This year, for our family vacation, we headed to the Outer Banks for our first stop. While there, I decided to try driving on the beach. There are several requirements to do this. First, you need four wheel drive. I carry two tow straps and a hitch that can be used to tow the van if necessary. I also have a hitch on the front and back, which would make it easier to tow if it would become necessary.
Another thing is to lower your tire pressure, so that the vehicle will “float” on the sand instead of digging in. The recommended pressure is 20 psi. Being a rookie, I only lowered to 30 psi. Sometime after this picture was taken, I ended up stuck below high tide line. Fortunately, by lowering the pressure to below 20 psi and a little rocking, it came out on its own.
Another thing I learned is what gear to be in. Originally, I used second gear in high range to avoid wheel spin. It worked somewhat, but I began having trouble with increasing engine and transmission temperatures. The tranny temperature went to 210 degrees. After getting stuck, I changed to low range, starting in second gear and then shifting to drive. This worked better, and my temperatures came down.
These are the bare basics of driving in the sand. Always remember to take it slow. If you start to spin, stop immediately or the vehicle will dig in, making it impossible to drive it out. Make sure to lower your tire pressures to 20 psi or lower. The caution with this is to remember that your vehicle will not handle very well on the road until you air back up.
Done safely, driving in the sand is fun for the family, and allows access for uncrowded stretches of beach. We had a good time with this, and will do it again when and if we make it back to the beach.
Leave a Reply