Head Off-Road

Don't go 4-wheeling without tucking these tips in your glove box.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Trucks
178. Change the Oil
At a minimum, change your oil every 3,000 miles, more often if you drive in extremely dirty or dusty conditions. Replace the oil filter with every oil change.

**179. Air Up **
Check tire inflation at least once a month. Take the readings when the tires are cold, as heat generated by driving will temporarily increase your tire pressure. In cold weather, air pressure will drop 1 to 2 psi for every 10-degree drop in ambient temperature, so check pressures more often in winter months.

180. Tire Care
Rotate your tires every 6,000 miles (or every other oil change).

181. Mud Wrestling
As with sand, maintain momentum in mud without creating excessive wheelspin. If you sense a loss of traction, turn your steering wheel back and forth, lock-to-lock, to allow the tire shoulder lugs to get a bite in the terrain. Take care when driving in deep ruts, as your front tires will tend to follow them regardless of steering-wheel input.

182. Flush Coolant
Flush your cooling system at least once a year. When refilling the system, use a mixture of antifreeze/ coolant and water. Typically a 50/50 mix is recommended, although going as high as 70 percent antifreeze/30 percent water will protect your system from freezing in truly severe (-60 F) weather conditions.

183. Five Ways to Get Out
1. Jack (a Hi-Lift model can be used as a come-along as well) 2. Shovel (collapsible) 3. Snatch strap (for a sympathetic hunting buddy to tow you out) 4. Floor mats (believe it or not, they'll help with traction on a slick or soft surface) 5. Winch

184. Quick Fixes
Duct tape can repair the following (at least temporarily): 1. Tear in a tire sidewall 2. Leaking radiator hose 3. Missing gas cap 4. Ripped upholstery 5. Holes torn in tonneau covers or rag tops.

185. Sinking Sands
Lowering the air pressure in your tires will widen their footprint and improve flotation and traction in sand. Maintain momentum, particularly in soft sand, but take care with the throttle, as excessive wheelspin will dig tires in down to the axles.

[pagebreak] 186. Water Hazards
Check depth before fording; water should be no deeper than bumper height. Drive slowly in water and cross streams at a 90-degree angle to minimize turbulence.

187. Climbing Hills
Drive straight up and straight down hills. Traveling perpendicular to the slope increases your chances of rolling the truck.

**188. Trailering **
To maneuver the trailer when reversing, put one hand on the steering wheel at the six o'clock position and move that hand in the direction you want the rear of the trailer to go. Use small inputs, as steering-wheel movement is multiplied through the vehicle and trailer.

189. Avoid Sway
To keep the tail from wagging the dog, pack your trailer so that 50 to 60 percent of the load is forward of the axle. Make sure the load is evenly dispersed side-to-side.

190. Always Varry
* Maps
* Flashlight
* Spare batteries
* Multi-tool or tool roll (adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, Allen wrenches)
* Duct tape
* Canned tire sealant
* Charged cell phone
* First-aid kit

ATV's
191. Safety First
When teaching young riders, take ATV safety as seriously as you would gun safety. Teach respect for the machine and for the environment.

**192. Test Abilities **
Make sure a young rider has the physical strength, motor skills and emotional maturity to ride safely.

[pagebreak] **194. Size 'Em Up **
Never let a young rider operate an ATV that is larger than recommended for his or her age:
Under 70cc: 6 yeears and older
70-90cc: 12 years and older
Over 90cc: 16 years and older

195. Go To School
Sign up the entire family for one of the ATV RiderCourses conducted at more than 1,000 locations by certified ATV Safety Institute instructors (800-887-2887; atvsafety.org). Most manufacturers will cover the cost of the class if you buy a new ATV from them.

196. Start Slowly
Select a broad, level area that's free of obstacles for a young rider's first lessons. Let the rider get a feel for the brakes and steering by simply pushing the youngster on the ATV with the engine off.

197. set an example
The best way to get a young rider to wear a helmet is to put on your helmet every time you ride, even if it's just a short way.

198. Winch up
Use a snatch-block pulley to increase your winching power.
* Start by feeding out enough wire rope to free the winch hook.
* Attach the hook to the vehicle frame and run the wire rope through a snatch block, which is a pulley sandwiched between two steel plates.
* Pull out enough wire to reach your anchor point.
* Use a clevis or shackle to attach the snatch block to a tree trunk protector strap or a choker chain secured around the anchor point.
Because pulling power decreases with the number of layers of wire rope on the winch drum, when you double-line out more wire rope you increase the mechanical advantage of the winch, which puts less strain on the winch and your ATV battery.

199. Sit Back
Whenever you can, ride straight downhill. Move back on the seat to shift your weight as far to the rear as possible.

[pagebreak] 200. Down Shift
When descending steep grades, select low range and use your engine's compression to control your speed without touching the brakes.

201. Watch Skids
Avoid using the brakes on slick or loose terrain to prevent spinning out.

202. Sidehilling
Avoid crossing a slope with a slick or loose surface. Always lean uphill.

203. turn slowly
Never make a sharp turn up or down a hill. If the ATV begins to tip, steer gradually in the downhill direction if possible.

204. Scout First
Before taking on a long, steep climb, scout ahead on foot to determine what lies on the other side.

205. Watch Up Top
Slow down as you crest a hill so you'll have time to react to an obstacle or another ATV or person that might be out of view but in your path.

** 206. Hazardous Hill**
Climbing: Shift your weight forward by standing on the footboards and leaning over the handlebars. If you begin to roll backward when climbing a steep incline, always use the front-wheel brakes. If you lock up the rear wheels, the ATV could flip over.