Important things NOBODY tells you about SUVs

Buying an SUV must be same as buying a sedan or a hatchback, so why you should one bother if they’re any different to drive! But look closely and you’ll see that there are enough things that differentiate the SUVs from other types of cars. And the same can be said about owning them. To make all of it clear, here are 5 things that no one tells you about owning and driving SUVs.

Don’t drive it like a car

Ford EcoSport

If you intend to drive your SUV like a car, you’re better off with a crossover hatchback. Because SUVs carry more weight, and are thus more difficult to control at best and unruly at their worst. So leaning in and out of lanes is more dangerous, and since the center of gravity is higher, there’s going to be more body roll. Soft suspension, even on the best handling ones, means you’ll be greeted by a larger degree of body movements.

All that’s not to say SUVs can handle high speeds. One must understand the difference, and adapt to the driving accordingly.

No 4WD Low on road

Ford Endeavour 9

Low ratios are for negotiating steep inclines and getting out of difficult situations when off the road. When you’re back on it, keep in mind to switch back to 2WD. If you’re not on proper tarmac and sense the need of 4WD, then stay in 4WD-H (4WD High). One must understand that unnecessarily sending power to all four wheels is a waste of fuel, and doing so will add to the strain on the gearbox.

Diff-locks not to be used at speeds

Mercedes G Class Differential Button

With the differentials locked, what happens is that both wheels rotate at the same rpm. While that’s okay when you’re trying to get out of sand or slush, but while turning, it will cause nothing but understeer. Since the outer wheel is supposed to rotate more since it has to cover more distance, with both the outer and the inner wheel going at the same pace, the car’s turning radius will increase multiple folds and you will not be able to make it. The same happens when you have the center differential locked, too.

So as a rule of thumb, engage differential lock only off the road.

Traction Control isn’t always your friend

Traction control system works by reducing the power and applying brakes to the individual wheels that lose grip. Now while the system must be left ON on the tarmac and certain surfaces (snow, ice, and rocks), turning it off when in sand or mud is a better idea. What happens is in the latter surfaces, the wheels slip and move, and that helps carry the motion. If the system is off, it will sense slippage and accordingly brake the said wheel. That will cause the car to stop, thus increasing the chances of getting stuck.

And finally,

Don’t follow the accessory guy’s advice blindly

Mahindra Scorpio Bull Bar

SUVs are easy targets for being accessories. There’s a lot on offer, from auxiliary lamps, bull bars, to even raised suspensions. It must be noted that modifications that change the structure of the vehicle are illegal, and second, they are not always going to be helpful. For instance bull bars on monocoque SUVs like the EcoSport, Creta, etc., can cause irreversible chassis damage.

Read more on what modifications/accessories are illegal here.

For more information, watch Engineering Explained’s video: