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Whether you’re driving paved roads or navigating uncharted territory in the desert, you can go anywhere with General Tire. With more than 100 years of experience in the tyre industry and as part of Continental – a leading tyre manufacturer based in Germany – General Tire delivers products you can rely on. General Tire lives up to this reputation, and will give you the skills and experience to conquer all types of terrain, and benefit from the legendary performance of the General Grabber 4x4 tyre range.

Whether you’re driving on paved roads or navigating uncharted territory General Tire offers SUV and 4x4 drivers robust and durable tyres for every application. This is one of General Tire’s core competences with its proven American heritage and exceptional performance in all types of terrain.


1 Engine
2 Gearbox
3 Prop Shaft
4 Differential (Rear Axle)

In a conventional rear-wheel drive vehicle the drive is transmitted from the gearbox to the rear prop shaft. This, in turn, sends drive to each wheel through the differential.


Four-wheel drive vehicles are typically equipped with one of three drivetrain systems: part-time 4x4, full-time 4x4 or all-wheel drive.


Selectable or part-time four-wheel drive systems allow the driver to choose between two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, depending on the driving conditions. In 2WD mode, drive is sent to the rear axle only, but in 4WD mode, drive is sent to both the front and rear axle via a transfer case.


A vehicle equipped with full-time 4WD is permanently in 4x4 mode, as typically found on spart utility vehicles (SUVs). Drive is sent to the front and rear prop shafts via a third or centre differential.

In some 4x4 models, a centre diff-lock is provided, which locks the front and rear differentials together to maximise traction on loose surfaces such as gravel roads and rough off-road terrain.

The centre diff must not be locked when driving on hard surfaces or on the road. As the front wheels rotate at different speeds relative to the rear wheels when cornering, it's essential to have the centre diff in the open position. This allows the drive to be sent to the wheels with the least resistance.

1 Differential (Front Axle)
2 Front Prop
3 Transfer Gearbox
4 Gearbox
5 Rear Prop Shaft
6 Differential (Rear Axle)

All-Wheel Drive

All-wheel drive (AWD) systems are typically used in so-called soft-roader or crossover vehicles which are primarily designed for on-road use. Although they don't have a low-range transfer case, AWD vehicles feature a measure of off-road ability with increased ground clearance and the benefit of added traction for slippery conditions.

In normal on-road use the drive is primarily sent to either the front or rear wheels. When a significant difference between front and rear wheel speeds is detected, the system relies on a viscous coupling to automatically transfer drive to the wheels with more traction.

In some models, the driver can switch from "4x4 Auto" mode, as above, to "4x4 Lock" which locks the centre differential to split the drive evenly between the front and rear axles.

Alternately, electronic systems are used in some vehicles to brake and reduce power to wheels with the least traction, thus directing more drive to wheels with greater grip. Unlike conventional mechanical 4x4 systems, electronic or traction- control based systems require a different driving approach in tricky off-road terrain.

Where reducing power to regain traction is suggested for proper 4x4s, electronic-based systems rely on the steady application of power to maximise the efficacy of the braking and traction control functions.


The primary function of a differential (or “diff”) is to allow wheels to turn at different speeds in corners. When turning, all four wheels on a vehicle follow a slightly different radius – and thus, travel at different speeds. An “open” differential sends drive to the axle with the least resistance.

A differential lock ensures that each side of the diff receives equal amounts of drive – and this can apply to a centre diff-lock, the common rear diff-lock, or even a front diff-lock on certain vehicles. As both wheels are effectively locked together, and rotate at the samespeed, traction on loose or uneven surfaces is maximised.

The diff-lock, which can be fitted on both 4x2 and 4x4 vehicles, should be engaged prior to driving into situations where traction is likely to be lost, but it’s essential to disengage the diff-lock when travelling on hard surfaces, or when cornering.


Besides the conventional gearbox that transmits torque to the driven wheels in normal driving conditions, most 4x4 vehicles rely on a two-speed transfer gearbox for serious off-road driving. This may be engaged by means of a transfer gear lever or, more commonly, via an electronic switch.

