was right about momentum and forces, you need momentum otherwise the mud, lack of traction, and weight of your 4WD will act against you, and you will be brought to rest, stuck.

However, smart throttle control does not mean foot to the floor, and away you go, that's a sure-fire way to go nowhere and dig yourself a hole. Or if you do get going, you'll soon realise why it's better to take it a bit calmer, spinning your 4WD when it recognises you have no traction beneath you. However, if you go too soft, your 4WD will stop wherever the traction stops.

When driving on bush tracks the rule of thumb is to remain on the track, if there are wheel ruts in the mud stick to them. Yes, your ride may not be as comfortable, but there is a reason why they are there, there's traction. If you want to go driving up on the high middle and edge, be careful, you'll end up in trouble sliding back into the ruts with a bang, potentially damaging your vehicle. If you think the mud to the side of the road looks trouble-free, it's invariably not. Like a Siren's call, the smoothness and undisturbed nature may attract you, but once you're there, you're stuck because of the soft underbelly. For the most part, stay to the track because it usually has some road base underneath the muddy exterior.

GETTING STUCK
Getting stuck is inevitable, especially when mud driving. However, its what you do once you're stuck that can make or break the rest of your day. The first and most important rule is once your momentum is stopped stop. Don't sit there spinning the wheels thinking it will miraculously pull you through; this is how minor bogs turn into major ones, sitting there digging yourself even deeper. If you get stuck immediately go into reverse and see if you can reverse back out to some solid ground. You're more likely to go backwards than forwards as the track you've driven previously is compacted and should offer some additional traction. If this doesn't prove fruitful, your first point of call should be your traction aids, such as traction boards, to see if it can encourage your 4X4 free. If not, winching or a snatch strap recovery is your next step. However, in mud, your 4X4 may be stuck due to bellying out. If this is the case, it causes a large suction effect meaning what should be a light recovery, turns into a difficult one. If a light snatch recovery doesn't work, keyword light, it means it’s time to break out the shovel to dig clear the belly of your 4X4. Your other option is to jack your vehicle up; however, using a regular hi-lift jack can prove difficult in muddy conditions.

THE AFTER EFFECT
Once you've had your fun in the mud looking after your 4WD is essential. First and foremost, make sure you give it a good clean when you can. Having mud and dirt sitting on your trusty stead isn't great for it no matter how ‘cool' it may look. Baked on crusty mud can damage your paintwork and accelerate the chance of rust, while mechanical components such as brakes and bearings hate mud. So make sure you clean the underside of your vehicle as well!

GUIDE

Here's everything you need to know so you don't get stuck in the mud

HOW TO DRIVE IN MUD

WORDS BY JOSH NEEDS

When you think of four-wheel driving your first thought will probably be of a 4X4 hammering through a big mud hole with lots of spray either side. While heading bush is a lot more than just mud, it proves to be a massive drawcard for a lot of enthusiasts. However, while it may seem to be a lot of fun, it can be damaging to both the track and your vehicle.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

PREPARATION
Before diving into a muddy puddle or clay-based track, you want to make sure your vehicle is prepared to handle it. The first point of preparation to offer yourself better odds of making it through unscathed is providing your 4WD with a better set of boots. Whatever your personal brand choice is aside, you want to have either an all-terrain or ideally a mud-terrain to have any chance of getting up a muddy track. All-terrain tyres, while better than your standard passenger highway terrain, won't offer as much grip as a mud-terrain. This is due to a closer tread pattern designed to give both added grip off-road but better on-road ride and handling compared to the aggressive and therefore noisy mud-terrain. Also, keep an eye out for a light truck compound tyre to provide the added strength you may need when out on the tracks.

Having the correct tyres is one thing, but knowing how to use them is another. No matter how good the tread is on your brand new mud claws if you're running them at 40 psi, you're still going to struggle. Mud is an extremely low traction surface so you want as much help as you can so make sure you lower your tyre pressure. The perfect pressure varies from vehicle to vehicle and tyre to tyre, but a good starting point is around the 18-20 psi.

The last thing before you go diving into the mud is to make sure you have your traction aids all ready to go and switched on. If you're driving a newer 4X4, make sure to switch it into its ‘mud' mode, if not put it in low range and disable traction control as it will slow you down due to the low traction surface.

ADVERTISEMENT

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

THE DRIVING
Lying beneath the muddy water, waiting to capture your 4WD is an array of obstacles but foremost a lack of traction. Therefore, to hopefully avoid having to climb out a window, we've all been there, or having to do the dreaded dive for the recovery point, you need to make sure of one thing. Momentum. Momentum comes from intelligent throttle control of your vehicle to make sure you keep going. That Newton fellow was right about momentum and forces, you need momentum otherwise the mud, lack of traction, and weight of your 4WD will act against you, and you will be brought to rest, stuck.

However, smart throttle control does not mean foot to the floor, and away you go, that's a sure-fire way to go nowhere and dig yourself a hole. Or if you do get going, you'll soon realise why it's better to take it a bit calmer, spinning your 4WD when it recognises you have no traction beneath you. However, if you go too soft, your 4WD will stop wherever the traction stops.

When driving on bush tracks the rule of thumb is to remain on the track, if there are wheel ruts in the mud stick to them. Yes, your ride may not be as comfortable, but there is a reason why they are there, there's traction. If you want to go driving up on the high middle and edge, be careful, you'll end up in trouble sliding back into the ruts with a bang, potentially damaging your vehicle. If you think the mud to the side of the road looks trouble-free, it's invariably not. Like a Siren's call, the smoothness and undisturbed nature may attract you, but once you're there, you're stuck because of the soft underbelly. For the most part, stay to the track because it usually has some road base underneath the muddy exterior.

GETTING STUCK
Getting stuck is inevitable, especially when mud driving. However, its what you do once you're stuck that can make or break the rest of your day. The first and most important rule is once your momentum is stopped stop. Don't sit there spinning the wheels thinking it will miraculously pull you through; this is how minor bogs turn into major ones, sitting there digging yourself even deeper. If you get stuck immediately go into reverse and see if you can reverse back out to some solid ground. You're more likely to go backwards than forwards as the track you've driven previously is compacted and should offer some additional traction. If this doesn't prove fruitful, your first point of call should be your traction aids, such as traction boards, to see if it can encourage your 4X4 free. If not, winching or a snatch strap recovery is your next step. However, in mud, your 4X4 may be stuck due to bellying out. If this is the case, it causes a large suction effect meaning what should be a light recovery, turns into a difficult one. If a light snatch recovery doesn't work, keyword light, it means it’s time to break out the shovel to dig clear the belly of your 4X4. Your other option is to jack your vehicle up; however, using a regular hi-lift jack can prove difficult in muddy conditions.

THE AFTER EFFECT
Once you've had your fun in the mud looking after your 4WD is essential. First and foremost, make sure you give it a good clean when you can. Having mud and dirt sitting on your trusty stead isn't great for it no matter how ‘cool' it may look. Baked on crusty mud can damage your paintwork and accelerate the chance of rust, while mechanical components such as brakes and bearings hate mud. So make sure you clean the underside of your vehicle as well!