How to avoid off-road damage to front while nose dive?

The nose-dive damage while off-roading is too familiar with the people frequenting with the off-road drives. I myself have experienced it once if you see the large voids in the front face especially in the lower area like in the first image below. It basically means you are a sitting duck if you hit something hard or a crest. It will break or push in the area that gets hit as in normal physics to absorb the force. Now to protect that area from nose dive hit, smart thing to do is installing a skid / bash plate. Which will not only try to level the area you are gonna cross but also dissipate the force intended to hit vital organs of your car.
So now you will be thinking which metal to choose for bash plate? Well you can go with iron plates or steel plates if they are strong enough and of certain thickness plus they are cheap but it will add the extra weight, which is very important thing for off road as lighter car use less force to do the same work. You can use duralumin or titanium  if your pocket allows they are sturdy and really strong with a fraction of weight associated with iron and steel plate. Lastly you can use aluminum if it has the right thickness and it will not be so heavy on weight and is not so expensive for the pocket.
Here in the following picture if you observe I have used aluminum sheet with a thickness of 4mm. We couldn't bend it by hammering it so we took it to a press so that we can attain the desirable curves but the finished product is of utmost quality and appearance. It's durability will be tested in the continuing journeys of the carnity off-road drives and I'll keep you posted of it's off-road progress.



Michelin Latitudes User Review

Set of 4 used:                   Once Vehicle used:                    Jeep Commander 5.7 Hemi Number of years used:    3+ Years Value for money:              4 / 5 On-road comfort:              5 / 5 Off-road performance:      4 / 5 Overall Performance:        4 / 5
Tires are one of the most important and integral part of your car. I have used Michelin Latitudes tires on my Jeep Commander 5.7 Hemi. I have loved with the utmost respect for Michelin Latitudes due to their softer side wall for extra road comfort and better sand flotation.
I was blessed to have acquired them with the car which was owned by the French Diplomat in Dubai and loved them to no ends. The only thing that has come between me and buying the Michelin Latitudes is my tight budget and these sets don't come cheap, but one thing is for sure they are worth every dime, The Michelin Latitude tires lasted me for over 3 years over  90,000 kms that includes on road and regular off-road driving every week. So I was very happy with the fact that I got these with the ride and they lasted me through the whole 3 years that I had my Jeep Commander 5.7 Hemi. Besides the price the only thing that used to bother me was to take it to the mountains, since these tires are soft they kind of loose their shape somewhat when taken to the hard surface like the mountains and there was a bit of discomfort after its first mountain adventure.
The Michelin tires are made in France so you are sure they are made with love and it gives you that added peace of mind for your investment. I drove them for 3 years in all sorts of terrain: sand, wadi, rocks and road and here is what I think about the Michelin Latitudes. On road they are really quiet and offer maximum comfortable ride due to their side walls are really soft, plus they have a reasonably good grip on the road in all weather conditions. They lasted me 3 years with total abuse off-road, they always remained very smooth and quiet on-road and I felt confident having them on, however as mentioned earlier after taking them to the rocks they became a bit uneven and started to have a negligible noise  My main concern however came how it does perform off-road being a highway terrain tire? The answer is simple, it was amazing as the straight threads of a highway terrain help them float better in the sands, and they are very light (which is a huge positive mark from off-road side for stock cars). They served me very well for over 90,000 kms and I was very pleased with their overall performance.
I have since changed my off-road vehicle from the Jeep Commander 5.7 Hemi to the Land Rover Discovery and recently to a Nissan Pathfinder. And without a doubt I would have gone for the Michelin Latitudes again if only the prices were more reasonable. I had made a couple of trips to Oman while the tires were fairly new and again after 1 year of use, they were smooth as silk, quiet and comfortable on-road even at 140 kmph and gives you good control with different maneuvers. Off-road I used to drive it normally on 15 PSI in the soft sands and it used to be amazing, the lowest I had to go down to was 12 PSI where I got stuck in some really soft sand pit and it performed well. The result was always amazing.
In conclusion I would only like to say, that although I used them only once in my life but my heart has always been with the Michelin Latitudes  If only the price was a bit more competitive with other major brand of tires I would still be using Michelin Latitudes.

