March 1st 2011

Off-roading in the winter

Yep, we sure love buying our four-wheel drives vehicles. But are we using them for anything other than city driving? Few folks take them off-road (other than when they need to). But we don’t really understand why… It’s loads of fun.

Don’t know where to begin? Read on.

What is four-wheel drive?

On four-wheel drive vehicles, power is transferred from the engine to the road via a differential, which splits the power between the left and right wheels. This is located on the front and back axles (as opposed to rear-wheel drive, where it’s on the back, or front-wheel, where it’s on (you guessed it) the front).

A vehicle with four-wheel drive will always have two wheels receiving power, which helps save the day if there is a traction imbalance between the side wheels at both the front and back of the vehicle.

Good, I’ll never get stuck.

Not true. Yes, you’ll be able to go through rough, brutal terrains with a lot more ease, but if you use too much throttle, you’ll end up building yourself into a pretty deep hole. But the good part is, four-wheel drive will offer you more traction in icy or slippery conditions, which will help pull you forward through, say, piles of snow.

Gunning it

Unlike your souped-up Civic, speed isn’t something that works into off-roading. Instead, opt for slower speeds with gentle steering and breaking.  This will keep you steady and alert to check out the conditions around you.

Become one with your off-roader

Pay close attention to what your car is telling you, along with what’s going on around you. How soft is the terrain? Is your car lurching to the left? What’s in front of you? And be logical–stopping uphill might not be the best idea.

The good ol’ snow

Snow can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Be careful on sheer ice, deep ditches, and other weather conditions that you would be in anyway. Stay off of ice-covered water, as you’ll never know what is underneath.

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.