4 wheel drive

I have looked at several small SUV vehicles and the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4 come in a 4-wheel drive version. Salesmen have given me completely opposite answers to the question of whether you can drive these vehicles on the beach in NC. One says absolutely you can drive them on the beachand the other says no way- that these are really AWD vehicles they cannot be driven in the sand. Who is correct? If they cannot be driven in the sand, why are they labelled 4WD?

Depends more on the sand than the car. In New Jersey and Maryland you need oversize tires and 4wd to drive in the soft sand. In Florida my parents have driven a Honda Civic on the beach. What do the locals in NC (about halfway in between NJ and FL) have to say? Were the dealer guys you talked to in NC or elsewhere?

There are a lot of SUV’s out there and even more 4WD and AWD systems. Full time AWD might not be sturdy enough for loose sand on a beach. 4WD systems where you can shift into and out of 4WD would be better, and those with 4WD low range best yet.

Sand can kill bearings and driveline parts, the stuff is abrasive you know. So, driving any vehicle in sand can cause damage. Cleaning the underside of an SUV after time in the sand can reduce the damage.

It isn’t as simple and cut and dry as you might hope it would be.

Confusion between awd and 4wd leads many people to this question. Simply put, awd has a tough time dealing with conditions like very deep snow, sand or mud. Get one with a deferential locking feature and it helps dramatically by locking torque spit and disabling throttle control by computer. This makes them MORE like part time 4wd which is a better off road performer. Newer RAV4 definitely has feature…Pilot and Ridgeline for Honda…I have not read about the CRV. So unless it does, I’d avoid it for that use.
It’s that one feature that matters for awd cars/suv. If it’s a part time system to begin with, that shifts from 2wd to 4wd…they generally are locked when engaged. But, you can get awd with a lock on many cars/suvs that can successfully be used for moderate off road, which not too deep sand beaches would be. Obviously, wider flotation tires would help…but that’s a whole other discussion including all the good thoughts of “Uncle T.” Like UT infers, I’d rather drive off road in mud or on rocks than deep sand…it’s really tough on a drive train; any.

Cars don’t belong on beaches in N.C. or anywhere else…

If something prevents you from walking down the beach, then you just don’t need to go to The Beach…NC must want that “Beach Driving Permit” money awfully bad…

The winners of the first 9 NASCAR races in Daytona Beach respectfully disagree.

The Chamber Of Commerce in many localities will put up with ANYTHING to make a buck. Only half the race was run on the beach. The other half was run down the main street of Daytona Beach. After those 9 races, Bill France had enough money to build a REAL race track…But I think they still let anyone who wants to drive on the beach and you don’t need 4WD to do it…

Discussing driving in sand is like a discussion of driving in snow. It’s about the depth to a solid base, the consistency and moisture content; any which can make it an easy parking lot stroll or a desperate venture done only by the hardy (foolish) and well prepared; and why opinions can vary.

This is the most correct thing ever posted.

Sand is not all the same. I can drive for miles down the washes in northern Mohave county. I can’t go 200 feet in the southern part of the county. Speaking from experience.

If you can make a sand castle out of it relatively easily, chances are you can’t drive in it without a full-on 4WD with aggressive tires, maybe even sand paddles.

Oh and no, a CRV or Rav 4 would not be a good choice for this sort of thing regardless. Glorified FWD. Your choices from best to worst without getting a 4WD (NOT the same thing as AWD…it has to do with the differentials. AWD isn’t always putting the power equally to all wheels, 4WD generally is) are in order: Subaru, Audi, Suzuki, Volvo.

Otherwise, get a 4WD truck.

Driving on sand is the opposite of driving on snow. With snow you want to dig to the harder more stable surface below…with sand you want to ride on top…that’s why many people deflate their tires about 10lbs when on sand.

I do under stand that…and if you said “in” snow, then I would agree completely agree, but that has little to do with my comment. As you know reading the manual on your awd cars with locking option. It was NOT a statement of how too…it was a statement of varying conditions. A difference in how deep the snow or sand is, even if they “may” require differing techniques, determined how we answer a question about the need for 4wd/awd. The same can be said for snow or sand consistency. My previous post mentioned flotation. This is just a comment about drive systems. BTW, how much we deflate the tires on skidders, tractors and trucks doing mud/sand work is tire/vehicle/load depended and at some point yields diminishing returns and requires an entire post for discussing.

Also, if you have done really deep snow travel, where to solid ground is unreachable, you know that snow travel becomes much like sand/mud travel depending upon snow consistency. People are used to driving “in” snow with shallow depths which does require narrow tires to reach solid surface, as would shallow mud. On top of really deep snow, like deep sand, like deep mud, some flotation may be required . They are NOT opposite but similar in many respects; and that’s what the manuals understand but many drivers don’t. Snow cats/snow mobiles/skis/snow shoes as well…float.
Please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BbMixf_iPE&feature=related
That’s one big beach ! :slight_smile:

Also, if you have done really deep snow travel, where to solid ground is unreachable, you know that snow travel becomes much like sand/mud travel depending upon snow consistency.

I learned how to drive in a town that averaged over 300" snow/year…So I do know how to drive in deep snow…and I’ve never found driving in snow to be anything like driving on sand. You can’t ride on the snow. Granted there are times you wheels may not reach the road…but hopefully it can reach hard packed snow where you MIGHT be able to grip. But for driving on roads…you never want to ride on TOP of the snow.

. You did see the video ? not in but on snow (maybe over 300" in places)

Remember my original reference between “in” and “on” snow…if you did, again, you’d see we are saying the same thing.
"mieich"Depends more on the sand than the car. said it all in the very first statement of this thread.

"Depends more on the sand than the car."
Like I used to tell my players when coaching and they asked if we were “going to win the game” I’d always say “that depends more on the other team than us”. We’ll play our best and let them decide.