The main functions of the transfer box are:

  • To send drive to the rear and front prop shafts, as required
  • To allow either "High" or "Low"

In the case of a part-time 4x4, the following options are available:

  • High-range 4x2 (2H)
  • High-range 4x4 (4H)
  • Low-range 4x4 (4L)

Full-time 4x4 vehicles offer these selections:

  • High-range 4x4
    (with centre diff open / locked – if fitted)
  • Low-range 4x4
    (with centre diff open / locked – if fitted)

High-Range 4x4

Four-wheel drive high-range should be engaged when encountering soft or slippery conditions, such as sand, dirt or muddy roads where traction is compromised.

However, this should not be used when driving on-road or on hard surfaces.

On part-time 4x4 vehicles, changing to 4x4 involves shifting from 2H to 4H which can often be done on the move with “shift-on-the-fly” systems.

Full-time four-wheel drive vehicles have 4x4 permanently engaged with the option of locking the centre diff for increased stability.

Low-Range 4x4

Selecting low-range can only be done when the vehicle is stationary. In low-range, the gearing is reduced to approximately 2:1 depending on the vehicle. This effectively halves the vehicle speed but doubles the torque compared to the high-range ratios.

Low-range should be engaged in difficult conditions where it’s essential to drive at low speeds, including rough or rocky terrain, steep gradients or where maximum torque is required.

Choosing the ideal gear for any particular situation comes with experience, but typically pulling off in second gear is recommended, as first gear low-range is extremely short and could cause unnecessary wheelspin. The accelerator must be applied carefully due to the high-torque nature of the gearing.

Changing gears while traversing an obstacle, or tackling steep gradients, is not recommended, as it could result in a loss of control.

When encountering unknown or difficult sections be sure to conduct a preliminary inspection of the route on foot to determine the best possible lines, and reduce the risk of getting stuck or damaging the vehicle.


The main functions of a vehicle’s suspension are to control the vertical wheel movement and to maintain contact with the ground.

Suspension systems vary depending on the vehicle manufacturer, model and its intended application, with the aim of achieving the ideal compromise between on-road comfort and stability versus good off-road performance – the latter usually measured in suspension articulation.

There are two main types of suspension systems for 4x4 vehicles, comprising independent or solid axle suspensions.

Independent Suspension

As the name implies, an independent suspension allows each wheel to move independently of the opposite side wheel and is commonly used all-round on SUVs, or on the front axle on light commercial vehicles. This ensures good road holding, comfort, handling and stability due to a low unsprung weight and a lowered engine position for improved centre of gravity.

Although an independent suspension offers excellent wheel travel and axle articulation its design results in variable ground clearance relative to the differential. The wheels rise as they hit a bump, however the diff remains in the same relative position, effectively reducing the ground clearance. This is more likely to result in the vehicle bottoming out over uneven terrain. It is also a complex system with several exposed moving parts that could be prone to damage during extreme off-road driving.


  • Low unsprung weight
  • Excellent axle articulation and wheel travel for maximum traction
  • Low floor and engine mounting position
  • Improved comfort, road-holding and handling


  • Complex construction, expensive to manufacture
  • Increased chance bottoming out – particularly centre-mounted rear differential
  • Exposed moving parts prone to damage in rough terrain

Solid Beam Axle


  • Simple, strong and less expensive to produce
  • Robust and capable of carrying heavy loads
  • Relatively easy to repair
  • Optimal clearance over rough terrain


  • High unsprung weight, compromised handling
  • Heavy-duty leaf springs result in bumpy ride and reduced comfort
  • Wheel articulation limited by rigid axle

Often referred to as a solid beam, rigid or live axle suspension, this configuration is tried and tested for light, medium and heavy vehicle applications. It is found on the rear of most pick-ups or “bakkies” matched to leaf springs that take the place of the coil springs used in an independent suspension – however coil springs may also be used to provide a smoother ride.

The wheels are connected by means of a solid axle. Accordingly, when one wheel moves up, the opposite wheel moves down, thereby maintaining clearance below the axle over rough ground. While this is an advantage in 4x4 conditions, the weight of the entire axle and diff constantly moving with any bumps leads to a rougher ride compared to an independent suspension.

As all the moving parts are enclosed in the axle casing, they are protected from impact and damage when driving off-road. The solid axle is extremely robust and can handle heavier loads than an independent setup.

Vehicle Dimensions and Limitations

The better you know your 4x4, the greater your understanding of its abilities – and yours – when driving off-road. This will enable you to arrive safely and reduce the risk of damaging your vehicle.

