Some people wonder why we don’t just throw on the spare every time. Think about it. By putting on your spare, you’re basically using your safety net. You should try to fix the main tire first. Unless it’s damaged severely, you should be able to use it again. And you’ll still have the spare as a back up.
If you immediately throw on the spare, you’re left with no other options. You have to hope that the spare will carry through the remainder of the course, or you head for home.
There are times, however, when you need to use the spare. If you’re ever in a dangerous situation that requires a quick exit, or you’re simply unable to make the necessary repairs, put the spare on and drive to a better location. Safety always comes first.
Tires take a pounding on the trails
Let’s take a look at tires and see why they are so prone to problems. First, they take a lot of abuse. They shoulder the weight of our vehicles, and are forced to carry us over some really nasty terrain. (Even pavement takes its toll on tires.)
On top of that, we air down the tires before hitting the trails. The weight of the vehicle causes the sidewalls to bulge making them susceptible to cuts and gashes. At the same time, with reduced air pressure the tire is unable to hold the bead as well, so we see a fair number of busted beads under these conditions.
The softer tire also increases the chance that a rim will get banged up on rocks. In addition, a valve stem can be damaged or torn out while driving through tight spots.
The types of problems you are likely to encounter fall into four general categories. To drive confidently off-road you should know how to:
Fix a popped bead
Plug a puncture
Break a bead
Replace a valve stem
The tools you’ll need include:
A rag to clean out the rim
(optional) Steel brush on a long handle
Plug kit like Safety Seal® or ARB’s Speedy Seal
A couple extra valve stems
Multi-function valve core tool
Next time we’ll discuss each of the four important tasks in greater detail. The skills and tools needed to handle those situations provide you peace of mind so you can more fully enjoy your next off-road adventure.
If you have been waiting for a Ruts & Ridges Clinic, the Winching Clinic or a Sand Clinic, it is time to sign up for one or all.
The Ruts clinic is near Wrightwood and is only a few weeks away. http://www.4x4training.com/TrainingClinics/RutsClinic.html
The Sand Clinic is at Pismo in late September. http://www.4x4training.com/TrainingClinics/sandclass.html
The Winch Clinic is Friday September 12th. We always hold them on a weekday to lessen the risk of someone running over our lines and hurting themselves. http://www.4x4training.com/TrainingClinics/Winch.html
As a general rule we only hold these 3 clinics a few times each year, so don’t miss this chance to sign up.
We have a bunch of Rocks clinics scheduled in August and September to get you ready for Moab next April. http://www.4x4training.com/TrainingClinics/Rock.html
I’ll see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc
4-Wheel Drive School