STEPS

4 x 4 Australia - - 4x4 Techniques -

NO CHOICE

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.

ROPE-A-DOPE

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.

DIG­GITY

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.

MORE DIG­GING

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.

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