TJM Top 4wdriving TIPS

These quality 4WDriving Tips have been selected for your safety and information

AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES

Once your vehicle has been fitted with quality aftermarket accessories, if you use these products as intended we recommend you regularly check or service them. This will limit the possibility of a breakdown or failure of components due to the harshness of terrain or climate. At TJM, we advise you to return approximately 500km after fitting accessories where we check and re tension everything previously fitted. We have found from many years of experience travelling in remote parts of our country that correct fitment and preventive maintenance are the best recipe for happy and enjoyable 4WD travels.

electric winches

After buying an electric winch, it is good practice to run the winch rope out and back in under tension, every 3 months. This will stop the electric motor and other electrical components from possible damage from moisture content. All electric winches should be fully serviced every other year, or before going on a trip where you may require the winch. Winches are not 100% water proof (even the winches that claim to be water proof will suffer water ingress or moisture problems in time). By following the above tip your winch can last as long as your vehicle.

packing your vehicle

Packing and securing gear correctly in your vehicle is very important and will avoid the load moving around on rough roads and corrugations, or worse still, becoming a projectile in the case of an accident. If you have a wagon, we strongly recommend fitting a cargo barrier to protect your passengers and yourself from shifting cargo. A cargo barrier enables you to load the rear of your wagon above seat level safely and offers more options to tie items down securely. Roller drawer systems are a great option as they allow easy access storage of many items; tools, recovery and camping gear. Most importantly don’t forget to securely tie your fridge down and make sure the contents are all packed in tightly so they don’t vibrate and spill over the corrugations. 

For tray back utes and utes with canopies, we recommend the fitment of as many tie down points as possible and the use of a cargo net to restrain your load, or better yet is a storage drawer system.  Finally, just like the fridge you need to pack everything tightly in boxes and even wrap in rags or foam to save it from vibrations on corrugations that cause damage. Particularly cans, bottles and cardboard containers like UHT milk.

don't overload your vehicle

We don’t plan to overload our vehicles, it just happens!!  All those items we “must“ take really add up and that’s before we add our own weights to the mix. You will learn after a few long trips, that there are a lot of items that you don't really need. The clothes you never wore, the 20 tins of canned food you didn't use. The lighter your vehicle is, the better the fuel economy and the easier it is on the tyres and suspension. The old saying of experienced travelers is: "If it doesn’t have two uses, don't need it". However sometimes, excess weight can’t be trimmed. This is where the need for a GVM (gross vehicle mass) upgrade arises.

To make life easier when travelling, try to pack things that you use regularly in easy to access places. This applies to lunch stops in particular. Roller drawer systems in wagons and utes solve this issue amazingly well.

To make life easier when travelling, try to pack things that you use regularly in easy to access places.  This applies to lunch stops in particular.  Roller drawer systems in wagons and utes solve this issue amazingly well.

the two minute check

When you're out travelling, do a two-minute check of your vehicle every morning. This will give you peace of mind and you will be surprised how many larger problems can be avoided by that quick look. 

Check under the bonnet, fluid levels, tell-tale dust signs of leaks, check belts, hoses and cabling and give the batteries a shake to check they are secure. A vibrating battery will have a very short life. Depending on how dusty it is, check your air filter and give it a dust off. 

Check under the vehicle to make sure that everything looks secure and there’s no tell-tale fluid leaks; taking particular notice of exhaust mounts, bushes and shocks. After a few days of doing the two-minute check, you will be able to notice any obvious differences. It’s a good idea to run a spanner around all the obvious suspension, body and bar work bolts. Also check that your drive lights and aerials are tight and secure.

Check the wheel nuts are tight and the tyres for pressure and for any cuts or damage. Lastly if you are towing check the tow ball securing nut, safety chains, electrical cabling and underneath the chassis.

A tool roll also makes it simple to carry your most commonly used tools in an easy to access location.

tyre pressure

There is a lot of information available regarding tyre pressures - so let's keep it simple here. As every vehicle is different depending on its load, looking at the bulge in your tyres front and rear will give you a fair idea. If you run 36-40psi on the highway, when you get to dirt roads and further outback, lower your tyres by 5-8psi for better ride quality and far less chance of punctures. For the 4WD specifc, slower speed tracks, lower by another 5psi to 25-28psi for better traction and less tyre damage.

For very sandy tracks and beaches try 18-20psi in front and match the bulge of the rear tyre to it.  If you find you are bogging down easily in the sand, lower by another 2-3psi. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes to your progress. Remember to restrict your speed to under 40kph at these low pressures.

Most importantly, carry a quality high output compressor in a handy to access location in your vehicle.  This will make pumping your tyres back up once you get to firmer ground far easier. 

carrying fruit and vegies

Fruit and vegetables are difficult items to carry on any trip, however with a bit of preplanning and a designated area to carry them in your vehicle, you can help to keep them fresh and minimise spoiling.  Choose the coolest part of the vehicle, away from direct sun beating through the windows and away from hot floors caused by the exhaust. Wrap all vegetables and fruit separately in newspaper to insulate them from each other as they get pounded on corrugated roads. It sounds a bit laborious but well worth the effort to maximise the life of your fresh food. When you use fresh items, return the newspaper to the container to keep the other items secure, or for restocking.

uhf radio reception

UHF Radio technology has advanced significantly over the past 5 years. Most quality brands such as GME and Uniden have Digital Signal processing which allows RF and audio processing techniques that produce infinitely clearer reception. Like tyres there are many brands of UHF radios available now, but the quality brands significantly out perform in their reception and transmission capability.

We generally find a 6dBi gain antenna is the best for all round performance.  This is why we recommend a daily check to ensure that your aerial is tight on the base mount as this is the most common cause of poor reception. 

campfire etiquette

We all love a campfire! You just can't beat sitting by a campfire at night with friends and a drink, staring at the bush tele and the stars.

Sadly, in many locations these fire pits are scarring the landscape. At most locations you travel to you will find an existing fire pit. Please try to use and reuse this area. Don't make a new one if you can avoid it. Where possible, we recommend digging out the existing firepit or if required digging a new fire hole approx 40cm wide x 1m long by 20 - 30cm deep. This allows one end of your fire pit to be a cooking fire with a piece of mesh or folding hotplate to cook on and boil the billy. The other end is your fire to sit by and is nicely retained by the dirt from the hole.

Please don't try to burn cans and bottles. If you can carry it in, you can carry it out. Pick up any other rubbish left by others that you can easily carry, lets help clean up Australia.

Firewood can be scarce at many campsites so try to collect your wood before you arrive at camp. Remember, a big fire isn't always warmer, you just end up sitting further away and burning more wood.

Most importantly, remember to properly extinguish your campfire in the morning and fill your dug fire pit in. In many cases no one will know you ever had a fire there.

Slow down and take in the ambiance!

You are on holidays and have probably spent many months planning and pouring over your Hema Navigator and Atlas, then travelled a long way to get to your destination area, whether it be the Cape, Central Australia, the Simpson or the Kimberleys. So slow down and maximise your time and see all there is to see in this fantastic country. Remember to drive to road conditions and slow down for approaching vehicles on dirt roads to minimise windscreen and bodywork stone damage. Lastly also take the time to adjust your tyres to suit the conditions, they only take a few minutes to pump back up when you get to the bitumen again.

Most importantly
ENJOY YOURSELF!

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