It’s essential to understand the following terms, what they mean and how they apply when traversing rugged terrain and tackling obstacles. Remember that all of these measurements will be impacted when tyre pressures are reduced, or the vehicle is heavily laden:

  • Axle clearance
  • Chassis clearance
  • Approach and departure angles
  • Ramp angle

Attack and Ramp Angles:

As a fundamental part of off-road driving, it’s essential to know what the maximum angle of attack is for your vehicle when approaching an obstacle, and the maximum departure angle is when exiting the obstacle – the latter often negatively impacted by accessories such as a towbar or tow hitch. The break-over or ramp angle is equally important, and dictates the maximum angle that a vehicle can drive over without the apex of the obstacle touching the chassis or underbody.

The type of terrain you are facing plays an important role in your decision-making. Jagged terrain, for example, poses significant risk to the under- carriage with many opportunities for damage to components located underneath the vehicle.

Wading Depth and Ground Clearance

Wading Depth

Off-road driving often involves negotiating water and river crossings. It’s critical that you know what the maximum wading depth of your vehicle is to ensure safe passage without incurring damage.

Wading depth refers to the maximum water depth it is safe to take your vehicle to. It doesn’t only account for the height of your air intake, but also that of the breathers for the axles and gearbox, plus any electronics – hence having a snorkel fitted is unlikely to result in any increase in wading depth.

Be sure to walk the route first and assess the water depth.

Ground Clearance

Keep in mind that the lowest point on any vehicle is usually the differential, so that should be considered when venturing off-road and, in particular, when trying to avoid obstacles such as rocks and boulders.

Maximum Gradient / Roll-Over Angle

This refers to the maximum angle of the gradient that the vehicle can be driven up safely while maintaining safety and traction on all four wheels. The roll-over angle is the point at which a vehicle is likely to topple over when driving on a steep side slope. Both angles will change significantly when the vehicle is heavily loaded – particularly when a roof rack is fitted.


When facing an obstacle, the driver should pay attention to the following:

  • Entry and exit point for the obstacle
  • Make a visual inspection of the obstacle
  • Ensure correct gear selection and use of high or low-range and diff-lock
  • Understand the ability of your 4x4 vehicle

Every obstacle should be approached in an identical manner, using the following system:

  • A visual inspection and corresponding plan of action
  • Tactics, procedures and what to do in an emergency
  • Demonstration of the obstacle

Maintain momentum and traction through the obstacle, especially on cross-over situations. If the engine stalls or the wheels lose traction on an incline, only make use of the foot brake to ensure the vehicle stalls in gear (manual gearboxes). Do not use the clutch.

Identify the reason for the stall or getting stuck by checking your gear selection and for potential obstacles that might be impeding progress.


Losing traction can most often be attributed to:

  • Insufficient suspension travel (a wheel off the ground)
  • The wrong gear being used
  • Using too much power
  • Incorrect tyre pressure

Should a vehicle become unstable or break free, always steer downhill and maintain momentum.

Side Slope

This requires route planning for optimum entry and exit points.

  • Try to start high on the slope and finish low
  • Avoid turning up a steep slope – this could lead to a vehicle roll-over
  • First gear in low-range for uneven terrain, second gear low-range for soft or slippery ground
  • Maintain momentum throughout the obstacle
  • Always be aware of emergency procedures

Gradient Descent

  • Use first gear in low-range if the surface is solid for maximum control
  • If the vehicle has Hill Descent Control, engage before starting the descent
  • Select a higher low-range gear, or first gear in high-range for example, on loose or very soft ground
  • Minimum use of braking. Apply your brakes to limit engine rpm – but not to lock the wheels!
  • In event of a slide, accelerate and steer in the direction of travel of the rear of the vehicle

Gradient Ascent

  • Depending on the gradient, select first or second gear, low-range
  • Ensure your front wheels are pointed straight ahead
  • Accelerate immediately to gain momentum for the climb
  • Decrease accelerator pressure if wheelspin is experienced during ascent to regain traction
  • A combination of momentum and traction should be maintained during an ascent, even more so during cross-overs
  • Make use of the foot brake only, no clutch, should the engine stall. Leave it in gear

Stall Recovery

A very common occurrence on hill climbs is the stalling of the vehicle when the hill becomes too steep. When this occurs the vehicle will be in gear with the engine switched on but stalled.

