Off-Road Driving

Your vehicle has specific design characteristics for off-road driving. When you leave the pavement, you will encounter driving surfaces of all kinds which may change continually as you drive. In most cases, offroad driving requires the use of 4-wheel drive. If your vehicle is a 2-wheel drive vehicle, you should limit your off-road driving only to hard, flat, nonslippery surfaces.

2-wheel drive vehicles have far less traction on off-road surfaces than 4-wheel drive vehicles. It is important when driving off-road to follow the guidelines below.

Use Caution on Steep Inclines

Always inspect hills before you attempt to drive up them. Know what is on the other side and how you will get back down. If you have any doubt that it is safe, do not attempt to drive over a hill. Never drive your vehicle up an extremely steep incline.

Coming down a steep hill can be trickier than getting up one. Keep the vehicle heading straight down the hill and use low gear. Do not lock the brakes. If the vehicle begins to slide, accelerate slightly to regain steering control.

Do Not Turn on or Drive Across the Side of Hills

Turning on or driving across the side of a hill can be extremely hazardous. Most of the vehicle’s weight will be transferred to the downhill tires, which could result in the vehicle rolling sideways. Whenever possible, avoid this potential hazard. Also, if you have to exit your vehicle on a side-hill, always get out on the uphill side.

Wear Your Seat Belts at All Times

You and your passengers should use the seat belts at all times when driving offroad.

For proper seat belt use, refer to the “Seat Belts and Child Restraint Systems” section in this manual.

Avoid Sudden Reactions in Mud, Ice or Snow

Be careful when off-road conditions are slick. Reduce your speed and avoid sudden movements of the vehicle. If your vehicle is a 2-wheel drive vehicle, do not drive in deep snow or mud. If your vehicle is a 4- wheel drive vehicle, be aware that driving in deep snow or mud can cause a loss of traction and an increase in the resistance to the vehicle’s forward motion. Use 4WD low gear (4L) and maintain a steady but moderate speed with a light touch on the steering wheel and brakes.

Do not drive in the field covered with grown grass

If you drive in the field covered with grass, it may cause unexpected accident or vehicle damage by getting caught in grown grass.

If Your Vehicle Gets Stuck

If your vehicle gets stuck in snow, mud or sand, follow the directions below: 1) (For vehicles equipped with transfer switch) Turn the transfer switch to “4H LOCK” or “4L LOCK”.

2) Shift the transmission back and forth between a forward range (or first gear for manual transmission) and reverse.

This will create a rocking motion which may give you enough momentum to free the vehicle. Press gently on the accelerator to keep wheel spin to a minimum.

Remove your foot from the accelerator while shifting.

Do not race the engine. Excessive wheel spin will cause the tires to dig deeper, making it more difficult to free the vehicle.

3) If your vehicle remains stuck after a few minutes of rocking, get another vehicle to pull you out.

• Do not allow anyone to stand near WARNING:
• Do not allow anyone to stand near the vehicle when you are rocking it, and do not spin the wheels faster than an indicated 40 km/h (25 mph) on the speedometer. Personal injury and/or vehicle damage may result from spinning the wheels too fast.

• Be sure to turn the transfer switch from “4H” to “4H LOCK” or “4L LOCK” when the tires slip in “4H”.

The continuing tires slip in “4H” can cause the limited slip differential gear damage in the center differential.

Release the accelerator pedal when operating the gearshift lever. Operating the lever with the engine racing can damage the gears.

Do not continue rocking the vehicle for more than a few minutes. Prolonged rocking can cause engine overheating, transmission or transfer case damage or tire damage.

Tire Chains

Tire chains should only be used if they are needed to increase traction or are required by law. Make sure that the chains you use are small-link chains or cable-type chains and are the correct size for your vehicle’s tires. Also make sure that there is enough clearance between the fenders and the chains as installed on the tires.

Install the chains on the rear tires tightly, according to the chain manufacturer’s instructions. Retighten the chains after driving about 1.0 km (1/2 mile) if necessary.

With the chains installed, drive slowly.

If you hear the chains hitting against the vehicle body while driving, stop and tighten them.

Do not drive through deep or rushing water

Driving in deep or rushing water can be hazardous. You could lose control of the vehicle and the occupants could drown.

Also, your vehicle could be seriously damaged.

To avoid these risks, observe the following instructions and precautions.

• Do not drive through deep or rushing water. Deep or rushing water, such as fast-moving streams or floodwaters, could carry your vehicle away from your intended path. The water is too deep if it covers your wheel hubs, axles or exhaust tailpipe. Know the depth of the water before you attempt to drive through it.

• If water blocks the tailpipe, the engine may not start or run. If the water is deep enough to get drawn into the engine intake system, the engine will be badly damaged.

• Submerged brakes will have poor braking performance. Drive slowly and carefully.

Driving slowly will also help avoid water splashing onto the ignition system, which could cause the engine to stall.

• Even when driving through shallow or still waters, drive carefully since the water may be hiding ground hazards such as holes, ditches or bumps.

In addition to following the driving WARNING:
In addition to following the driving tips in this section, it is important to observe the following precautions for on-road and off-road driving.

• Driver and passengers should wear seat belts at all times.

• Do not let anyone else drive your vehicle unless they are also aware of the vehicle characteristics and handling differences described in this section.

• Avoid loaning your vehicle to anyone unless you accompany them.

• Make sure your tires are in good condition and always maintain the specified tire pressure. Refer to “Tires” in the “INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE” section for details.

• Do not use tires other than those specified by SUZUKI. Never use different sizes or types of tires on the front and rear wheels. For information regarding the specified tires, refer to the Tire Inflation Pressure Label located on the driver’s side door pillar or the “SPECIFICATIONS” section.

• Never use oversized tires or special shocks and springs to raise (jack up) your vehicle. This will raise the center of gravity of the vehicle and change its handling characteristics.

Oversized tires may also rub against the fender over bumps, causing vehicle damage or tire failure.

• After driving through water, mud or sandy ground, test the brakes while driving at a slow speed to see if they have maintained their normal effectiveness. If the brakes are less effective than normal, dry them by repeatedly applying the brakes while driving slowly until the brakes have regained their normal effectiveness.

• Do not use “4H LOCK” or “4L LOCK” drive for normal driving.

• After extended operation in mud, sand or water, have the brakes inspected by your authorized SUZUKI dealer as soon as possible.

See also:

Leak Detection Pump
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Daily Inspection Checklist
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Seat Adjustment
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