Off-road driving can be extremely dangerous and carries inherent risks that may not be preventable even with the best precautions. Ford strongly recommends driving within your ability and taking every safety precaution.
In addition to providing an excellent on-road driving experience, your vehicle also excels at all types of off-road driving. The vehicle has been designed and equipped to allow you to explore those places where the road doesn’t take you, whether it’s a forest trail or the open desert. Before going off road driving, consult with your local governmental agencies to determine designated off-road trails and recreation areas. Also, be sure to understand any off-road vehicle registration requirements for the area in which you plan on driving.
Before taking your vehicle off-road driving, a basic vehicle inspection should be done to make sure that the vehicle is in top working condition.
It is always recommended that at least two vehicles are used while off road driving. Using two vehicles in "buddy" system helps make sure that help is close at hand should a vehicle become stuck or damaged. It is also wise to take supplies such as a first aid kit, a supply of water, a tow strap and a cell or satellite phone with you any time an off-road excursion is planned.
Terrain Management System (TMS) (If Equipped)
Your vehicle is equipped with a Terrain Management System that allows the driver to enhance the off-road performance of the vehicle, by selecting the mode best suited to the terrain and driving conditions. Each mode changes a number of the vehicle parameters within the engine, transmission, traction control and Four-Wheel Drive systems.
|ANormal mode - This mode is for on-road conditions and should be used on surfaces which are similar to hard road surfaces, or once the need for any of the off-road modes has passed. |
BSnow/Mud/Grass – This mode should be used where a firm surface is covered with loose or slippery material. This includes gravel, shallow mud, wet grass or snow covered road.
CSand - This mode should be used for crossing deep sand or deep sticky mud.
DRock - This mode gives low speed controllability for crawling over rocks. Low range must be selected before this mode is activated. See
Using Four-Wheel Drive.
High and Low Range Usage
|High Range (H)
|Low Range (L)
Low range can be selected by pressing the 4X4 LOW switch in the centre console.
If an entry condition for any mode is not met, the information display screen will display the appropriate messages to guide the driver through the proper operating procedures.
Operating the vehicle in any of the off-road modes does not guarantee that the vehicle will not become stuck in sand, snow or mud or other debris. It is the driver’s responsibility to assess off-road situations and determine if the terrain is passable.
Off-Road Driving Aids
The locking and unlocking speeds may be different in different TMS modes.
The real-time status of your vehicles off-road systems can be continuously monitored using the first off-road screen found in the information displays screen. For more information, See
Basic Off-road Driving Techniques
- Grip the steering wheel with your thumbs on the outside of the rim. This will reduce the risk of injury due to abrupt steering wheel motions that occur when negotiating rough terrain. Do not grip the steering wheel with your thumbs inside the rim.
- Throttle, brake and steering inputs should be made in a smooth and controlled manner. Sudden inputs to the controls can cause loss of traction or upset the vehicle, especially while on sloped terrain or while crossing obstacles such as rocks or logs.
- Look ahead on your route noting upcoming obstacles, surface texture or color changes or any other factors which may indicate a change in available traction, and adjust the vehicle speed and route accordingly. During pre-run, mark obstacles with GPS markers to make sure appropriate speeds are used to avoid potential vehicle damage.
- When driving off-road, if the front or rear suspension is bottoming-out and/or excessive contact with the skid-plates is encountered, reduce vehicle speed to avoid potential damage to the vehicle.
- When running with other vehicles, it is recommended that communication is used and the lead vehicle notify other vehicles of obstacles that could cause potential vehicle damage.
- Always keep available ground clearance in mind and pick a route that minimizes the risk of catching the underside of the vehicle on an obstacle.
- When negotiating low speed obstacles, applying light brake pressure in conjunction with the throttle will help prevent the vehicle from jerking and will allow you to negotiate the obstacle in a more controlled manner. Using 4x4 Low will also help with this.
- Use and equip your vehicle with supplemental safety equipment as discussed later in this chapter.
- Please consult your local off-road group for other helpful tips.
- off road driving requires a high degree of concentration. Even if your local law does not prohibit alcohol use while driving off-road, Ford strongly recommends against drinking if you plan to off-road.