To recover from this situation you should perform a Hill Stall Recovery rather than just firing up the engine. This is accomplished by following these steps:

  • Switch the (stalled) engine off and place your foot firmly on the brake
  • Depress the clutch and select reverse gear in low-range
  • Take your foot off the clutch then slowly take your foot off the brake
  • The vehicle is now in reverse gear with the stalled engine stopping it from rolling down the hill
  • After checking if the track behind is clear, start the engine and keep your feet off all pedals
  • The starter motor will start to drive the vehicle backwards as the engine begins to fire

As long as you are in reverse gear, this will result in a smooth downhill progression while starting the engine. If you are out of gear during some stage of the take-off or simply start the engine and then select reverse gear it will result in a fast and jerky take-off that could result in a loss of control over the vehicle.

The Hill Stall Recovery does not apply to automatic vehicles as they should never stall, they would just lose forward drive when the hill becomes too steep for the gear they’re in. When this occurs simply place your foot on the brake, select the appropriate gear and gently take your foot off the brake.


Mud comes in various forms, from thick, bottomless clay to the slippery surface mud found in forests. The key is to reduce tyre pressures and select second or third gear low-range to give enough engine speed and momentum, but limit excessive wheelspin.

Before you drive through any mud take the time to look at the terrain and where you need to go. Better to get your shoes a bit dirty than just blasting into it and getting stuck!

Look at the terrain around you - if it's rocky there's a good chance that there'll be rocks in the mud too.

There will be times when you will become stuck. The first thing to do is to stop the vehicle. Trying to drive out once already stuck may just dig the vehicle in further. Take some time to work out why you’re stuck. Dig away any mud in front of the wheels and place items such as car mats, or even branches, under the wheels to give you traction.

Alternatively, you can try to gently move the steering wheel from side to side to give the tyre sidewalls a chance to get a foothold.

Don’t try to force the steering wheel in a particular direction, just hold the wheel gently and guide the vehicle in the direction that you want to go. Of course, a diff-lock can help you to get through muddy patches, but as is the case with sand driving, they will tend to force the vehicle to go straight.

Pulling away may also require some assistance in the form of a push or a tow rope. Useful tools to take along are a tyre gauge, compressor, decent tow rope and a spade.

The mud terrain or mud tyre pattern is characterised by large lugs on the tyre with big voids between these lugs. The large lugs provide plenty of bite in low traction conditions while the big voids allow the tyre to clean itself by throwing off mud or other material when rotating.


When driving through demanding terrain avoid the tendency to hold the steering wheel in a death grip – let the wheel move around and gently guide the vehicle. Releasing the wheel slightly allows the wheels to “centre”, ensuring that they are pointing in the right direction. Similarly, use gentle applications of the brakes and accelerator.

Straddle deep ruts by keeping the wheels on the highest points. Cross ditches or logs at an angle so that one wheel at a time goes over the obstacle; the other three help the one wheel to climb over.

Dropping the tyre into a ditch or crack in a rock can put you and your 4x4 in a vulnerable position. Sometimes the vehicle pitches and one or more tyres will be raised off the ground.

Be very deliberate and careful when approaching this challenging section of any trail. Logs can bounce up and catch the undercarriage, so come off these obstacles slowly and carefully. Turn the vehicle at an angle to facilitate the one-tyre-at-a-time approach. Be careful not to allow one of the front tyres and one of the rear tyres to get in the ditch at the same time.


Among the most pertinent considerations with regards driving in sand is utilising the optimum tyre pressure. This is a combination of many things. Your tyres, their construction methods and materials, what your car weighs, how it is loaded and wheel width, all play into the sand-pressure tyre formula with predictable results.

Why does low pressure work and how do you determine the best sand pressure? It's a simple fact, the longer the tyre's footprint, the softer the sand you can travel in.

The choice of treadpattern is extremely important to consider during your new tyre decision making process, especially if you’re fitting your 4x4 for an off-road adventure. Loose, dry sand can absorb a great deal of power so the higher gears should be selected while in low-range or lower gear options if you are in high-range.

To begin with, choose a gear that allows the engine to rev slightly high, allowing you a safety margin in the event of deep patches. When you feel wheel-spin beginning, ease off on the accelerator; if you feel that you’re getting stuck, take your foot off the accelerator and coast to a stop. If you can reverse, try and clear the problematic section and either find an alternate route or gain more momentum.

Momentum is key in these conditions, so keep a constant speed in second or third gear. Use your steering wheel to regain lost traction by steering from left to right between the 10 o'clock and 2 o’clock positions to assist traction.

