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Land Rover Guide To Off-Roading

In rainforests, deserts, and other places no ordinary vehicle could reach, you will find all-terrain vehicles. The moment you venture off the tarmac is the moment you realize the incredible potential of your Land Rover. This guide is designed to make sure you get the most out of your off-road adventures.

Knowing Your Vehicle Inside-Out


Land Rover Defender descending steep hill off-road in mountainous terrain

- Before you venture off-road, it’s worth ensuring that you have
  a good mental picture of the underside of your vehicle.

- Check the position of fragile parts such as the fuel tank,
  engine sump, differentials, and gearbox – so you’re less
  likely to snag them on rocks, tree stumps, and
  other obstacles.

- Check the roof rack and consider it as you drive under low
  tree branches.

- Read the owner’s manual and discover the purpose of all the
  on-board technology and features.

Expert Tips For Off-Road Driving

As long as it is safe to do so, test the surface by walking over the ground before you drive over it.

Before ascending a hill, ensure you know what’s over the crest.

Always walk your water obstacle wearing wellington boots and carrying a stick for checking silt and underwater hollows. Better to get your feet wet than your vehicle stuck.

Never hook your thumbs inside the steering wheel, as any kickback from the terrain could sprain or even break them.

The Golden Rules For Off-Road Driving

- Drive as slowly as possible and as fast as necessary.
- Know your vehicle’s dimensions – height, weight, width,
  length, approach and departure angle, ramp angle, and
  ground clearance.
- Know the international hand signals for marshalling.
- Avoid gear changes while negotiating difficult terrain. 
- Always read the ground as far ahead as you can. If it is
  safe to do so, walk the ground before you drive.
- Use great care when driving on loose or wet surfaces
  due to the reduced level of grip.
- Be prepared to admit defeat. Back off and try again, or
  try an alternative route.
- Avoid excessive wheelspin at all times but especially on
  soft ground where the vehicle can easily lose momentum
  and even cause environmental damage.
- Use a gentle right throttle foot.
- Always keep both hands on the wheel, even when
  reversing.
- Always tell someone where you’re going, what route
  you plan to follow, and when you expect to return.

Essential Kit For Off-Roading


The Essential Kit For Serious Off-Roading

For any off-road adventure, it’s essential that you know your vehicle inside out (see Overview) and pack the essentials in your Land Rover before heading out.

Check List:

- Tow rope
- Shovel 
- 2-way radio 
- Suitable, climate-appropriate clothing
- Correct footwear 
- GPS navigation and maps 
- Food and water
- Extra fuel

Driving Technique

The Basics

- To drive effectively over rough terrain, a degree of smoothness
  is required.
- Make sure the throttle is applied smoothly and released
  slowly. This keeps the tyres from spinning on acceleration
  or deceleration.
- Keep steering precise and braking to a minimum.
- The driver always controls the vehicle; the vehicle should
   never control the driver.

How To Overcome Obstacles

- Try walking the ground before you actually drive on it. 
- Approach ridges straight on. 
- Approach a log, rocky step or ditch diagonally so that three
  wheels always retain contact with the ground. 
- Make sure tyres are fully inflated to road pressures for rocky
  ground. 
- Straddle deep ruts with your vehicle. This will keep the
  vehicle level, reducing environmental impact.

How To Return To The Road

- Disengage diff-lock, if applied. 
- Stop and check for any minor damage. 
- Check for cuts in tyres including inside the walls. 
- Check for body damage that will rub against tyres. 
- Check for debris lodged in the underside of the vehicle and in
   the tyres. 
- Check that lights, windows, and mirrors are clear. 
- Check that number plates can still be read. 
- Check that all equipment is secure.

When A Deeply Rutted Track Takes Over The Steering

As you drive along a deeply rutted track, take special care if the ruts are cut into slippery ground. Indeed, you may be unaware that the wheels are not pointed straight ahead until grip becomes available and the vehicle suddenly veers to one side. (Vehicles such as The Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and LR4 have a wheel direction indicator to help you in situations such as this.)

Unless you are going downhill, the best way to avoid having your wheels ‘locked’ by a rutted track is to relax your grip on the steering wheel occasionally, while keeping a frictional grip with your palms. This will allow the wheels to regain the straight-ahead position. The tyres may not be able to grip the slippery sides of the rut and you will be unable to turn the steering wheel to the left or right.

Selecting The Best Gear

 RULE OF THUMB GUIDE TO SELECTING THE BEST GEAR

 CONDITIONS

GEAR

 Rocky ground.

Low range 1st gear.

 Soft ground.

Low range 2nd or 3rd gear.

 Ice and snow.

Highest gear possible for conditions.

 Climbing slopes.

Climb in highest practical gear.

 Descending slopes.

Low range 1st gear.

 Wading.

Low range 2nd gear.

 Sandy tracks.

Try 3rd, 4th or 5th in low range.

 

 

Mud And Sand


Rear end of Range Rover driving off-road in mud and ruts on
tree-lined trail


Range Rover, LR4, and Range Rover Sport have a unique Terrain Response® system that can be set for different driving conditions: rock crawl, mud and ruts, sand, grass/gravel/snow or road.

