Here at East Coast 4WD Hire we are often asked a lot of questions regarding the area and driving on the sand.
We have collected some of the frequently asked questions that we received and place them on this page for all to read.
If you have any other questions or concerns please use our Contact Form.
When is the best time to travel around?
The best time to visit is ,well, really ,anytime.
The humidity is relatively high in Queensland, and temperatures can be in the low to mid 30 degres in the Summer months.
What is the minimum hire period available?
1 day is the minimum 4WD hire period, with the exception of the visiting Fraser Island, where a minimum of 2 days is required.
Is there an age restriction for hiring a 4WD from you?
All Drivers must be over 25 and less than 75 years of age and have a valid driver’s license.
Where do we collect or drop-off our 4WD vehicle?
We will agree a convenient location for collection and drop-off with you prior to the hire date. We are flexible and have delivered our 4WD’s to many locations in the area.
Which credit card types do you accept?
We accept Visa and Mastercard.
What is your cancellation policy?
Any cancellations must be received at least 7 days prior to your hire date. Cancellations must be received in writing (email, letter or text) and confirmation from us of receipt of your cancellation is proof of your cancellation request. A cancellation cost of up to but not more than the standard $100 deposit may be incurred if the booking is cancelled within 7 days of the hire date. If the cancellation is due to poor weather, the deposit can be held over for a rescheduled booking.
Do you give any safe driving tips?
Yes, we will provide a full pre-departure briefing ensuring you are aware of the local conditions and any safety tips and environmental awareness for your travel area.
Do you provide tide tables?
Yes, we do.
Do you provide a type pressure gauge, compressor and recovery kit?
Yes, we do.
What should we be aware of when driving on a beach or on soft sand?
The tyres are now very soft and a large footprint of rubber is in contact with the sand. Drive slowly until you reach firm ground again. Soft sand puts up so much resistance that you may have to use 4WD low range. Always be gentle on the gas to prevent digging in.
If you have a manual transmission, shifting up in sand will be almost impossible. So, start in 2nd gear low range and keep it there until you are through.
Automatic owners can enjoy all gears. The automatic is able to shift without any loss of momentum and the torque converter always provides the needed extra torque. However, the hard working engine and the heat generated in the torque converter during this process might lead to overheating. Therefore you might use low range as well.
If you have to drive several kms on the soft stuff (eg – up a long desert wash or a long stretch of beach), be extra careful with rocks that might “drift in the sand” like an iceberg showing only the top. Hit one and you risk severe tire damage.
After you are back on firmer stuff you should re-inflate the tires before driving faster than 50 Kmh.
Don’t forget – beach driving is a lot of fun!
Why do you need to deflate your tyres for beach driving?
Generally, as long as the sand is moist, you are safe. Traction and flotation are not an issue. Only when the sand has dried to a fine consistency and is even difficult to walk on – like on most beaches – will you have a hard time driving on it, 4WD or not.
4WD or AWD will do best on soft sand. Automatic AWD is OK but not as efficient as 4WD or AWD.
Small, light 4WD vehicles do best on soft sand. Very light vehicles with very big flotation tires will even drive without trouble in soft sand in 2WD.
Important: When the soft sand slows you down do not increase the gas to maintain your previous speed! Allow your vehicle to work through the sand slowly. It will speed up by itself once the sand gets firmer. When you notice that one or more tires start spinning (if necessary, have someone monitor the tires for you) get off the gas immediately! Spinning tires will dig deep into the sand and make going back to safe ground very difficult. A speedy recovery is almost impossible.Usually you can reverse out as long as you haven’t dug yourself down.
Forget momentum to carry you through soft sand. Using momentum means you are out of control. You will have almost no steering control and could hit obstacles hidden in the sand or smash into trees and bushes.
The only safe and controlled procedure to drive on soft sand is with substantially deflated tires. Depending on your tire size and vehicle weight, drop from your regular tire pressure of about 32 psi down to at least 20 psi – much better for soft sand is 14 psi. Any pointy object pressed into the valve will release the air for you. You should carry a pressure gauge to dial in the correct psi (we provide one with our hire 4WDs).
Be Safe on the Beach!
Even remote beaches sometimes have vacation homes. Please respect the presence of their owners. Slow down when you see a house on the beach. Kids might be at play. Always drive slowly past any homes.
If you see people present at the beach, drive extremely slowly past them. Wave and say hello.
Driving on beach sand can be very tricky. Watch for small pieces of wood that were carried up the beach by high tides – they might have nails in them.
Some stretches of beach are tilted down towards the water. While driving on this tilt you might experience that your rear drifts to the downside. Do not steer to the high side at this point because you will likely loose traction and your rear end will swing to the downhill side even more. The added resistance will also stall your vehicle. Instead, steer to the down side, get up to some speed and try to position your vehicle again parallel to the waterline.
Always look far ahead. Those tilts might become steeper as you go. So steep that you might not be able to go back up and there may not be enough room to turn around. Do not lose your car in the water by not watching your surrounds!
Be aware of rising tides! They come faster than you think.
Stay at least 10 feet (3 metres or so) from the waterline. NEVER drive in the water. Rust will render your vehicle useless in a few days. Soft, wet sand close to the waterline could swallow your vehicle. Avoid driving fast on wet sand also. Drive slowly. At speed salty sand will be thrown all over the undercarriage of the vehicle and will cause rust even after you rinse it off with fresh water.
Needless to say you drive on the beach at your own risk.