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Robert Pepper's 4WD Handbook 2/e

The Complete Guide to How 4wds Work and How to Drive Them
Table of

In this second edition of the bestselling 4WD Handbook, four-wheel drive expert and author Robert Pepper provides an in-depth explanation of how 4WDs work. He shares practical techniques for hill-driving, sand-driving, water crossings, as well as driving in mud, snow and sand.

In this revised second edition, Pepper includes techniques, photographs and technology from the very latest vehicles. This second edition also includes new chapters regarding off-road towing, choosing a vehicle and driving unfamiliar vehicles.

This guide also provides comprehensive explanations of how to get yourself out of trouble — always a possibility when exploring challenging terrain — with detailed chapters regarding recovery techniques.

The 4WD Handbook is probably the most comprehensive guide of its kind in the world. Here’s what industry experts have to say:

"This book is a must for everyone, from someone who is thinking about buying their first four wheel drive to the experienced four wheel drive instructor." -- 4WD Victoria, Trackwatch magazine

Just finished reading The 4WD Handbook.  In my opinion, this is the best off-road book I have read and I will be recommending it to all my clients. The common-sense approach to everything is brilliant.“ -- Trailmasters International

“ It was like having a 4WD refresher course without having to go off-road or even sit in a vehicle." - Phil Hanson, 4WD Newz

Robert Pepper is a freelance motoring driver trainer based in Melbourne, specialising in offroad vehicles and navigation. He has had over 400 articles published in 16 magazines and newspapers in Australia and around the world and has twice judged the annual awards for Overlander 4WD magazine.

Robert is closely involved in the 4WD club movement at several levels from leading trips ranging from day journeys to outback treks, organsing events such as abandoned vehicle recovery days and helping form responses to industry and government changes affecting offroaders.

Robert is also a senior instructor with 4WD Victoria, and has rewritten the basic training course, created a towing course and written an advanced vehicles course from scratch. He also trains commercially, and has contributed to and reviewed the Australian national 4WD training standards.

Prior to his involvement in offroading Robert was a private pilot with an interest in aerobatics. He has an interest in most things with wings, wheels or sails.



·         Every driving technique chapter has a section on the environment to supplement a dedicated chapter on the subject.

 How 4WDs work

·         What a driver needs to know.  Differentials, gearing, suspension, power, torque and more.

Wheels and tyres for offroaders

·         Detailed discussion of tyres, rims, how to choose, low-profile vs high-profile tyres, how tyres work.

Modern vehicles and electronic aids

·         New vehicles have ETC, ESP, HDC, EBA, EBD, terrain-adaptive settings, torque-vectoring differentials and many more electronic driving aids.  All are explained in a specialised chapter and referred to throughout the book.


·         A softroader is an offroader without low range. Theres a dedicated chapter on softroaders, and each chapter accounts for techniques without low range.

The usual 4WD driving techniques

·         Mud, rocks, sand, hills and snow are fully described with a chapter apiece.

More 4WD driving techniques

·         Dedicated chapters on night, long-distance, bitumen, economy, sideslopes, grass, car control, dirt roads.

Offroad towing

·         Towing and manoeuvring trailers in difficult, low-range conditions.

Driving unfamiliar 4WDs

·         How to step into a vehicle you don’t know, and still drive it

4WD Recovery techniques

·         How to plan a recovery, then how to carry one out with snatch straps, jacks and other recovery gear like traction mats.

4WD Recovery loads

·         Comprehensive discussion of what loads are involved in recovery using both theory and the results of real-world tests.


·         Detailed description of winching physics, forces involved, how to winch, types of winches.

4WD Accessories and modifications

·         A comprehensive list of modifications and accessories for a touring offroader with notes on why you’d need it, what to look for, and how it works.

Choosing a 4WD

·         Pros and cons of the major types of 4WD for offroad touring, and features you absolutely must have in a 4WD.

  • The complete guide as to how 4WDs work and how to drive them
  • Covers latest vehicles and technology
  • Driving techniques for all terrains
  • Offroad towing
  • Comprehensive recovery techniques
  • Choosing a 4WD
  • Accessories guide

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