Terrain Response® is a groundbreaking feature that should be used in conjunction with proactive driving techniques. Here are some additional tips for off-road driving in mud and sand.

The Basics

- Use steady momentum to carry you through deep sand
  or mud.
- Do not select a gear that is too low in mud because it
  will spin tires more easily.
- However, in sand a low gear is usually better.
- If muddy conditions force you to drive in ruts, make
  sure you know where your front wheels are pointing at
  all times.
- Tires can cut through mud to find traction on firmer
  ground below.
- Sand is firmest at dawn.
- If you have to sit out a sandstorm, turn the rear of the
  vehicle to face the wind, and then turn the engine off.
- Follow the tire and Land Rover’s advice on tire pressure.
- However, where the sand is soft and contains stones, a
  low pressure works better.
- When the wheels start to spin, ease off the throttle and
  allow the tires to slow down and regain traction.

Remember: Before setting out on your adventure, always make sure you and your passengers are wearing climate-suitable clothing.

Sand: The Fine Detail

- The geology of desert. Sand covers only about 20 percent
  of the Earth’s deserts. Most of the sand is in sand sheets and
  sand seas – vast regions of undulating dunes like ocean
  waves ‘frozen’ in an instant of time.
- Beaches. Usually firm enough to take a vehicle between high
  tide mark and four meters from the sea. Beware of
  incoming tide.
- Damp sand. Damp desert sand after rain can be easier to
  drive on. Often, flowers blooming overnight will help bind
  sand together.
- Firm sand. Stretches of desert where you can travel in
  relatively high range.
- Dry sand. A surface crust that's stronger in the cool of
  the morning.
- Wet sand. Keep off. It can contain areas of 'floating'
  sand or quicksand.
- Sand dunes.
Avoid climbing over dunes, go round them.

Snow 

Range Rover, LR4, and Range Rover Sport have a unique Terrain Response® system that can be set for different driving conditions: rock crawl, mud and ruts, sand, grass/gravel/snow or road.Terrain Response® is a groundbreaking feature that should be used in conjunction with proactive driving techniques. Here are some additional tips for off-road driving in snow.

Before You Drive In Snow

- Check which snow chains we recommend for your Land
  Rover and whether they can be safely fitted to the tires
  on your vehicle.
- Inspect regularly to ensure the chains are taut.
- Practice fitting snow chains before you actually need
  them, preferably on a sunny day.

Remember: Before setting out on your adventure, always make sure you and your passengers are wearing climate-suitable clothing.

The Basics For Driving In Snow

- Use steady momentum to carry you through deep snow.
- Do not select a gear that is too low in snow as it will
  spin tires more easily.
- Follow the tire and vehicle manufacturer’s advice on tire
  pressure.
- When the wheels start to spin, ease off the throttle and
  allow the tires to slow down and regain traction.
- Select the highest gear possible for the conditions.

Hills 

How To Climb Hills

- Wherever possible, investigate the area on foot. Always
  know what’s on the other side of the hill.
- Engage Hill Descent Control (HDC) if available.
- Ascend a hill in the highest gear in which the vehicle will
  ‘pull’ comfortably. If the gear selected is too low, the
   wheels will spin. If too high, you will not have enough
   power to climb the hill.
- Always approach the hill from a straight-ahead position,
  rather than diagonally, to avoid a roll-over.
- Never attempt to turn the vehicle on a steep slope.
- Be prepared for a failed climb. It happens to the best
  drivers. Work out an escape route and know where all
  the obstacles are. 
 

How To Descend Hills

- Stop a vehicle length before the descent so that you
  have time to make any corrections.
- You can also get out of the vehicle and assess the
  land ahead.
- Engage HDC, if available.
- As a rule of thumb, use 1st gear low range or ‘1’ on
  the automatic gearbox and use brakes sparingly.
- Follow the natural fall line; the route water would
  take down the slope.
- Never roll or reverse downhill with the transmission in
  neutral or the clutch  depressed.
- Never turn the vehicle on a steep slope. This could
  lead to sideways sliding.
- If you do need to stop on the way down ask yourself
  one question: is it safe?

Crossing Water


Range Rover fording river in off-road trail’s deep water crossing

Off-Road Driving Though Water

Tips For Crossing Water

- Whenever possible, cross water at a ford.
- As long as it is safe to do so, walk the stream before
  you try it in a vehicle. Use a stick to gauge depth and
  pinpoint underwater hollows.
- Do not cross deep fast-flowing streams.
- In deep waves create a small bow wave about one
  meter in front of the bumper.
- Do not slip the clutch as this reduces control of the
  vehicle.· Ease off the accelerator as you approach the
  other side of the water.
- If there’s a steep slope, take a look at our guide on
  driving up and down slopes (see Hills).

How To Create The Perfect Bow Wave

- Accelerate as you enter the water until a bow wave
  has formed.
- Try to keep it about one meter in front of the bumper
  to keep water away from the fan electronics.
- Maintain a speed that keeps the bow wave flowing in
  front of the bumper.
- Remember, the aim is to create a gentle wave, not a
  surfing wave!

Jaguar Land Rover Limited: Registered Office: Abbey Road, Whitley, Coventry CV3 4LF Registered in England No: 1672070