10 DIY tips to increase your car resale value

Cars are precise assets and pat of the family considering the amount of money spent to acquire one. Just like the human system, cars do require some care to keep it safe and sound, cars require some care to keep it safe and going for long. The human system is taken care of by giving it nutritious food, taking it to the hospital for checkups from time to time and all sort of care just to ensure that the body is healthy. This same thing applies to the cars that we drive, they require absolute care to keep their parts functional, from the brakes, tires and all car parts that make up the car system. Therefore today I will be talking about ways car owners can take good care of their cars themselves in the simplest way ever to keeping it safe and sound and also increase it's resale value. The list includes simple steps and daily routine “Do it yourself” tips that when followed judiciously will keep car in good condition and offer lot more value back, whenever you sell.
Read the user manual: This is the first on my list of how to take good care of your car, because many car owners neglect this very first step. Every car is different and comes with its user manual which contains the specifications of the car and care instructions for the that specific car. By reading the manual first of all is the right step on how to start taking good care of your car.
  Change engine oil regularly: Just like the human body needs food to nourish its system so also does the car engine need a good oil to keep its part in good condition. Therefore it is advised that you change your car engine oil regularly as per owners manual recommendation. Check weekly and make sure to top the oil with a good brand of engine when it is low.
  Brake pad check: In time of danger, the car brakes come to rescue. This is only possible if the brake pads are good and functional, then the brake will do its work. A simple take of changing or checking on your brake pads regularly can save your life and keep car in good condition without any accidental history.
  Tire care: The tire in a car need some pedicure too just the human feet do, your car can’t move an inch if the tire is not in good condition and also the brake and brake pads can’t put the car to a stop if the tires are bad. it will be a good thing to do to check on the expiring date of a tire and change it if the tread is wearing off.
  The spark plug: Some car owners don’t even know a car has a plug, well now you know every car has a spark plug which is meant to be change periodically. A bad spark plug can cause the car to have issues accelerating with in a short time. Very old spark plugs should be changed to avoid engine malfunction.
  Tire air pressure: It is one good thing to have a good quality tire in your car it is another thing to make sure the air pressure in the tires is what suites the car. Over air pressure in the tire of the car can cause outburst which is very fatal when the car is in motion and when there is under pressure which mostly we call flat tire, the car wouldn’t even move an inch and this will affected the wheels badly.
  Grease every joint: Rust is the enemy of iron and once it steps in damage done to the car cannot be undone, but a simple step of greasing the parts that have nuts on it and some iron parts can encourage lubrication and easy movement of those parts thereby keeping the rust away.
  Park your car under a shade: There is no other person excerpt the car owner can do this, even a mechanic wouldn’t always be there to park your car for you, Parking the car under a shade will prevent the heat of the sun from destroying the plastic parts of the car or even the windscreen and dashboard. If shade is not always possible, then use the car sunshade to protect the dashboard and many other plastic parts.
  Battery care: The car battery is just like the heart of the engine and without it the whole car system wouldn’t work. Any problem in the battery affects mostly the electrical part of the car, the horn, lights and ignition. It is important that a car owner from time to time check the acid level of the battery and top it when necessary and also clean or check the terminals to see they are intact.
  Clean always: Washing the car is part of the care to keep the car paint smooth and shiny. The cleaner a car the better it is, even if you don’t have the strength to wash the whole car kindly take it to the car wash and get the quick clean done than leaving the tons of dust on it for weeks.

