Mater Cars for Cancer lottery No. 73 is giving one lucky person the chance to drive away in a V8 4WD—on offer is the choice between a Nissan Patrol or a Toyota LandCruiser Sahara, PLUS a Sports Boat!
Australia has some of the best 4WD escapes, but before you head off-road, get familiar with some 4WD basics and accessories, fittings and frills to improve your 4WDing experience. There is an endless supply on the market, but here are some to get you started.
4WDing is all fun and games until someone gets bogged. You should never head off-road unless you have a recovery kit packed. Ensure you have the essentials: long handled shovel, snatch straps, winches and shackles. Part of using your recovery gear means ensuring you have recovery points. You don’t want to rip your 4WD apart because you’ve hooked on to a point that is not made to do so—make sure you get rated recovery points fitted to your 4X4 on both the front and back to enable dual direction recovery access. Make sure you have a tyre pressure gauge on board, and a compressor to pump your tyres back up when you are back on tougher ground. It goes without saying to make sure your spare tyre is in working order too.
If you’re being honest with yourself, you get a kick out of saying ‘copy that’ into your two way radio! But a two way radio/UHF has a lot more benefits than just being able to have banter with your fellow off-roaders. Having a reliable communication system when you’re in remote terrain is paramount—whether you’ve broken down or there is a medical emergency, quite often your only method of communication will be using your UHF. In short, don’t leave home without one!
Carry jumper leads just in case you turn the key over and hear the dreaded sound of silence. You may also want to invest in a battery pack; portable packs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your needs and can be used to jump start a vehicle if you find yourself stranded alone.
Better yet, install a dual battery system. You’re likely to use the second battery for powering equipment such as fridges or lighting if you’re taking your 4X4 on a camping trip; however your reserve battery will also come in handy should your main power source fail.
If you plan on putting bigger tyres on your 4WD, be aware that it could be deemed illegal if they stick outside the guards on your vehicle. Fitting flares to your 4WD will not only make it compliant but it will also save your panels and paintwork from damage caused by rocks being flicked up from the tyres; it will also stop rocks from flicking onto other vehicles passing by. Flares come in a range of materials from fibreglass to plastic, flexy fares to rubber.
An oldy but a goody, and not so much an accessory but a must-have product. Pop into any good motor vehicle accessories store and pick up a bottle of water repellent for your windscreen. This simple and effective treatment will greatly improve your visibility in wet weather conditions and help improve safety.
Although not essential, keeping the smells of our adventures out of our vehicles is always a better alternative than having to live with them. When hanging a tree from your rear-view mirror isn’t getting the job done, get yourself a car humidifier. Small and compact, simply fill with clean water and plug into your 12V source. Humidifiers can eliminate odours, smells, dust and bacteria.
If you’ve never taken a vehicle off-road before, taking a 4WD training course is highly recommended. These courses are designed to ensure you are bestowed as much knowledge about 4WDing as possible and reducing risks you may face in the course of your travels. You’ll be taught everything from why and how to deflate and inflate your tyres, how to safely retrieve a bogged or stuck vehicle, how to ascent and descent (might sound easy enough, but off-road tracks are high risk and require experience to drive safely), post and pre expedition vehicle inspections, sand/beach driving, gravel driving, water crossings and towing techniques—just to name a few. Every state has a host of courses available, so get Googling to find the one that suits you best!
First aid kit
Always keep a first aid kit on hand. You never know when you or one of your fellow off-roaders might need medical treatment.
Always keep plenty of water on hand. Australia has a harsh climate and the last thing you want is to find yourself without water. Whether you choose to carry a water jerry can or fit a water tank to your 4WD—there are various solutions on offer to be water smart on your adventure.
You’re now ready to hit the beaten track and get your adventure underway. Whether you choose to head inland, for the coast or your local 4WD adventure park—have fun, stay safe and get dirty, after all, that’s what your 4WD is for!
Don’t own a 4WD or maybe you’d like to upgrade? Grab tickets today in Mater Cars for Cancer lottery No. 73. If you win, all you’ll just need to figure out is whether a Toyota or Nissan is right for you!