Do you know how to Drive 4x4 Off-Road Safety - JWHEEL (Part 2)

As truck ownership has increased, so has the amount of off-highway recreation. There is no special license required to drive off-road, even though there are many different techniques and practices involved. There does exist an often unspoken etiquette that is practised by old-school four-wheelers, which developed not just so that everyone can get along on the trail, but, primarily, for safety considerations.

December 01, 2022
Do you know how to Drive 4x4 Off-Road Safety - JWHEEL (Part 2)

One of the most crucial aspects to off-roading is understanding the absolute importance of tyre pressure. Among the most pertinent tyre pressure considerations in regards to summer, off-roading is utilizing optimum sand tyre pressure. Optimum sand tyre pressure is a combination of many things, of which truck-owners myths are least productive. However, your tyres, their construction methods and materials, what your car weighs, how it is loaded, and wheel width, all play into the sand-pressure tyre formula with predictable results. Why low pressure works, and how to determine your best sand pressure, follows:

It’s a simple fact, which some die-hard truckers still deny, the bigger the footprint, the softer the stuff you can travel in. Boiled down, it’s nothing more than a fact of nature. For those who say skinny, hard tyres are better for snow, mud or whatever, please tell me why they don’t use ten-speed bicycle-type tyres on snowmobiles? Sand rail people and mud boggers know big feet work better as well. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at tyre pressure and footprints.

The choice of tread pattern, otherwise known as your tyre’s footprint, is extremely important to consider during your new tyre decision-making process, and especially so if you are fitting your truck for an off-road adventure. Tread pattern should be chosen based on the intended use of your truck. The most popular tread pattern for all-around off-road use is a mud terrain pattern.


The mud terrain or mud tyre pattern is characterized by large lugs on the tyre with big voids between these lugs. The large lugs provide plenty of bite in low traction conditions while the big voids allow the tyre to clean itself by throwing off mud or other material when spinning, thus providing a good bite on every rotation of the tyre. These tyres are also very popular for rock crawling as the large lugs can provide a way of gripping and pulling the tyres up and over irregular rocky edges where a smoother pattern would just spin. The biggest disadvantage of these patterns is that they run rough and loud on the highway. To reduce this problem; choose a tyre with irregular or asymmetric spacing of the lugs and voids to reduce harmonic vibration at highway speeds. There are also situations such as light powdery snow or sand where an all-terrain pattern would be better.

The general purpose all terrain tyre generally has an interlocked tread pattern with siping (small cuts) on the tread blocks. The voids in these tyres are usually much smaller than those on tyres designed for use in the mud. The more dense pattern of blocks and smaller voids make these tyres quieter on the street. It also increases the surface area of the tread which gives the tyre improved flotation on surfaces such as light powdery snow or sand. The increased siping can be important in the snow where it is the number of edges, even quite small edges, biting into the snow that provides the traction. The downside is that the smaller voids cannot clean themselves as easily of packed mud or slush. If these voids fill up with mud the tyre loses much of its bite and traction is lost.

A variety of manufacturers also offer a family of tires sometimes called trail tyres or some similar name. These are most often tyres designed for use on light trucks or sport utility vehicles which see most of their use on the street. They will generally be quieter, get better gas mileage and last longer than either of the other off-road patterns. The tread patterns are designed to provide significantly improved comfort or performance on the street which can sometimes compromise off-road capability. Fortunately, this is the limit to which most of their intended market is likely to take them.

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