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Getting ready for off-road trip

Many owners of SUVs for the autumn and winter period want to improve possibilities of the cars, to increase their possibility, to equip with the equipment which will help with close conditions. It also is clear, knowing, in what turn in the fall and in the winter the provincial roads which did not learn asphalt surfacing. We hope, our councils will help such car owners.


If you do not intend to go by the SUV only on lack of roads, avoid temptation immediately to turn the car into similarity of the professional all-terrain vehicle. At first learn to use as much as possible all opportunities which in it are already put by designers, and only then be engaged in retrofitting.

The easiest way to improve off-road abilities – to establish tires with effective grousers. The first step – tires with marking of “All Terrain” which potential is defined as 50 on 50 percent of asphalt and lack of roads. Many of them have not only a special tread pattern, but also two-layer composition of rubber mix which at the basis is made more rigid; a high-strength design of a framework, the strengthened sidewalls… And it is possible to pick up such type of rubber which will allow to feel more surely on lack of roads and at the same time will not bring you discomfort at the movement on asphalt.

By the way, often car owners are nonplused by the fact that all season tires of “All Terrain” are positioned in our country only as summer models, despite marking of “M+S” (Mud and Snow), that is “dirt and snow”. Actually it is policy of reinsurance when the producer relieves from himself legal responsibility for operation of such tires in the winter. However in deep snow, on a hover ground or the stony soil large grousers are much more effective, than a set of tiny lamels and grooves, and the composition of rubber is picked up so that does not turn on cold into plastic, but also is not erased on asphalt like an eraser. In the city these tires are quite safe if to be very cautious with a speed, to hold a distance and to be accurate in turns.

Keep in mind that professional off-road tires hardly suit for a daily driving in the city. If radial models with the Mud Terrain index still allow to reach with small similarity of comfort to the wood or a field, tires with a diagonal arrangement of a cord on asphalt are suitable only for short throws between mud sites. Maximum speed of diagonal tires is small – on average 140 km/h, and models with “tractor” drawing and that have less. These wheels because of especially rugged construction are very heavy – the unsprung masses, from here nasty dynamics and smoothness of the course increase. Besides such tires cannot almost be balanced, and the specific tread pattern negatively influences controllability.

Another thing to consider if you use your car not only for off-road but in your daily life then you should take care of your seats as they will get dirty and damaged during off-road trip. That is why most offroaders are recommending to pick seat covers made from neoprene as they are doing the best job to protect your car seats from possible damages during the trip.

As for rims, steel models best of all are suitable for regular trips on lack of roads. Elastic and flexible steel serves as the additional shock-absorber – blows and pushes are not so rigidly transferred to the suspender, tires suffer less. And as a last resort there is a chance to correct a disk in field conditions a normal sledge hammer.

Often, to increase possibility of the car on the unsteady soil, from wheels pit air for increase in the area of a spot of contact, but there is a risk that the tire will come off a disk. For an insurance occasionally use the device under the name beadlock – a big flat ring which fastens to outer side of a disk. The outside board of a tire is put on directly it, and from above by means of bolts pressed one more such ring, forming peculiar “sandwich”.

Got stuck?

The all-wheel drive and toothy tires did not help? We start rescuing ourselves. First of all something occurs to enclose under the slipping wheels. Here by the way there will be sendtrak – profiled metal strips about one and a half meters long. They are enclosed under wheels and carry out a role of peculiar caterpillars. But as designs quite large, for their transportation it is necessary to establish a luggage carrier on a car roof.

But there are also portable options – folding plastic tracks. And the simplest means which too will help with such situation, – special rubber blankets which in a non-working state roll.


In many cases (especially in the winter) there are effective antisliding wheel chains which modern models are established even on the got stuck wheels in only a few minutes. Exist as universal models for soil, snow and ice, and specialized for a specific covering. Alternative to chains – so-called “spiders”. In the fall they can even be more effective than chains as dirt and slush, jamming under tapes, raise them and do similar to blades. By the way, tires “All Terrain” in combination with chains or “spiders” – good alternative to professional off-road tires.

Sat down terribly? Then it is necessary to raise above the car to enclose under it tracks or at least branches. In this situation will help out the special pneumatic jack (or air jack) representing a strong cylinder which is pumped up by the fulfilled gases from exhaust pipe. It without special work raises the heavy full-size SUV. Because of low pressure on a surface of air jack it is possible to use on fragile and loose soil. And in assembled form it takes not enough place in a luggage carrier. Minus, perhaps, one – as well as everything that is inflated with air, air jack is afraid of the sharp and cutting subjects, which in the wood in bulk – fragments of branches, snags, stones.

The most radical device for pulling of the car – the winch. Most of owners of SUVs will suit the manual mechanism – cheap, simply and compactly. The simplest unit – the lever winch which is not installed on the car, and simply fastens one end to towing hooks or loops of the car. The winch cable is reeled up on a mini-drum by means of a handle lever. In process the lever winch literally is groundless and is capable to rotate round a horizontal axis so it is possible to swing the lever in any plane. Minuses of such device – rather low power and a short rope. The ratchet winch of drum type with the rotating handle is established on the car permanently. But it is rare option as in that case car owners prefer to involve electricity instead of muscular force. Such winches are put in action by own electric motor which eats from an onboard network. They are very reliable, but too are not deprived of shortcomings. First, a heavy load on an onboard network, and at the switched-off engine – on the battery. Secondly, the electric motor does not love moisture, dirt and dust which is enough for lack of roads.

Reliable mechanical winches are put in action by the car engine. For this purpose, to a transfer box of the car (we will make a reservation that not to everyone) the special device for selection of power is connected. These winches very powerful, hardy are also insensitive to dust, water and dirt. Speed of winding of a rope can be regulated, raising or lowering engine turns. But once the motor decays, the winch becomes useless. However, separate models are supplied with the lever allowing to rotate a drum manually. Besides, mechanical winches demand the qualified installation and thus are quite expensive. So it is possible to recommend them only to real fans of lack of roads. Also there are hydraulic winches which work from a wheel hydraulic actuator. Are very unpretentious and reliable, but thus differ in the smallest speed of taking-up of a rope and too function only at the working engine.