The Dos and Don’ts of Taking Your SUV Off-Road

15 January 2024
Off Road vehicle on gravel road

The modern-day SUV turnover is an incredible integration of everyday urban driving comfort that can still be felt on the rugged terrain of off-road driving. While you may be excited to shift down and tackle the scenic and challenging Namakwa Trail, it’s important to ensure that your SUV is off-road capable and off-road ready! Here are a few Dos and Don’ts to follow before taking your SUV off-road. 


  • Do your research - Before embarking on any journey, it's crucial to conduct thorough research on the terrain you'll be traversing. Knowing the conditions of the terrain will help you select the right type of tires for your vehicle. Different terrains require different types of tires to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Therefore, take the time to learn about the terrain and choose the appropriate tires for a smooth and safe journey.
  • Find out the condition of the terrain - It is crucial to assess the state of the terrain before embarking on your expedition, particularly if there have been any recent weather events that might have impacted it. It is recommended to thoroughly examine the terrain to determine any potential hazards or obstacles that may pose a risk to your safety. Taking the time to evaluate the condition of the terrain can help ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.
  • Check your tyre pressure - It is highly recommended to check and adjust your tyre pressure before embarking on any off-road adventure, especially when traversing rocky, muddy, or sandy terrain. Lowering the tyre pressure can significantly enhance your vehicle's traction, stability, and overall performance, making your ride smoother, safer, and more enjoyable. Take the time to check your tyre pressure before hitting the road, and make sure to carry a tyre pressure gauge with you at all times.
  • Check the tyre tread - Before taking your vehicle for off-roading, it is crucial to perform a thorough inspection of the tyre tread and sidewall. This involves checking for any cuts, punctures, bulges, or other signs of damage that may compromise the performance and safety of your vehicle. After the off-roading adventure, it is equally important to inspect the tyre again to ensure that it has not sustained any damage that can lead to problems later on. By following this simple but crucial step, you can enjoy your off-roading experience while keeping yourself and others safe on the road.
  • Carry an emergency kit - When you're exploring areas that are far from civilization, it's essential to prepare for unexpected situations. One way to do this is by carrying an emergency kit. This kit should include items such as a first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, a map, a compass, a multi-tool, and food and water supplies. Having these items on hand can make a significant difference in an emergency, and potentially even save your life.


  • Don’t go off-road in an SUV that isn’t designed for the conditions - If you are planning to drive on rough terrain, it's crucial to ensure that your SUV is specifically designed for off-road conditions. Attempting to navigate through challenging landscapes in a vehicle that is not equipped to handle such conditions can be extremely hazardous and put you and your passengers at risk. Therefore, it's best to be cautious and choose a suitable SUV that can provide the necessary support and safety features for off-road adventures.
  • Don’t go off-road with tyres that aren’t designed for the conditions - When venturing off the beaten path, it's crucial to equip your vehicle with tyres that are tailored to the terrain. Avoid the mistake of using tyres that are not designed for the specific conditions you'll be facing. Doing so can lead to dangerous situations and put you and your vehicle at risk. 

Tyres Suited to Off-Road Driving

All-Terrain tyres:

If you frequently drive on irregular terrain and regular roads, all-terrain tyres are a great choice. They have interlocking treads that provide durability to conquer dirt, gravel, and grass, while also offering a quieter and more comfortable ride on paved roads. Note that there are two types of all-terrain tyres: those designed for off-road conditions (50% road / 50% off-road) and those that are more highway-biased (90% road / 10% off-road).

Mud-Terrain tyres:

Mud-terrain tires are perfect for off-road adventures. They have aggressive treads that offer excellent grip on rough terrain, and durable sidewalls that can withstand impacts from rocks and other hazards. 

Off-Road Tyre Pressure Guide

  • Reducing tyre pressure off-road is important for two main reasons:
    1. it increases the length of the tyre footprint, which leads to better traction on difficult surfaces such as sand.
    2. it improves comfort on bumpy tracks. When the terrain is rough or corrugated, lower tyre pressure allows the tyre to absorb some of the bumps, acting as a shock absorber.
  • You must maintain proper tyre pressure to ensure the safe transport of your load.
  • When driving over rocky terrain, it is essential to use stronger 4x4 tyres that can withstand impacts to the sidewall and shoulder area without causing significant damage. When the tire pressure is too low, the sidewall becomes more exposed due to deflection, increasing the risk of sidewall damage. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain the recommended tyre pressure to avoid any potential damage.
  • When driving on soft sand, it's important to reduce the tyre pressure significantly to increase the tyre's contact area with the ground and improve traction. To avoid tyre dismounting from the rim, it is crucial to drive slower and avoid steering too much.
  • Maintaining the correct tyre pressure is crucial for ensuring your vehicle's safety and performance, so be sure to always carry the right equipment:

    1. Always carry a good quality tire pressure gauge, which enables you to check the pressure in your tires accurately.
    2. Have a compressor for reinflating the tires in case of an emergency.

By carrying these two pieces of equipment, you can ensure that your tires are always in good condition, which in turn will help you avoid any unwanted mishaps on the road.

Now that you’ve done all the necessary checks, it’s all systems go! We know that the off-road experience will be worth it.