How To Use Maxtrax For Four-Wheel Drive Sand Recovery
A lesson in four-wheel drive sand recovery using the Maxtrax by Glynn Williams
Are you sick of getting your four-wheel drive bogged and having to dig yourself out? It can be very tiring and takes the pleasure out of the whole four-wheel drive experience. Though there are many techniques that Perth operated four-wheel drive training school Western Wilderness 4WD & Survival Training teach as part of their Perth four-wheel drive trainer courses, the use of the popular Australian designed Maxtrax – the innovative, lightweight vehicle recovery device is certainly going to get you excited about driving on sand again.
The Maxtrax, has been rigorously tried and tested across some of the world’s toughest off-road four-wheel drive events and expeditions. The original Maxtrax brand has been around since 2005 and is considered a safe, simple, quick and easy method for vehicle self-recovery from soft sand, mud, slush and snow.
We’re going to walk you through some of the key points for safely and correctly using the Maxtrax for 4WD vehicle recovery, so that you can ‘take the easy way out!’
Instructions for correct use of your Maxtrax
Manufacturer Safety Warnings
Always follow the manufacture’s safety instruction of the brand and product you are using.
- WARNING! Failure to follow these instructions and recommendations may result in personal injury and/or property damage and will void any warranties, implied or otherwise.
- Please remember SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT when attempting to recover a stuck vehicle.
- BEWARE of hot components when clearing debris from the underside of a vehicle.
- DO NOT SPIN YOUR WHEELS – this will damage your MAXTRAX and could cause personal injury and/or property damage.
- DO NOT USE MAXTRAX on hard and rocky surfaces, as a bridge or a ramp, at temperatures below -20C or on vehicles weighing more than 5000kg.
How to use Maxtrax
- When your vehicle fails to proceed, STOP and retrieve your MAXTRAX. Spinning your wheels, particularly in soft sand, will only bury your vehicle deeper.
- Clear debris and obstructions from around tyres and underbody components such as diffs, axles and sidesteps. MAXTRAX can be inverted and used as a shovel. It is essential that the wheels are bearing the weight of the vehicle, not spinning freely in mid-air. You may need to use a long-handled shovel to clear beneath the vehicle’s undercarriage.
- WEDGE the MAXTRAX FIRMLY against the tyre tread, in front of both front tyres if attempting to drive forward, or behind both rear tyres if attempting to reverse. Ensure that the MAXTRAX are pointing in the intended direction of immediate travel. The MAXTRAX should not lay flat on the ground but protrude at an angle (as shown above). Lowering your tyre pressures now can greatly improve the available traction to ensure a successful recovery. Using the tell-tale leashes will also make finding your buried MAXTRAX that much easier.
- Clear the area of personnel and climb back into your vehicle. Double check to ensure the area is clear of personnel before starting the engine.
- Engage low ration, first gear and GENTLY accelerate. DO NOT SPIN YOUR WHEELS! The slow rotation allows the tyres to grip the lugs on top of the MAXTRAX and draw them under. Wheel spin will damage your MAXTRAX (by generating sufficient heat to melt the material and burn off the teeth) and dig you in deeper. MAXTRAX damaged by wheel spin are not covered under warranty.
- If the tyres do not immediately grip the MAXTRAX and drag them underneath, STOP, reposition the MAXTRAX so that they are FIRMLY WEDGED against the tyre’s treads, and try again. DO NOT SPIN YOUR WHEELS! You may also need to clear more debris to ensure the wheels are bearing the vehicle’s weight.
- Once the tyres gain traction, maintain the momentum until the vehicle reaches firm ground. Repeat the entire procedure if necessary.
- Retrieve your MAXTRAX. The bright orange tell-tale leashes should make them easy to find, even if they’re completely buried.
Facts about Maxtrax
- MAXTRAX takes the drama out of getting stuck. The aggressive large cleats on MAXTRAX sink their teeth into the tyre tread and the terrain under your 4WD vehicle to prevent it from slipping back into sand, mud, snow or slush and make vehicle recovery safe, simple, quick and easy.
- MAXTRAX is the perfect fit for every outing. Measuring just 1150mm long X 330mm wide x 65mm high each set of MAXTRAX stacks together at a height of just 85mm.
- Made of UV-stabilised, flexible, super tough engineering-grade reinforced nylon, MAXTRAX provides traction and a firm base to get your vehicle quickly back on track.
- Each MAXTRAX weighs just 3.4 kilograms. MAXTRAX is easy to carry and thanks to its signature double-ended design, it’s easy and quick to manoeuvre under your tyres.
- MAXTRAX have six comfortable built-in handles and a shovel at either end for removing excess earth to help get you unstuck quicker. They also have exclusive keyhole accessory points to allow you to securely mount your MAXTRAX.
- MAXTRAX have been tested at the University of Queensland to wrap around a 33-inch tyre without breaking.
Join lead driver instructor Glynn Williams on any of our Perth based four-wheel drive training courses to learn the correct techniques for driving on sand in your four-wheel drive. The Western Wilderness 4WD & Survival Training Half-day Sand Training Course has been designed to focus your training and development to learn how to control your vehicle in sand conditions such as on the beach, dunes, sand tracks and hills. Find out more information on our popular four-wheel drive sand training course here.
You will learn on the course the following driver training objectives:
- Pre-start vehicle check.
- Understand how a four-wheel drive works.
- Environmental impact.
- How to get the best out of your 4×4 in sandy conditions.
- Understanding the importance of tyre pressures.
- Understanding the difference between external bead lockers (split rims) and internal bead lockers (standard safety rims).
- Practical driving on sand tracks and hills.
- Introduction to basic recovery equipment including the Maxtrax.