Using the brakes to stop while driving in sand will cause small mounds to build up in front of the wheels. You should avoid using the brakes unnecessarily.

Wherever possible, try to park the vehicle facing downhill as this will make pulling away easier. Sand driving is easier in the early morning due to the effect that the condensation and temperatures have on the sand particles.

You can reduce your tyre pressure as low as 1.0 bar on 4x4 vehicles, however, do bear in mind that any sudden turns may cause the tyre to roll off the rim. If your vehicle is fitted with a diff-lock be very careful when using this in sand as it can cause the vehicle to handle differently, including making tight turns more difficult by forcing the vehicle to go straight.

Avoid turning the steering wheel excessively as the sand builds up on the outside of the front wheels and can suddenly cause the vehicle to turn. Vehicles can easily roll over, even at low speeds.

There will be times when you will become stuck. Take some time to work out why you’re stuck. Dig away any sand in front of the wheels and place items such as car mats, or branches under the wheels to give you traction.

As always, when you’re going off-road take along your tyre gauge and compressor (to re-inflate tyres), a shovel and your trusty tow rope or snatch rope.

Rough and Rocky Terrain

Low-range and first gear is the right choice in extremely rocky and rough terrain. environment, using a slow pace in order to react in time to unexpected or hidden obstacles. Using first gear in low-range will allow vehicles to effectively propel themselves, with no input required from the accelerator.

When large drop-offs or ledges are encountered they can be tackled at an angle to allow one wheel at a time to mount the obstacle. Bear in mind how this will affect the position of the vehicle as turning at an angle to a downhill ledge may result in the side rollover angle being reached.

An important thing to remember when driving off-road is to keep your feet clear of the clutch pedal. Riding the clutch can cause significant damage surprisingly quickly – particularly on 4x4 obstacles!

Driving Over Ridges

A cross-axle condition exists if you attack a ridge at the wrong angle. This will result in two diagonally opposed wheels losing traction. To recover from this condition and continue, engaging diff-lock will allow the vehicle to overcome the loss of traction. A lower tyre pressure will also aid traction.

Rutted roads

Continued use of the same ground can cause rutted roads. As they become more pronounced, wider and deeper ruts can make travel difficult. Approach this situation with caution and do not use aggressive steering to try and overcome these ruts.

Dealing with Ditches

The right angle of approach is needed, correctly positioning the vehicle so that one wheel enters the ditch at a time. Attempting to put two wheels into a ditch simultaneously will bring the vehicle to an abrupt stop, and could get you stuck.

River crossings

Water crossings can be a dangerous and often deceptive challenge. Again, a lot of problems can be avoided by knowing your vehicle. Be aware of how low your air intake is and where breather pipes are situated. As you approach a water crossing, observe the surrounding terrain. Obviously, if the area around the river is rocky there’s a good chance that there will be rocks in the river bed.

Before attempting to cross a river get out of your vehicle and do a visual inspection by walking through the water and assessing the ideal route. Avoid deep water whenever possible, and watch out for hidden gullies and holes as well as fast-flowing water that can easily push the vehicle downstream.

There are several basic rules on fording water. Flowing rivers, for instance, normally have a more stable base than standing water, and a simple rule of thumb is if you struggle to stand up in the water, the water is LIKELY TO wash your vehicle away.

Plan your exit point in advance. When crossing flowing water, ensure the vehicle’s windows are slightly open and that all seatbelts are removed. Cross at an angle that is slightly against the flow – this gives you additional time to respond should the water suddenly start pushing the car.

The manufacturer of your vehicle will indicate a maximum wading depth – exceed this and you could face problems including the ignition cutting out and water being sucked up into the engine, gearbox and differentials.

Never switch the engine off when stationary in water, as this creates a vacuum, resulting in water being sucked into the engine.

Once in the water, maintain a steady speed, avoiding wheel-spin. Drive at a steady pace to create a wave action, or bow wave, in front of the vehicle. This reduces the height of the water behind the front wheel, making it less likely to exceed the maximum wading depth or enter the cabin.

First or second gear is appropriate for running water where there is little mud. Don’t change gear, as the sudden loss of momentum when depressing the clutch will cause the bow wave created by the vehicle to splash over the vehicle.

