Encountering sand when you are driving can be a nightmare. If you have a 2WD on sand car with not a lot of horsepower you may not be searching for opportunities to test your vehicle’s ability to handle sandy terrain.
But what happens if you are up against a stretch where you need to drive through? What do you do? Find another way? Maybe it is your first time and you want to see how it can handle it.
If you do get stuck how do you get a 2WD out of sand? Don’t worry you are not the first or last person to ask this. But with a little know-how, you will be prepared to handle it when it happens.
I’m A Bit Adventurous. Can 2WD Go On Sand?
Yes, a 2 wheel drive car can go on sand though it is not a smart idea! If the sand is dry and deep there is a good chance you will get your car stuck in sand especially if you stop.
Some all-wheel-drive vehicles get stuck in sand in some conditions. A two-wheel-drive car will have even more trouble managing the sand. But if you drive quickly and under control through a patch of sand you may have no trouble passing over it.
If you do drive slowly and carefully you will most likely get your car stuck in sand. If that happens, don’t worry I have your back. If you are plan ahead you will have not a problem managing this newfound adventure.
Before I continue, I want to state that the easiest way to be unstuck in a 2WD on sand car is, like sex, to practice abstinence. Prevention is 100% effective to avoid getting stuck in sand in your 2WD car.
How Do You Get Unstuck From Sand Without AWD?
Consistant Pedal Control:
- Keep your foot on the gas and don’t let off or rev it a lot. Giving consistent power will keep you from giving it too much gas and spinning your tires and it will keep your momentum. Try to avoid going too slow and stopping or trying to speed up.
- A consistent 5-10 MPH through sand will give you better results than stopping or trying to quickly take off.
Get Ready To Dig:
- If you are stuck it is probably because your tires have sunk into the sand. You can get better traction if there is less sand around the tire.
- You can also put down mats, a piece of wood, or other large objects laying around the area in front of or in back of your tire to get more grip.
Use Specialized Equipment:
- A Trac Grabber is used for heave mud or deep sand when even 4×4 equipped vehicles need help. To get unstuck from the sand without AWD a Trac Grabber will help quite a bit.
- A makeshift one made of wood or a rock strapped to even a single tire can get you to safety.
- If you have long planks you can wedge under your tire in front or in the back. They will get your tires off the sand and on a stable surface so the tires can grip. Even if they are a foot or so long they will offer you much better traction than sand. LITEWAY Traction Boards make a great set to keep handy.
- Even a bunch of rocks lined up in a row will give your car a chance to start moving so you can get some momentum that will push you forward through the rest of the sandy terrain.
Wet Sand Is Better Than Dry Sand:
- It is better to drive on wet than dry sand with 2WD vehicles. If you can, pour water in front of your tires so the sand can compact and form a harder surface to grip.
- You will need a lot of water to do this. Wait for the water to drain through the sand and then pour more water a few times. The idea is that the sand will compact all around. It will act more like a road rather than loose sand.
- Wet sand will give your car a better grip as it sticks to itself more and offers a harder surface. You won’t sink down in wet sand as much as dry sand.
Add Weight To The Tires:
- Tires spin because there is not enough downward force to provide traction. If your passengers can sit over the tires that are powered by the engine they may give you enough traction to get out car out of sand.
- NOTE: This may make things worse if you do not do any of the things above. You may just dig your tires deeper into the sand if you tell everyone to jump on your car and go.
Find A Tow:
- A last-ditch effort would be to find help. Another car or truck that has a recovery rope or towing straps to help you move would help quite a bit.
Should You Deflate Tires In Sand With Only 2WD?
Yes, absolutely. You should deflate the tires powered by the engine (the front tires on front-wheel drive vehicles or the rear vehicles on rear-wheel-drive cars) and inflate the free-spinning tires within 5PSI of the maximum recommended PSI setting on your tires.
That way your driving tires will get the most grip to keep the car moving and the free-spinning tires will offer the least resistance to sand and will help your car ride on top of the sand.
Check out this video of a Subaru Outback with all-wheel drive. It shows an attempt up a sandy bank with normal tires and partially deflated tires. Notice the difference (and how even a car with AWD still has a lot of trouble in sand):
If you are traveling more than across a small area and you need to get through a bunch of sand and there are no other options then you should do all you can to not get stuck. Deflating your tires so they look about halfway inflated should be enough (about 20 PSI per tire).
Of course, make sure you are able to inflate your tires when you leave the sand as it can be dangerous and unstable to drive with deflated tires.
Can FWD Drive On Sand At All?
Yes, front-wheel-drive cars can drive on the sand, though it is not recommended. If you need to drive for extended ranges you have a very good chance of getting stuck. For shorter distances, it may not be a problem, though with dry deep sand you are running a high risk of getting stuck.
With front-wheel drive SUVs or heavier sedans driving on the sand is almost always a terrible idea. A vehicle that is heavy and offers little traction is a recipe for creating an expensive beach tent.
As long as you’re not driving on really soft wet sand you should be ok with that FWD Honda. Lightweight vehicles seem to do better than big SUVs, but I see 2wd heavy SUVs out there. They do not seem to be very aggressive, but they drive out to a camp or bonfire area and sometimes drive around some.
Can 4×2 Go Off-Road Safely?
Yes, 4×2 vehicles can handle off-road terrain safely. transiting to and from an off asphalt road with favorable weather conditions should not is a major issue. When you are driving through unknown terrain where you may encounter water hazards, large rocks, or other serious barriers, a 4×2 vehicle will not only get stuck in sand but can also be seriously damaged.
Driving a truck with all-wheel drive or 4×4 will handle many times better than any 4×2. While a 4×2 can go off-road safely it is not recommended and there may be a very high chance of something bad happening if you do.
A 4×4 equipped truck will power through ice, sand, dirt, rocks, uneven roads, mud, and any combination. Think of walking in the sand. You have two legs and you move with relative ease. Now imagine hopping around. You are less stable and may sink in the sand quickly.
Your ability to move through the sand slowly and under control is severely limited. The same thing applies (though in a much different way) to 4×2 and 4×4 trucks.
They say, “it is better to have 4×4 and not need it than the other way around“.
Thanks for reading and stay sandy