Sunsets over the ocean, waves breaking on the shore, and the smell of salt in the air… there’s nothing better than cruising down the beach, finding a sheltered cove, and relaxing for the day.
Subaru drivers may well be wondering if they’re able to take their Forester for a beach drive.
The good news is yes, you absolutely can and should.
But before you get too sand-happy, it’s good to get the basics down before you charge onto the beach. If you’re not careful, you could put your car and yourself at risk of getting bogged or worse, stranded.
Here is your how-to guide for sand driving in your Subaru Forester.
Know what your Forester is capable of
Let’s cut to the chase.
Your Subaru Forester’s isn’t a 4WD. But… a combination of excellent All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and ground clearance makes it possible to join the other serious off-roaders on the beach.
And it’s good to remember that your Subaru symmetrical AWD system is one of the most tried and tested in the world, so you can count on it, especially when the going gets rough.
If you’re facing a tricky bit of road to get to the beach, make sure you engage X Mode for extra grip over these sections.
Keep it controlled and steady, and have some fun!
Get the right equipment
Setting off on a beach drive without the essentials is a recipe for disaster. Before you leave the bitumen, make sure you’ve got the following gear on hand:
- Tire inflator
- Pressure gauge
- Sand shovel
There’s nothing worse than getting bogged and having to be rescued. If worse comes to worst you can use your shovel to extract yourself from the sand. But if you know the route takes you through seriously soft sand, you may want to consider bringing traction boards just in case.
Have you got the right tyres?
Check your tyres.
Do they have sufficient traction? Or are they smooth from years of city driving?
Types of tyres and their condition can affect the quality of your ride, and even help prevent getting stuck. Generally, your normal tyres should be fine as long as you’re running on the right PSI.
If you’re not sure about whether your tyres are the correct ones for beach driving, drop into Perth City Subaru and speak to the experts.
Check your ground clearance
If you’ve lowered your Forester for city driving, you’ll need to go make some changes. A lowered Forester isn’t going to cut it on the sand. If there are existing tracks in the sand from all the other 4WD vehicles, chances are you’re not going to have the clearance for these tracks. Find your own stable route through the sand.
If you’ve raised it – well done, you’re one step closer to being beach-ready. The new Forester should have a ground clearance of 8.7 inches – ideal for a spot of beach driving.
Think you’re ready? Do a quick once-over
Before you set off, do a quick engine check and make sure your Forester is ready. Be sure to check you have:
- Sufficient fuel in the tank
- Oil levels checked
- Extra water
Check the sand density
Before you start your beach drive, make sure you jump out of the car and test the sand density. Different locations and weather conditions can create vastly different driving conditions on the beach.
For example, if it’s rained recently, the sand might be more compacted than if it’s been sitting in the sun for weeks. If it’s soft sand and you find your feet are sinking in, this won’t be possible with your Forester. Firmer sand is always closer to the water, but make sure there’s a sufficient buffer between you and the shore.
Research the tidal patterns
Depending on where you’re driving, tidal patterns could affect your route.
Let’s say you set off at low tide across a narrow stretch of beach – 4 hours later on your way back you may find your tracks underwater. Knowing the height of tide and local schedules can save you from being trapped unexpectedly. Remember to research your route before you set off and check that you’ve got enough space to return to safety.
7 Best Tips for driving on sand
It’s one thing to have all the right equipment, but the actual driving… well that’s another ballgame. If you’re new to driving on the sand, there are a few things you’ll need to remember:
- Drop your tyre pressure to about 17-18 PSI for extra grip and traction
- Always use a gauge to see what your tire pressure is
- Drive a course where the sand is most firm (just not in the water)
- Turn off traction control (VDC) when you hit the sand
- Keep a steady speed at a low range when on the sand
- Avoid accelerating quickly or sharp turns
- Always inflate your tyres as soon as you hit the bitumen road again
Finally, make sure you’re contactable throughout your trip. Getting stranded is never fun, so always have a line of communication open.
Get your Subaru Forester ready for beach driving
Ensuring your Forester is in the right condition is a prerequisite to a safe and relaxed drive. Get your new Subaru Forester ready for sand driving with the experts. Drop by Perth City Subaru, or get in contact online. We’re here to make sure your next beach adventure is a success.