4WD Terminology



Dictionary Book
Click on the Alphabet above



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Foothills 4WD Club of WA Inc
Last updated Tuesday, 11th January 2018








ARB A 4WD Accessories manufacturer and retailer.  Retails outlets offer items manufactured by other companies.



Bridle Similar in appearance to a tree trunk protector, a bridle is fitted either at the front or rear of your vehicle.  One end is attached to one recovery point, the other end is threaded through the eye of a snatch strap then the other end of the bridle is attached to the other recovery point.  When finished, you should have a Y shape with the top of the Y attached to each recovery point and the "leg" of the Y the snatch.  The object of the exercise is to pull the vehicle out "square" and so not put undue stress on one side of you vehicle over the other.
Bullbar Stuck on the front of a vehicle, this accessory is designed to aid in protecting the occupants in the event of an accident.  Subject to some controversy here in Western Australia, many serious off bitumen drivers fit these to reduce the effects of hitting kangaroos, cattle and other animals roaming the roads and tracks.




Camp Oven Used for cooking, this is a very versatile utensil.  Construction varies but it is primarily used to cook food using hot coals rather than over a flame.  One very popular dish cooked in a camp oven is damper.
CB Citizen Band radio.  Also known as AM or 27Mhz radios.  Used for communications.  Being phased out in deference to UHF, a useful communications means especially used between vehicles in a convoy.
CV Joint  
Cargo Barrier

Sits between the part of the car where the people sit and the part of the car when the potential flying missiles are.  Protects people in the car from potential injury or death in the event of an accident.



Damper Made of what is basically a flour and water mix, damper is a popular substitute for bread.  This dish has many recipes ranging from a plain mixture, through sweet styles made of fruit and then there are savory styles.  Cooked in a camp oven these days, dampers used to be wrapped around a stick an cooked over an open fire rather than in a camp oven as is the case these days.
Drag Chain




Hand Winch These come in many forms but all are essentially recovery equipment.  These use the efforts of one, or hopefully more, people to manually winch a vehicle out of or over an obstacle.  One common hand winch is a Tirfor to which most winches of this type are given the generic name.
HF High Frequency.  HF radios are used for long range communications.  There are many brands, types and frequency options available to 4WDers.  HF radios can be fitted "permanently" to the vehicle or portable radios are available for sale and hire.
Hi Lift Jack A piece of recovery gear that is used to assist you in getting your vehicle out of a bogged situation.  Used in many configurations, the idea is to lift the vehicle high enough to be able to fill in under the wheels to provide a firm base to drive out of your bog.  This piece of equipment can be extremely dangerous and should only be used after suitable training.  When working on soft ground, the use of a jacking plate is recommended to stop the jack sinking into the ground.




Jacking Plate Roughly 30cm (12 inches) square and made out of either metal or timber, this piece of equipment is generally used when trying to jack up your vehicle on soft ground.  Placed under the jack, it provides a firm base to stop your jack sinking into the ground.  If you don't have a jacking plate, you can use a BBQ plate or the flat blade or your shovel to achieve the same result.



Kangaroo Jack Another name for a Hi Lift jack.



Low Range  















RFDS Royal Flying Doctor Service.  The RFDS is an organisation who's dedication provides peace of mind for not only travelers but also for those people living in the outback.



Snatch Strap Used in the recovery of a bogged vehicle to which one end of the strap is attached.  A snatch strap is like an elastic band that uses the motion of a recovering vehicle, to which the other end of the strap is attached, to store kinetic energy in the strap and at a certain point pull the bogged vehicle out.  Should not be used without adequate training.
Shovel Used to help recover the vehicle from being bogged, a shovel has many other uses such as when you need to visit the little persons room (when there is no little persons room).  Can also be used to dig a fire pit, cooking hole for your camp oven etc etc etc.  Either a long or short handle version should be considered, with most people opting for the long handled variety to be able to get right under the vehicle should the need arise to do some digging.
Snatch Block Used in winching operations, this item can be used with either a hand or power winch.  The use of a snatch block can double the effective winching power.  Two snatch blocks can triple the effective winching power.  This piece of equipment, like all recovery gear, should only be used after suitable training.
Swag Used for sleeping, the swag comes in many shapes and sizes.  Essentially they are a mattress on either a canvas or PVC base.  From a simple mattress on canvas to something resembling a small tent they come in many shapes and sizes.  A very personal item, they all roll up and can be thrown into the back of the ute, wagon or onto the roof rack.
Tirfor A brand of Hand Winch.
Tree Trunk Protector A mandatory piece of recovery gear, the Tree Trunk Protector is used to protect trees (strange that) from ring barking.  Rather than wrap a steel cable around a tree, which can cut into it causing either severe damage or, even worse, eventually killing it, the tree trunk protector is a webbing style strap that spreads the force put onto the tree over a wider area and so not ring barking it.
Transfer Case  



UHF Ultra High Frequency.  UHF radios operate in the 477Mhz band.  These types or radios provide clearer transmissions that AM radios but don't have anywhere near the range that a HF radio can provide.  More suited to short distance communication usually vehicle to vehicle but handheld UHF radios provide a convenient means of communications for anyone who is away from the vehicle for any reason.






Winch Coming in both the manual (human power) or powered (electric, hydraulic, or mechanical), winches are a means of getting a vehicle unstuck or over an obstacle.  Hand winches are sometimes referred to as Tirfors even though this is a particular brand.  Power winches can either be permanently mounted on a vehicle or can be easily moved to either a front or rear mounting point.  Winches, like all recovery gear, should only be used after suitable training.
Wind Up