THIS might sound a little backwards, but the first step when it looks like you’ll have to bury your spare tyre is to try every other conceivable method of getting yourself un-stuck. It’s a seriously last-resort option that involves hard yakka and a long time in the sun. If you’ve got a shovel – and you should always have a shovel – try using it to dig away the sand from in front of your tyres.
IF THAT fails, now isn’t the time to start taking half measures. So wind out the winch rope until there’s just one full layer left on the drum. It’ll let your winch work with its maximum pulling potential and, hopefully, give you enough length to get back on semi-solid ground.
NOW grab your trusty long-handled shovel. You’ll need to dig the hole deep enough to get your spare tyre completely under the surface, with at least 100mm of room to pack sand above again. As difficult as it is, you’ll need to avoid sloping the side of the hole closest to your vehicle, as it’s going to bear the full force of the spare tyre pushing against it. If possible, undercut the hole so the tyre is leaning away from the vehicle. Don’t cart the sand too far away either, as you’ll need it again soon.
FILL THE HOLE
BY NOW the sun should be about an hour lower in the sky, and you’ll be cursing yourself for driving on that damned beach. But the good news is it’s now time to fill the hole. Grab your spare tyre and feed a tree-trunk protector through the centre hole of your wheel and back over the front. Avoid putting the strap through any spokes in your wheel, as the load can buckle steel and alloy wheels alike.
WHEEL IT IN
ROLL the tyre to the edge of the hole and gently lower it in. If you have a standard size tyre you should be able to lower it in by hand, being careful not to push sand back in the hole. You’ll need to face the outside of your wheel against the front edge of the hole. It has a bigger surface area so can spread the load over a larger area. If you have larger and heavier tyres you’ll need to roll the tyre in from the side. The strap should be at the bottom of the tyre, if possible.
DON’T get too excited just yet – there’s more digging to be done. You must now dig a shallow trench through the sand so your winch line can make a beeline to the ends of your tree-trunk protector in the wheel. Try and keep the trench as narrow as possible, as the more sand you take away the less strength the wall of the hole will have to hold your spare tyre.