If you want to buy a vehicle for off-roading on sand, look for a 4WD with a lift kit. That ensures you get the clearance and control you need in sandy conditions. While shopping, keep the following tips and ideas in mind:
1. Look for a 4WD with a locked centre differential.
In addition to a lift kit, your 4WD should also have a locked center differential. Vehicles with 4WD often have either the rear or centre differential locked. When a differential is locked, it makes all the wheels on that axle spin at the same rate. If you get a vehicle with a centre locking differential, all four wheels move at the same time. This feature improves your traction, which is critical for navigating on sand.
2. Look for a 4WD drive with enough lift to get past hidden obstacles.
In most cases, when you are driving on sand, the only obstacle you need to worry about is the sand itself. However, in some cases, abandoned litter, rocks or other items may be lurking beneath the sand, and like an iceberg, only a small tip may show above the surface. Ideally, you need a lift kit that is tall enough to protect the underside of your vehicle from damage.
Imagine if the tires were buried in sand nearly to the top. Then, imagine where the undercarriage of the vehicle would be. If the undercarriage seems like it would be safe from items in the sand, the lift kit is likely high enough.
3. Insist on a quality lift kit.
Talk to the current owner of the 4WD about the quality of the lift kit. Ideally, you want one with high quality shock absorbers. The shock absorbers take the bumps on the road, and they prevent them from affecting you in the vehicle, helping your ride to be more comfortable.
4. Look for a 4WD with low settings.
In addition to paying attention to the lift kit and the centre differential, also look at the settings. Ideally, you want a 4WD with an optional low setting. This setting doesn't affect the height of the vehicle. Rather, it applies extra torque so you have more power to get through deep, challenging sand. Keep in mind however, you need to use this setting at relatively low speeds.
5. Consider adding your own lift kit.
If you cannot find a 4WD with a lift kit that looks right for your needs, consider just buying a 4WD that meets the criteria discussed above. Then, buy a suitable lift kit, install it and head to the sand.