YouTubers Reveal the Secret to Off-roading on Sand Like a Pro

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You don’t need a lot of mods on your Wrangler to hit the sand but you do need to drive strategically.

The Jeep Wrangler can pretty much handle any type of terrain you point it at. Rocks? No problem. Mud? Ha! No sweat. It can blaze through the desert, too. However, as this video from ExtremeTerrain.com shows, you need to use a certain technique out on the sand dunes to make sure you don’t get stuck.

Host Ryan Huck heads out to the Sand Mountain OHV park in Utah to learn the basics of driving on sand from Jeff Bieber of the Desert Roads and Trails Society. They show up with the right vehicles. Huck brings a JK specially modified for motocross rider Brian Deegan with a four-inch lift, 37s, and adjustable shocks. Bieber has a built YJ. The rest is up to the drivers. Bieber tells Huck, “All you need out here to get on the sand is just air your tires down, get a bigger footprint, a little bit of horsepower, and some common sense.”

jk-forum.com How to Drive a Jeep Wrangler on Sand

There’s a little more to it than that, though. Bieber cautions Huck not to air down too much because sand can get into the tire bead and cause air to leak out.

The shape of the sand itself is also something to pay attention to. Bieber says, “On the dunes, depending on which direction the wind goes, there’s a razorback. And that’s real steep. You don’t want to go up them because you probably won’t make it, but you don’t want to fly off of them either and do a nose dive in the sand.”

jk-forum.com How to Drive a Jeep Wrangler on Sand

Throttle management is especially important. If you don’t carry enough momentum, you won’t get to the peaks. Once you lose that momentum, you have to be careful not to use too much throttle. That can just dig you deeper into the sand. Bieber advises, “When the vehicle comes to a dead stop, that’s when you let off the throttle, put it in reverse, and you can back down.”

jk-forum.com How to Drive a Jeep Wrangler on Sand

Once you have a clear approach ramp to the top of the dune in front of you, keep on the throttle until you reach the top. You can then either hit the brakes or do as Bieber suggests and “turn off and ride the top of the dune until you can see and then you can turn back down.” Huck has no problem applying what Bieber teaches him and the two of them rip across the sand in their Jeeps.

It seems simple enough, especially when you’re behind the wheel of a Wrangler. The hardest part? Finding an OHV park with sand dunes that’s close to you.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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