I want to create an article about offroad driving. As I have no personal experience (yet) I decided to do this in my sandbox. Feel free to edit! And: If you think you have enough knowledge to assure at least basic quality of the article move it to Offroad driving.
Besides from the obvious fact that all four wheels are driven and thus givin more traction, there are other important differences between a two-wheel and a four-wheel drive:
Low transfer gearing: Needed to take steep, diffucult terrain slowly and carefully
Differential locks: ...
Center differential lock: Must be locked immediatly when driving through difficult terrain, because if it not locked and one wheel looses traction, all power will be distributed to this (no free-running) wheel. If the centre differential is locked, then two wheels have to loose ground contact for this to happen, and it must me one wheel from the front and one from the back.
Axle differantial locks: Do not lock on tar (excessive tyre wear). May create difficulties on flat terrain there the surface is slippery, but traction almost the same for every wheel (e.g. sand), understeer. The rear lock always has to be engaged before the front lock!
Rule of thumb: Engage the center lock immediatly when leaving tar, engage axle locks only to get out of diffucult situations.
Always remember to wear a saftly belt, even if driving at low speeds!
Make it a habit to never brace yourself with a "roll bar", in the event you overturn, you may crush or lose fingers.
Make sure your saftey helmet has face protection. (Broken jaws are common.)
Do not fight against the vehicle. Let the steering wheel slip through your fingers a bit and gently guide it on the ways you want. And keep you thumbs out of the inside of the steering wheel, it might beat back if you hit an obstacle!
Never grip the steering wheel with your thumbs on the inside. Hitting a boulder or pothole at speed will cause the steering to turn fast and hard, resulting in a bruised, dislocated or broken thumb.
Corrugation: On gravel roads sooner or later corrugation will build up. This will result in shaking if you drive more than about 20 km/h. At a much higher speed (80 km/h) it will get better, as the car "jumps" from wave to wave.
River: Carefully watch other cars driving or walk through to see how deep it is before. If the engine block is hit by the water it will be cooled down very quickly, this might result in cracks.
Sand: Release pressure out of the tyres before hitting a sand track, 0.8 to 1.0 bar, depending on the load of the vehicle. Do not try to steer agains resitance, the car will usually seach his track. Do not shift gears. Do not brake as this will build up small hills of sand in fromt of you tyres, making it difficult to start again. If you get stuck do not try to accelerate as this will only dig you more into the sand. Try driving backwards instead. Use high ratio because the additional momentum given by the low transfer gear will cause wheelspin.
It is highly recommended that you carry a recovery kit when traveling offroad. A simple kit can mean the difference getting yourself out of a tight spot within an hour or being stuck for days waiting for help to arrive.
A basic recovery kit should contain at least the following:
Gloves - Most injuries occur while trying to extract a stuck vehicle.
Tree protector - Do not use your tow straps or winch cable directly around trees, as this might cause damage.
Snatch Block - To double you winching power or allow your vehicle to be pulled even when there is no space for another vehicle in front of it.
D-Ring Shackles - To attach things together.
High lift jack - In most places where you might get stuck, the standard jack will just not be high enough.
Always ensure that the equipment is from a reputable manufacturer and of good quality. When suck in the mud 100km from the nearest town, a working snatch block is worth a lot more than a broken one with a 12 month no questions asked exchange warranty.
Due to quality concerns it is generally better build your own recovery kit by purchasing each component individually, than to buy a complete all-in-one recovery kit.
fuel filters: Especially when driving in third world countries, as the fuel is often contaminated with dirt and water
epoxy putty (to seal big holes in the radiator)
Diesel or Petrol?
The availiability of diesel is better in 3rd world countries. <to be continued>
X-Trail: Not necessarily a 4x4, there is a 2x4 type, too.
Cars by this manufacturer have the reputation of beein very relyable. They are used in many 3rd world countries so it is easier to get spare parts even there.
Single Cab: Three seats, two doors
Xtracab: Five seats, two doors
Double Cab: six seats, four doors
Hiring a car
Most companies require a minimum age to rent a car.