Off-roading isn’t simply sprinting through rugged terrain or crawling over rocks with the knowledge that the vehicle will handle whatever comes its way. There are proper steps to prevent a truck or SUV from getting stuck.
Mercedes-Benz shared a video on Wednesday to show owners of the 2019 G-Class how to properly approach and tackle swampy mud pits. There’s more to it than one may imagine.
The host is Jessi Combs, former host of Spike TV’s “Extreme 4×4” and a former cast member on “Myth Busters.”
The first step is baked into the G-Class itself: a proper ground clearance and all-terrain tires. From there, it’s about both the vehicle and the technique.
Drivers ready to tackle sticky mud will then need to activate low-range. Anyone off-roading a vehicle without low-range gearing won’t get very far when the terrain turns harsh.
Next, flip on the center and rear differential locks, both of which come standard in the G-Class. If the driver believes he or she will need the front locking differential (another standard feature on the G-Class), that’s fine too, but never leave any of them engaged while driving on normal roads. The differentials will distribute power to the wheels as evenly as possible to help prevent slipping, but they also keep the tires turning at the same rate, which can cause axle binding when turning corners on dry roads.
One mistake drivers might make is to either creep along too slowly through the mud or drive too fast. Instead, go at a steady and even pace. Too slow and the vehicle will get stuck. Too fast and control becomes an issue. The steady pace helps make sure the vehicle maintains momentum. If the G-Class does start to slow down in the middle of a mud puddle, gently add throttle. Too much throttle and the wheels will spin and splash mud everywhere, and it’s likely the SUV will get stuck.
It’s also best to try and find the ruts and drive alongside them to find more traction.
When drivers put the mud puddle in their rearview mirrors, Combs says its best to dry the brakes off with a few gentle taps of the brake pedal. She also notes that Mercedes-Benz suggests owners clean the mud off their SUVs, but if you prefer a G-Wagon dirty, that’s an understandable personal preference. It’s meant for mud, anyway.