Don't let minor hiccups come in the way of your best off-roading moments.
Presenting some tips from Mahindra Adventure.
1. Check your vehicle
Most of us (urban off-roaders) don't spend a great deal of time in our 4x4s as these vehicles are cumbersome to drive in traffic and not very comfortable.
These tough machines are the pride of our parking space and are less seen on the roads.
But when the time comes to go off-road, don't accept what the mechanic tells you.
You will need to check the following:
- Lift up your vehicle and check for traces of oil from differentials, transmission and around the engine bay. No leaks? Still get the fluid levels checked. Top up if need be.
- Check your clutch for sufficient bite and ensure it's not slipping. If it does, replace it immediately.
- The brakes must operate properly and the vehicle shouldn't veer off the line when you hit them. This should be fixed immediately to avoid sliding down a slushy mountain.
- Check your hubs and 4x4 knob for smooth engagement of the 4x4 system.
- Check the steering for operation. It shouldn't make noises on full left or right lock. If it does, check the fluid level. Ensure the pressure is right in all tires including the spare.
2. Do not venture alone
If your vehicle passes all the necessary checks, you are ready to hit the off-road trails.
But as a golden rule, do not venture into the wild alone as it's easy for your vehicle to get stuck, but very difficult to pull it out.
You will need your off-road mates' help to pull you out of trouble, especially if your engine gives up on you.
A tractor from a nearby village can help pull your vehicle out, but an engine rebuild is not their cup of tea.
In short, take your friends and most importantly their 4x4s with a winch.
3. Have the right equipment and essentials
Make a list of must-have items before you enter your vehicle and offer these to your fellow passengers too.
Start with a good pair of 'light' gumboots, sunglasses, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, sleeves, hats/caps and long pants.
As comfy as shorts maybe, they won't offer much protection from bushes and shrubs.
Also, keep a torch handy and a good Swiss knife.
Don't forget to carry sufficient water and snacks.
4. Vehicle equipment and spares
One essential tool your vehicle should have is a winch, popularly known as the crane on wheels.
The winch needs to be twice the capacity of your vehicle's weight and should be mounted on the chassis crossmember.
Tow ropes, D-shackles, winch dampers, tough gloves, engine, brake and clutch fluid, along with a pair of hubs should be part of your off-roading essentials.
5. Do not harm the environment
If you have to use your essentials on off-road trails, make sure that you don't leave behind any plastic or throw anything in the woods.
Collect all the garbage in bio-degradable bags and dump it in the nearest garbage bin.
Vinod Nookala, Deputy General Manager of Mahindra Adventure Initiatives gives us the do's and don'ts from the Mahindra Sakleshpur off-roading trophy event.
Video: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com