Driving in Mud
- Deep mud should be approached with caution especially if you are driving in an unfamiliar area.
- If possible, test the depth of a mud hole before entering with the vehicle.
- Keep in mind that obstacles and deep ruts may be hidden beneath the surface of the mud.
- Proceed in a steady, controlled manner through deep mud while maintaining momentum.
- If momentum is lost and you feel the vehicle becoming stuck, turning the steering wheel back and forth (sawing the wheel) a quarter turn in each direction may give the vehicle the traction needed to clear the muddy area.
- In higher speed areas with shallow mud, directional control will be reduced in the muddy area much like on snow or ice. When approaching such an area, be sure to slow to a speed which allows you to maneuver as required by the conditions.
Driving in Sand
Always re-inflate tires to recommended tire pressures before the vehicle is operated on-road. The recommended pressure is located on the tire label or safety certification label, located on the B-pillar, inside the driver's door.|
Soft sand and dunes present a very unique driving challenge. Before going on such a drive, some research is advised regarding proven techniques and pitfalls inherent in driving in deep sand.
Some general points to consider:
- It is very difficult and in many cases impossible to navigate deep sand with tire pressures which are appropriate for on-road driving. If you decide to air down your tires, be advised that the tire pressure monitoring light will illuminate. The tires must be returned to normal recommended tire pressures before driving on pavement or hard surfaces.
- Lower tire pressures are more likely to cause a de-beading of the tire during cornering. Avoid sharp or abrupt turns when you have extremely low tire pressures.
- To help prevent becoming stuck in deep sand, avoid spinning the tires or making abrupt maneuvers. Proceed in a controlled manner while maintaining vehicle momentum.
- Avoid stopping or parking on inclines as this makes it more difficult to resume driving while in sand.
Driving in Deep Snow
- Maintain vehicle momentum.
- Apply the throttle very gently to avoid spinning the tires. Spinning the tires will potentially dig the vehicle deeper into the snow.
- Drive in a controlled manner, avoiding aggressive steering wheel movements, and keep braking to a minimum.
- Extremely deep snow may cause the undercarriage of the vehicle to become stuck. Test the depth of the snow before trying to drive through or over it.
- Review the path ahead before attempting to cross any obstacle. It is best if the obstacle is reviewed from outside the vehicle so that there is a good understanding of terrain condition both in, front of, and behind the obstacle.
- Approach obstacles slowly and slowly inch the vehicle over.
- If a large obstacle such as a rock cannot be avoided, choose a path that places the rock directly under the tire rather than the undercarriage of the vehicle. This will help prevent damage to the vehicle.
- Ditches and washouts should be crossed at a 45-degree angle, allowing each wheel to independently cross the obstacle.
Extreme care should be used when steering the vehicle in reverse down a slope so as not to cause the vehicle to swerve out of control.|
- Always attempt to climb a steep hill along the fall line of the slope and not diagonally.
- If the vehicle is unable to make it up the hill, DO NOT attempt to turn back down the slope. Place the vehicle in low range and slowly back down in reverse.
- When descending a steep slope, select low gear and engage hill descent control. Use the throttle and brake pedals to control your descent speed as described earlier in this section using hill descent control. Note that hill descent control is functional in reverse and should be used in this situation.
After Off-Road Driving
It is important to complete a full vehicle inspection after off-road driving. Some items to check include:
- Make sure that tires are inflated to proper tire pressure as indicated on the tire placard.
- Check the wheels and undercarriage for built up mud or debris which can cause vehicle vibration.
- Make sure that the grille and radiator are clear of any obstructions that may affect cooling.
- Make sure that the brakes are in proper working order and are free of any mud, stones and debris, which can become trapped around the brake rotor, backing plate and caliper.
- Check that the air filter is clean and dry.
- Inspect for torn or punctured boots on ball joints, half shafts and steering gears.
- Inspect the exhaust system for damage or looseness.
- Inspect the undercarriage fasteners. If any are loose or damaged, tighten or replace ensuring that the proper torque specification is used.
- Inspect the tires for any cuts in the tread or sidewall area. Also inspect the sidewall for any bulge indicating damage to the tire.
- Inspect the wheels for dents, cracks, or other damage.