2 way Radio (Walkie Talkie) frequencies

Two way Radio (walkie Talkie) is very essential equipment for any off-roader, as this alone device is responsible for establishing clear and life saving communication while off-roading when you don't have mobile coverage. Buying the radio is the first best step in right direction for equipping yourself and then setting it's frequency is the second. As without setting frequency you cannot establish a communication with other off-roaders in the convoy. Although setting up the frequency is one-time task but it's a bit complex job that you need to follow the instructions very precisely. However once you have tapped into the main details, it is very simple and follows the same concept of receiving and sending frequencies.
This should help those members who have Radio were we have to manually set frequencies.
CH Type Frequency Power Output 
FRS/GMRS 462.5625 High, Med or Low  FRS/GMRS 462.5875 High, Med or Low  FRS/GMRS 462.6125 High, Med or Low  FRS/GMRS 462.6375 High, Med or Low  FRS/GMRS 462.6625 High, Med or Low  FRS/GMRS 462.6875 High, Med or Low  FRS/GMRS 462.7125 High, Med or Low  FRS 467.5625 Low  FRS 4675875 Low  FRS 467.6125 Low  FRS 467.6375 Low  FRS 467.6625 Low  FRS 467.6875 Low  FRS 467.7125 Low  GMRS 462.5500 High, Med or Low  GMRS 462.5750 High, Med or Low  GMRS 462.6000 High, Med or Low  GMRS 462.6250 High, Med or Low  GMRS 462.6500 High, Med or Low  GMRS 462.6750 High, Med or Low  GMRS 462.7000 High, Med or Low  GMRS 462.7250 High, Med or Low  
 
Motorola MT777 setting up instruction
Make sure your set is switched off. Press the Moni (black button on top of the orange one on you left side) and menu key together and switch on you set. Wait for the set to display SELF (which means manual setup). Press Enter and it will show the Channel number. You can choose which channel to program by selecting it from the right know on the top of you device. Once you have the desired channel, e.g., Channel 3 and than press enter. Type 4 6 2 6 1 2 - This will automatically pick up 462.612 5 keep pressing enter until your set displays the next channel to be set. Repeat from step 5.  
Crony CN-888 setting up instruction
As an example if you want to set Channel 3, then follow the steps as given below.
Press Function Key (orange button on top left corner) Press 4 (until it shows the frequency range as 12.5) Wait until frequency is on the display screen again. Type 4 6 2 6 1 2 - This will automatically pick up 462.612 s Press the # key Change the channel number displayed on the top right corner of the display screen by pressing either the A or B key on the right side of the key pad. Once CH03 is displayed press # again. Type 4 6 2 6 1 2 again - Once again this will automatically pick up 462.612 s Press the # key Change the channel number displayed on the top right corner of the display screen by pressing either the A or B key on the right side of the key pad. Once CH03 is displayed press "C". This will set your frequencies (receiving & transmitting) for Channel 3, similarly you can follow the same steps along with the frequency numbers to set the desired channel.
 
I suggest you print and keep a copy of this with you when off-roading, it can not only help you, but others around you.
Hope this is helpful.

Finding an overnight battery drain

This is a very simple and cheap test you can do on your own car. All you need is a cheap multimeter at 40-50dhs. You can probably pick one up even cheaper online or at somewhere like dragon mart. 
I'm sure some of us have experienced a problem where you parked the car up in the morning and went back to it in the morning and it wouldn't start because of a flat battery. Why did this happen? It was working fine last night?
You should first test the battery with a proper battery discharge tester. This is a bit more expensive than a multimeter and I appreciate that most people won't have or won't buy one. 
Next thing you need to check is the functionality of your alternator. You can do this with a multimeter which is one of the tools i recommend everyone should have. Set the alternator to VDC. DC volts. Measure the battery voltage across the positive and negative terminals with the engine stopped and ignition off. It should be 12 volts give or take half a volt either way. Next, start the car and measure the voltage again using the same method. Depending on the car, you should see a voltage of 13-14 volts. If you rev the engine and see a wild fluctuation the charging regulator could be fried but this is a whole other topic.
Ok, now that you're sure that your battery and alternator are fine, let's find out why your battery is draining overnight. Disconnect the negative battery terminal and connect the negative wire on your multimeter to the negative terminal on the battery. Tape it on if you have to. Next connect the positive wire on your multimeter to the cars earth lead. Again, tape it on if you have to. 
Now turn your multimeter on. Set it to the highest possible amp setting and turn it down gradually until you get a reading on the screen. Once you see a reading, this is your battery drain. Pull the fuses out one by one and watch for the reading dropping to zero. When you pull a fuse and the reading drops, you know you have found the circuit where the problem is. Check your cars fuse diagram and see what the fuse corresponds to and you know where to start looking for the problem. 
 
**diaclaimer** I accept no liability for any harm or damage caused by following this guide. Always read your cars manual and consult a qualified mechanic before carrying out any repairs. 

