What Does Four Wheel Drive Mean?

The Meaning of 4x4 vs 4x2
• The first digit refers to the number of wheels.
• The second digit refers to the number of driven wheels.

4x4 (four by four):

A vehicle with four wheels that's powered by four wheels (4WD)

4x2 (four by two):
A vehicle with four wheels that's powered by two wheels (2WD)

Today's vehicles offer a number of different drive train systems designed to help out in slippery conditions. For example, a four-wheel drive vehicle may come equipped with "Full-time 4WD", "Part-time 4WD", or "Automatic 4WD".

Things to Always Carry on 4x4 Trips

1. Basic recovery gear (snatch straps, 'D' sahckles, shovel, axe, jack and jacking plate; winch and chainsaw are optional).

2. First-aid kit (antiseptic, burn cream, scissors, eye drops, bandages, dressing).

3. Fire extinguisher.

4. Tools (ring and open spanners, hacksaw, file, wire cutter, tyre gauge, pump and repair kit, battery jumper leads, spray lubricant).

5. Spare parts (radiator hoses, fan belt, fuses, spark plugs, coil, condenser, tyre tube).

6. Extra water, map of area, compass, torch, knife, matches

General 4x4 Offroad Driving Tips

1. Observe all rules and regulations pertaining to the use of public land.

2. Avoid areas which are easily damaged such as swamps and vegetated sand dunes.

3. Carry out all the rubbish you brought in.

4. Always ask permission before entering private land.

5. Leave gates as you find them.

Driving 4x4 in Tricky Sections

1. Don't change gear in the middle of a tricky section.

2. If in doubt, always use a lower gear.

3. A low second or third gear is generally best for going uphill, a low first gear is best for steep downhills. If your vehicle begins to slide sideways, a very slight acceleration and steering into the slide will normally straighten your descent. Use your footbrake sparingly and avoid touching the clutch.

4. Move the steering wheel rapidly from side to side to improve traction in mud; if you become stuck, rock the vehicle forwards or backwards by alternating between first and reverse gears.

5. To get through sand, lower the tyre pressure to 140 kpa (20 psi) and avoid sudden changes in direction or acceleration. Fitting specialist desert tyres may help.

6. When descending a dune, avoid braking, but don't go so slowly that the wheels stop rolling.

7. Before entering a water section, loosen the fan belt, and spray electrical equipment with lubricant. In the water, use a low second gear, keep the speed down but fast enough to create a bow wave, and keep the engine running. Avoid changing gears or disengaging the clutch. If the engine stops, do not restart it but winch the vehicle out.