Take caution though, as excessive speed could result in the radiator fan being forced into the radiator, resulting in critical damage that may leave you stranded. In certain instances, blocking off the radiator grille for the duration of the crossing may be recommended.

Securing a tow rope to the vehicle before it enters the water is highly recommended, as it will make recovery easier, and significantly reduce the time that the vehicle will be in the water, should it get stuck.

Remember, if your vehicle stalls, don’t try to start it. Instead tow the vehicle out, remove the air filter and check for water.

If the filter is wet, remove the spark plugs (petrol engines) or glow plugs (diesel engines) and turn the engine over on the starter to remove any water.

Check the engine, gearbox and axle oil as soon as possible after deep water crossings and drain the oil if there’s any sign of water (milky colour). Once you are out of the water apply the brakes gently to remove any water and dirt.

Convoy Driving

  • Maintain sight of the vehicle behind you at all times
  • Allow space for the vehicle ahead when tackling obstacles
  • Lead vehicle should clear an obstacle before others follow
  • Maintain a safe distance between vehicles
  • Always stay in the tracks of the vehicle ahead. Do not create new tracks
  • Wait at all intersections
  • The last vehicle dictates the pace of the convoy, not the lead vehicle

On Road

The vehicle manufacturer indicates the correct tyre pressure in the owner’s handbook. These are the inflation pressures that should be used during all normal vehicle use when driving on the road.

Safety is severely compromised by low tyre pressures. Heat build-up is a dangerous side-effect of under-inflation, which will affect vehicle performance, increase fuel consumption, create excessive wear and heat and, potentially lead to a tyre failure.

Always stick to the manufacturer’s recommended pressures for on-road use, both when unladen and when fully loaded and/or towing a caravan or trailer.


  • Approximately 10 percent under-inflation should be used on rough terrain
  • Deflate the tyres to approximately half (50%) of the standard inflation pressure for driving on loose ground to avoid “ploughing” and heat build-up. However, this should only be used as long as the terrain dictates
  • One quarter to nearly half (25–45%) of normal pressure further lengthens the tyre’s contact patch helps the vehicle to “float” over sandy terrain
  • More than about a third (30%) deflation from recommended pressure in snow or mud is not recommended
  • Dropping the tyre to less than half (50%) of recommended pressure is not advised for most situations, as it may result in tyre damage and failure with only minor traction gains
  • Always inflate tyres to the recommended pressures when the conditions change (driving on gravel roads after sandy section, or returning to hard surfaces, including tarmac)

Regular Tyre Checks

  • Tyres for four-wheel drive vehicles that are often used in varying terrain should be inspected regularly, particularly for any signs of sidewall damage or punctures
  • New tyres should be checked for clearance with suspension and fenders at full lock while under load – for example when driving an obstacle course to ensure there is no fouling on vehicle components
  • An increase in the external diameter of the tyre will raise the vehicle’s centre of gravity. Avoid fitting tyres with a significantly larger diameter than original
  • When deviating from the original tyre specification, ensure the spare wheel is changed accordingly
  • More floatation is experienced on soft ground with larger tyres
  • Traction increases with an increase in tyre width
  • Depending on the surface an increased tyre size can reduce braking capability
  • Lower aspect ratios and more rigid sidewalls can result in higher tyre wear on rougher ground
  • Remove tyres and inspect the sidewall of the reverse side of the tyre for damage

Before fitment

Confirm the new tyre matches or exceeds existing tyres for load index and speed rating.

Remember that as the aspect ratio of a tyre becomes smaller, the width of the tyre increases.

Ensure that the shock absorber’s travel distance on the vehicle is sufficient to accommodate a new tyre size while not affecting steering.

Example: 31 x 10.50 R 15 LT
31 = Tyre diameter in inches
10.50 = Tyre width in inches
15 = Rim diameter in inches
LT = Light Truck

Certain 4x4 and light truck (LT) tyres are expressed in a different format:

Fitment Procedure

Use the correct bead lubrication for fitment procedure.

After mounting the tyre one should remove the valve core and first inflate the tyre to seat properly.

The tyre will now relax on the rim; deflate the tyre, put the valve core back and inflate it to the recommended inflation pressure.

Tyre Load Index

The Load Index (LI) is a numerical code associated with the maximum load a tyre can carry.

