Many people find the internet to be the best source for getting tips and tricks for traveling off road. There are uncountable articles on 4WD vehicles and 4WD accessories. The general rule is that you must do a lot of research before you come to a conclusion. This same rule is applicable for the misconceptions associated with 4WD vehicles. We have chosen some of these misconceptions to debunk and bust, giving you the confidence to tour our beautiful country with ease, safety and reliability.
“Grade 8.8 bolts usually break and Grade 5 bolts stretch”
This one makes very little sense to all those who have ever fitted accessories like a Bullbar or side steps. The theory behind it states that since grade 8.8 bolts have a higher tensile strength, they will become brittle and break. In the case of bolts, higher the tensile strength provides greater resistance to fatigue, allowing for them to stay tight for longer periods of time. With the example of a bullbar, the tensile strength is tested to find the best result, and it tends to be 8.8, as they are resistant to fatigue, but are not too brittle. In reality, grade 8.8 bolts are up to fifty percent stronger than grade 5 bolts. Hence, the theory that grade 5 bolt will adapt to stress is baseless.
“High pressure in tire can cut through mud”
The myth states that if you put more air in your tires, it will enhance traction in mud due to the sidewall bulge. What is important to remember here is that the sidewalls are not considerably inflated when air in the tires is increased. In order to make a considerable difference, you may have to put air in tires to the extent that would make them burst. For more traction, you need to investigate and experiment with pressure for the specific tyre size you have. Lower is better as creates a longer surface area which is I contact with the ground. You may also find that wider tyres can improve your performance in mud dramatically.
“Avoid brakes when going downhill”
The so called logic behind this one is that by applying brakes on a steep slope, you will slide uncontrollably. However, going in a high speed downhill can bring disastrous results, especially off road. The only way to slow down and remain safe is to apply brakes, but you can also gear down to let the engine slow you down. There is no need to slam on the brakes. You can easily keep your vehicle stable with controlled pressure on the pedal. In the end your safety is more valuable than a set of brakes.
“Prefer to go down in neutral mode?”
Many people feel that descending while keeping your vehicle neutral would keep them safe. Never try this technique! When you descend in neutral, you remove all the braking power of your engine, and therefore increase the possibility of lock up, and a chance to throw off the weight balance of your vehicle at the same time. Always traverse steep hills slowly and in a low gear to avoid putting yourself in danger.
“Coil-overs have no comparison with leaf springs”
The big misconception with leaf springs is that they aremostly stiff and uncomfortable, and that their main use is for hauling purposes with heavy loads. This is certainly not true, and with technological advancement always pushing forward, the quality of leaf springs is always climbing. Leaf springs can produce a lot of travel if configured correctly, they tend to perform quite well off-road, and with a high quality shock absorber, leaf springs can be just as comfortable as a coil or coil-over.
Don’t let anyone fool you. Always seek expert advice to clarify any of your doubts.