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Whoops! Avoidance

Group Travels
Kevin McNulty | Writer
Posted April 1, 2010

How To Keep Your Rig In One Piece-Maybe!

So you've noticed that we feature and write tech on well-beaten, dented, and scratched 4x4s. We have to admit it's our thing! But we don't intentionally beat up and roll rigs; the fact is that the staff wholeheartedly believes that four-wheel-drive vehicles are manufactured to be used on and off road. Through years of off-roading, testing, casual four-wheeling, and adventures, we experience a whoops here and there, so we wanted to share some tips on how to keep you a little safer and your rig somewhat decent and straight-maybe!

Sometimes there's just no way around a trail accident. Common sense plays the largest role in keeping you and your 4x4 safe. If an obstacle looks so dangerous that a vehicle could sustain damage, it more than likely will. Our vehicles look the way they do because we aren't afraid to use them and we do it safely. If your four-wheel machine has to stay pretty and needs weekly pampering like bubble baths, waxing, and a slathering of shiny crap on the tires, our advice to you is to leave that pretty thing in the garage.

One of the best and easiest ways to ensure that you don't destroy your rig with a drivetrain whoops is to make sure you check all fluid levels, belts, and hoses before you hit the trail or mud fields. A few minutes of basic vehicle maintenance go a long way in preserving the longevity and dependability of your 4x4.

Most accidents occur due to lack of off-road experience and driving ability. If you are unfamiliar with driving extreme terrain or would like to know more about the basics of off-highway adventure, spend some time on the trail with an experience four-wheeler or attend an off-road driving course in your area. Check out www.4x4training.com.

Snow wheeling is one of the most dangerous and challenging forms of four-wheeling. Vehicles easily get stuck, leaving driver and passenger vulnerable to winter weather. Never travel in the snow alone, and make sure someone knows where you are, where you're headed, and when you expect to arrive.

Water crossing is difficult and dangerous. Never enter any river you are unfamiliar with. Make sure it isn't deeper than the intake of your vehicle, because swamping your engine compartment is a great way to hydrolock and ruin an engine.

We always recommend hitting the trail with others, never alone. Wheeling in numbers is much safer, and helping hands make a sticky situation better.


You don't need to wear a helmet in 4x4s unless you're wheeling in extremely dangerous conditions or in competition. However, when riding ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, or any other off-road contraption, make sure you protect your noggin.

If you have a teen driver in the house, make sure you can trust him when he heads to the local mud. Strange things can happen to the family car!


Be prepared for anything at all times. Rollovers can occur in the easiest spots on the trail. Make sure all gear is secured in the vehicle so nobody is hit with flying objects, and of course wear seatbelts.

A whoops on the trail can take many forms! Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking the trail or around your vehicle. A snake or insect bite can not only ruin a trail outing but can be fatal.

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