LI kg LI kg LI kg LI kg LI kg
50 190 65 290 80 450 95 690 110 1060
51 195 66 300 81 462 96 710 111 1090
52 200 67 307 82 475 97 730 112 1120
53 206 68 315 83 487 98 750 113 1150
54 212 69 325 84 500 99 775 114 1180
55 218 70 335 85 515 100 800 115 1215
56 224 71 345 86 530 101 825 116 1250
57 230 72 355 87 545 102 850 117 1285
58 236 73 365 88 560 103 875 118 1320
59 243 74 375 89 580 104 900 119 1360
60 250 75 387 90 600 105 925 120 1400
61 257 76 400 91 615 106 950 121 1450
62 265 77 412 92 630 107 975 122 1500
63 272 78 425 93 650 108 1000 123 1550
64 280 79 437 94 670 109 1030 124 1600

Tyre Speed Index

The speed rating indicates the maximum speed at which the tyre can carry a load, corresponding to its Load Index.

SI Maximum Speed (km/h)
K 110
L 120
M 130
N 140
P 150
Q 160
R 170
S 180
T 190
H 210
V 240
W 270
Y 300
ZR Over 240

Basic Recovery Gear

When venturing off-road it’s essential to have a basic set of recovery gear in the vehicle at all times. No 4x4 adventure should be undertaken alone, with a convoy of at least three vehicles being the minimum recommendation for the safety of all participants, and the ability to assist a vehicle that is stuck or broken down.

Ensure you undergo proper training on the safe operation of all recovery gear before heading off on any journey.

Your basic recovery gear should include:

  • Gloves
  • Bow shackles (2–3, various sizes)
  • Snatch blocks
  • Recovery straps (kinetic / snatch strap, and tow strap)
  • Chain / extra cable
  • Tree protector
  • Towing points on your vehicle (front and rear)
  • Spade
  • Axe

Highly recommended:

  • High-lift jack
  • Winch

Also essential:

  • High-capacity jumper cables
  • Variety of tools
  • Spare parts (filters, fan belt, coolant, oil, etc.)

All recovery procedures come with an element of risk. Follow safe procedures when using recovery equipment to minimise injury and/or vehicle damage.

Recovery Straps

  • Attach straps with bow shackles to recovery points
  • DO NOT use the tow ball or goose neck, as its load rating is insufficient for recovery procedures
  • Once the shackle is rigged and fully tightened, slacken the pin slightly as it is likely to tighten again under tension, making it difficult to release after the recovery
  • A tow strap is made of woven and stitched webbing for additional strength, with reinforced loops at each end for attachment. The tow strap has limited kinetic ability so it should only be used to extricate another vehicle by pulling it out in low-range at a moderate speed
  • A kinetic or “snatch” strap is used to recover a vehicle that has become stuck, for example in mud or sand. It uses its stretching ability so demands more pace and momentum from the recovery vehicle

The recovery area must be clear of passengers, bystanders and any obstacles.

  • Clear mud or sand from under the vehicle to make the recovery action easier
  • Begin in low-range with the recovery vehicle with the strap in a slack position. Accelerate quickly to gain momentum and maximise the kinetic action of the strap
  • The driver of the stuck vehicle must engage low-range and release the clutch. Keep the wheels spinning and respond to the kinetic action by accelerating out of the hazard
  • Being synthetic, a snatch strap requires a "rest" period of at least six hours for it to be restored to its original capability. Do not fold up the strap during this period. Keep it dry and clean


Only use bow shackles for vehicle recovery work and avoid conventional D-type shackles. Alloy bow shackles are much stronger and have a larger inside radius which is useful for attaching straps.

These shackles carry a special rating, and the tension pin will be of a different diameter to that of the shackle body.


It’s important to invest in high-quality vehicle jacking equipment for any off-road driving. This is crucial for replacing a wheel in the event of a puncture, conducting repairs out on the trail, and potentially even being required during a recovery procedure.

Most standard jacking devices supplied with the vehicle are totally inadequate in an off-road environment, particularly if you need to raise the vehicle on uneven surfaces, on sand or in mud.


