When adventure calls, the scenic route is often the best and most exciting. It is often more perilous than a quick and easy path. You can take a highway and get to your destination extra quick, but where is the fun in that? Off-road driving follows this train of thought. Enjoy every step of the journey to get to whatever destination. It’s been said before: It’s not about the destination, but the journey.
For the more adventurous of us, off-road driving is an enjoyable hobby for those looking to relieve the stress of the daily grind. For those looking to get into the hobby, it is an uphill battle – literally. Preparation is key and mindfulness is paramount to your success. Ford Philippines shares its insights on off-roading for you to digest. These tips come from Ford Australia’s Richard Woolley. With over 30 years of experience in the Ford Motor Company, he talks off-roading and what to do with your 4x4 Ford Everest.
It is important to have the right kit for your adventure. When you’re out on the road or on the dirt, your vehicle needs to be in tip-top condition to mitigate the potential problems that may arise from pushing hard. Prepare a map or a GPS device such as your phone. With the SYNC 3 system of Ford, it comes with built-in maps and it also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can charge your phone, play music, and navigate for the journey ahead.
Even when fully prepared, it’s best not to go 4WDing alone. Always try to travel with others in case you become immovable or run out of fuel, and notify friends and family of your route before leaving town.
Mud could be a hotspot for vehicles to get stuck. Over time these tracks can get slippery over time because as vehicles pass over them their wheels carve deeper and deeper into the soft soil. Rain will make these surfaces even more challenging to go over. A Terrain Management System (TMS) would aid in this instance. A mud mode keeps the RPMs low for greater control. ABS and torque control can also minimize the wheel slippage.
On the other end of the spectrum, a rocky road is a hard surface that is typically uneven. The best way over this terrain is going at a slow and steady rate of speed. Going over this extreme terrain would be easier with the Rock-mode in the TMS.
Rock-mode maintains first gear in 4x4 Low, keeping the RPM at optimum for engine torque, plus it also softens the pedal intensity so when you’re getting bumped around over the obstacles, the vehicle will provide a smoother ride. ABS and torque transfer are also maximized to help drivers navigate the toughest terrain.
Ascending up a hill can be a bit tricky as you need to plan out your line of attack. The answer here is to plan the routes, or better yet, go down from your vehicle and inspect the ground for rocks, mud or any type of terrain that would cause your wheels to slip.
Engaging your transmission in 4x4 Low will help the vehicle maintain optimal revs and torque to gradually climb the hill. If you find yourself stopped on the slope, activating Hill Launch Assist will allow you extra time to pause and reassess the path. For tougher terrains, electronically lock your rear differential so you course your engine power to both wheels in order to keep your forward momentum.
Descending down a hill is a challenge. You have to be careful because if you lock your tires you may start sliding uncontrollably. You might end up plowing onto the rear of your companion. Engaging Hill Descent Control will let the brake system take you downhill steadily. It’s one less thing to worry about, since all you need to do is steer, and the vehicle will take care of everything else.
TMS offers an aggressive torque transfer mode that makes your acceleration inputs sharper. This helps keep the momentum needed to drive over the sand.
Driving on a sandy beach is loads of fun, but traction is lessened due to the loose nature of the terrain, so keeping momentum is key. Trying to be too aggressive will dig you into a ditch, while going too slow may bring you to a halt – it’s a fine balance of steady momentum.
After you drive, it would be wise to check your vehicle for any leftover debris or damage. Check your tires for any punctures, and also check the pressure of all – even your spare. If you’ve driven over the beach, or even a river, it is important to give your car a good wash to avoid salt from corroding the metal of the chassis and other parts.
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