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General Tire Adventure Guide for 4x4 & SUV

The modern four-wheel drive vehicle is both a lifestyle statement and a symbol of true independence. As we’ve moved away from the strictly utilitarian beginnings of the first 4x4 vehicles, people have retained their love of nature and the wilderness. Vehicle manufacturers have responded by refining all-wheel drive from its analogue beginnings. In the past, everything had to be controlled manually, accompanied by the accompanying sand and dirt, but now there are comfortable seats and electronics everywhere. For all the challenges we may encounter off-road, we now have a series of simple push-buttons to respond to them.
In order to keep up with this trend, the tire industry produces a range of special tires that cover all possible uses; from 100/0 use only on road surfaces to special tires for extreme off-road use – and of course for all uses somewhere in between these extremes.

Staying safe while driving a 4x4

You should always wear a seat belt, except when driving through deep water. All windows should be closed 2/3 of the way to keep the passengers safe in the vehicle and to protect them from branches. The only time the windows should be opened is before driving through water. Adjust your seat closer than normal to the steering wheel (approx. 60 mm) so you have a good grip on the steering wheel and a better view around the vehicle.
When driving off-road, it is important that you do not place your thumbs on the inside of the steering wheel. When driving over large ruts or potholes, the wheel may suddenly turn, causing you to bruise or even dislocate your thumb.
Four-wheel drive vehicles do not behave in the same way as conventional passenger cars when cornering. Due to the higher centre of gravity, 4x4 vehicles can tip over more easily than conventional passenger cars when cornering very fast. This applies to both gravel and paved roads.

Tire pressure for off-road vehicles

Reducing the tire pressure increases the tire's ground contact area. The pressure exerted by the tire on the surface is reduced as the weight of the vehicle is distributed over a larger area. This reduction in tire pressure leads to an improvement in traction. However, keep in mind that this will reduce ground clearance and increase the risk of damaging tire sidewalls. In addition, reducing tire inflation pressure changes the steering and handling characteristics of the vehicle.

It is important to know your vehicle from the ground up. You should even get down on your knees and take a look under your vehicle:
  • What are the lowest points?
  • What could be damaged?
  • How high are the air intakes and vents for the gearbox and differentials?
Keep these things in mind when driving off-road.

Keep your vehicle in check

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  • Start with your tires. Inspect them for any damage and check the tire pressure on the "cold" tires before driving to get a correct reading. Invest in a good measuring device and a good compressor – both are essential for safe off-road driving.
  • Make sure you carry enough fuel for the duration of your journey, taking into account that steep climbs require more fuel than average.
  • In the event of longer trips, check all fluid levels (oil, coolant and windscreen wiper system water) and keep spares with you for refilling.
  • Learn the limits of your vehicle and its accessories. Check the clearance of the bumpers, trailer couplings, underride protection plates or side steps.
  • Familiarise yourself with the different systems of your vehicle. Learn how to switch between the different four-wheel drive modes - and which situations each of these different setting modes is suitable for.
  • Make sure you know how to activate and deactivate systems such as stability control, hill descent control, differential locks Have an experienced instructor brief you on your vehicle and inform you of its possibilities and limitations. If you follow his explanations, you can enjoy your adventure experience to the maximum. If you are not sure, feel free to ask.

4x4 driving tips

Obstacles

If you encounter an obstacle, you should follow the following points:
  • Determine the entry and exit point for the obstacle.
  • Perform a visual inspection of the obstacle.
  • Make sure you select the correct gear and decide whether to use long or short gearing and whether to use the differential lock.
  • Then, decide whether your 4x4 vehicle is capable of tackling the obstacle.

Traction

Loss of traction can usually be attributed to the following things:
  • Not enough suspension travel (one wheel off the ground)
  • Using the wrong gear
  • Too much throttle
  • Wrong tire pressure
If your vehicle becomes unstable or swerves, always steer downhill and keep the throttle steady.

Ascending slopes

  • Depending on the gradient, select first or second gear with low revs.
  • Make sure your front wheels are pointing straight ahead.
  • Accelerate immediately to gain speed for the climb.
  • Reduce throttle pressure if your wheels start spinning on the climb to regain traction.
  • A combination of throttle and traction should be maintained during a climb, even more so during transitions.
  • Use only the foot brake, no clutch.
  • When the engine stops, leave the gear in the vehicle.
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Whether you’re driving on paved roads or unexplored terrain, there are no limits with General Tire. General Tire – a Continental brand with over 100 years of experience in the tire industry – is one of the leading tire manufacturers and offers reliable products for all types of vehicles. General Tire has tires for every type of terrain. You can benefit from the legendary success of the General Grabber 4x4 tread series. Choose your tires now and have them conveniently delivered to your home or workshop!