High-lift Jack

  • Extremely useful in a variety of situations. It serves as a jack, small winching device and even as a vice
  • Requires the fitment of secure jacking points on the vehicle
  • Also needs sturdy mounting points when not in use. Position carefully as it is very heavy and potentially deadly in a collision
  • For inexperienced users the high-lift jack can be very dangerous. Make sure you are trained properly in high-lift jack usage before attempting to use this device
  • On soft surfaces, always use in conjunction with a stable base plate to provide a more secure footing that spreads the load over a greater area. This will also make it less prone to sliding out when the vehicle is jacked up

Bottle or Scissors Jack

  • Quick and useful in flat terrain but limited lift
  • Can be used as supports
  • Unstable on soft or uneven ground


Air Jack

  • Large bags made of PVC are filled with air from the exhaust and are able to quickly lift the vehicle
  • Lightweight and easily stored, but expensive
  • Placement is crucial – cannot be exposed to any hot vehicle components
  • Prone to punctures on sharp objects (rocks, branches, etc.)

Never work beneath a vehicle only supported by a jack. For added safety, place spare wheels under the vehicle or use additional jacks as further supports. Chock the wheels on the ground firmly to prevent the vehicle from moving.


  • Keep cable area clear of passengers and/or bystanders
  • Drape a blanket or strap midway over the cable between vehicles to reduce velocity should the cable or any of the mounting points snap
  • Take note of the temperature of the winch, allow it to cool if necessary between recovery attempts
  • Due to the load placed on the battery, operate the winch with the vehicle running
  • If using a tree as an anchor, use a tree protector. It also provides a point to attach a shackle and winch hook. Choose a tree that can withstand the strain and place the tree protector as low to the ground as possible
  • Use a cable guide when working close to the winch drum – and watch your fingers! Always use gloves when operating the winch as the cable strands are very sharp. The cable should be handled in a hand-over-hand manner instead of allowing the cable to slide through your hands
  • Once a winch cable is attached it should be considered "live" – do not step over any live cables or straps
  • Make sure the cable is securely attached to a shackle. Don’t loop the hook around onto the cable – it may create a weakness
  • Always keep at least five turns of the cable on the winch drum – never extend it fully during operation
  • Don’t engage or disengage the winch clutch when there is a load on the winch
  • When winching, use the footbrake for four-wheel braking as the handbrake is not sufficient. If the vehicle is still slipping, chock the wheels or anchor it to another vehicle or tree
  • Beware of overtaking the winch cable with the recovered vehicle if using engine power to assist a winching recovery
  • A snatch block can be used to double up the pulling power of the winch, but at the same time it reduces the line speed
  • If extracting a vehicle close to rolling over, it can be secured by passing a recovery strap through the B-pillar and attaching it to a sturdy anchor
  • All winch pull ratings usually appear in pounds. As a general rule, the maximum pulling power is on the first roll of cable on the drum and decreases as you increase the number of layers to the top layer. Ensure that the winch rating is adequate based on the vehicle it is fitted to and the predicted load
  • For added safety, in case the cable snaps, either open the bonnet if sitting inside the vehicle or stand behind an open door keeping your foot on the brake
  • Do not pull at an angle as this reduces the capability of the winch and results in the cable spooling up unevenly on one side of the drum
  • A new winch cable must be loaded / tensioned prior to its first use. Consult your supplier if in doubt

The preservation of the environment plays an integral role in your enjoyment of the outdoors. You cannot experience what no longer exists. Therefore it is important to make as little impact on the environment as possible.

All vehicles can cause irreparable environmental damage, especially to sensitive eco-systems. Something as simple as wheelspin can result in the development of ruts. This may then lead to the creation of new watercourses and later, erosion. Any ruts created should be filled in as best as possible to avoid such potential occurrences.

Use only existing tracks, do not create new ones. Take the time to remove fallen trees and other obstacles from tracks to prevent drivers making new tracks.

The topsoil is held together by smaller plants with saplings growing into trees. Their existence dictates the kinds of insect and animal life found in the area – so always keep this in mind when driving off-road.

Essential tips:

  • Stick to the speed limit
  • Avoid generating dust where possible
  • Use environmentally friendly – or environmentally neutral – products
  • Rivers and other water sources are not appropriate places for washing
  • Keep water use to a minimum
  • Reduce the impact to local wildlife by not camping near waterholes
  • Fires should be made in the open, not under the tree canopy
  • Know the local fire regulations and stick to them
  • Use existing fireplaces
  • Be careful with the hot exhaust in dry grass
  • Take out whatever you bring in, leave nothing behind
  • Take note of all warning signs and be sure to obey them
  • Close all gates behind you
  • Dig a hole for latrine use, make sure these are not located near sources of water
  • Burn toilet paper after use