Nitto tires: Dura Grapplers owner's review

Set of 4 used:                   Twice Vehicle used:                    Land Discovery and Nissan Pathfinder Number of years used:    5+ Years Value for money:              5 / 5 On-road comfort:              5 / 5 Off-road performance:      4 / 5 Overall Performance:        4 / 5
Tires are one of the most important and integral part of your car. I have used Michelin Latitudes tires on my Jeep Commander 5.7 Hemi and Pirelli Scorpions tire on my Land Rover Discovery. I love both these tires equally with an inch extra respect for Michelin due to their softer side wall for extra road comfort and better sand flotation.
While I was in market for tires for my Discovery, there were offer on Nitto I came across for our off-road club and to be honest Nitto tires were very competitively priced. After fair evaluation and considering my tight budget, I thought it was a good compromise to consider Nitto Dura Grappler for my Land Rover Discovery. This first set of Nitto Dura Grappler tires lasted me for 4 years for roughly 60,000 kms that includes on road and regular off-road driving every week. So in end I was very happy with this forcible compromise I have to make 4 years back due to budgetary constraints. 
The Nitto tires are made in Japan so it gives you that added peace of mind for your investment. I drove them for 4 years in all sorts of terrain: sand, wadi, rocks and road and here is what I think about the Nitto Dura Grapplers. On road they are really quiet and offer a very comfortable ride although their side walls are not as soft as Michellin, plus with the technology they call "Revolutionary Dura-Belt™ 3 Steel Belted Technology" that gives them good grip on the road in all weather conditions and avoids inconsistent ware of these tires. They lasted me 4 years with total abuse off-road, they always remained very smooth and quiet on-road and I felt confident having them on. My main concern however came how it does perform off-road being a highway terrain tire? The answer is simple, it was amazing as the straight threads of a highway terrain help them float better in the sands, although they seem a bit heavy (which is a bit negative mark from off-road side for stock cars). They served me very well for over 60,000 kms and I was very pleased with their overall performance. 
Recently I have changed my off-road vehicle from the Land Rover Discovery to a Nissan Pathfinder. And without a doubt I have got a second set of the Nitto Dura Grapplers again. I recently went to Liwa with my new set of tires, to test if they are still the same or not? The answer is mostly yes, they are still smooth, quiet and comfortable on-road even at 140 kmph and gives you good control with different maneuvers. This time however I found something different in off-road, that I have to deflate more in the sands. Instead of the 15 PSI that I used to drive it on, I had to go down to about 12 PSI. It did well for some time, but in the really soft patches the car sunk, what amazed me was that they have done something with the tire thread that pushes the car upward and takes you out of the soft stuff if you have your technique right. Even though the car would be lifted from its spot and move a bit then again bog down in the soft sand. The trip leader advised me to deflate it down to 10 PSI a couple of times, but I was hesitant to not to have a pop-out. Having to be pulled out on 2 occasions I decided to listen to my trip leader and deflated further down to 10 PSI. The result was amazing, I never got stuck again for the rest of my liwa trip, even in soft sand where it seem the car would just get stuck, I continued to push and felt the tire just found the smallest bit of traction that would keep the car moving and a lift upwards which just did the trick and did not allow the car to bog down.
In conclusion I would only like to say, these are my second set of Nitto Dura Grapplers on 2 different rides, and if I was not impressed the first time around, this time it has surprised me with a change for the better. I am very happy to own the current set and feeling relieved that I have made a great investment for the next 4 years to come.

Power Bank that can start a car

A very good morning to all my fellow Carnity Enthusiasts. I wanted to share this simple but useful device which I had bought recently from Dragon Mart, a bit expensive, but totally worth it.
This is a power bank which can easily fit in the palm of your hand and includes all wires to connect and charge your mobile phones, laptops and more importantly start up your dead car battery. It is a bout 12000 MAH power bank that can easily start up your dead car, I have tried it twice with 2 dead cars and it works like a dream, no need to keep it charging for long. Just connect, switch it to 12Volts (it has a switch 3V, 6V and 12V for different applications), and start up your car. It sends a strong charge to the car battery and just starts it up. If fully charged it still has enough juice to charge your 3000 MAH battery completely. Forgot to mention it has a torch also, not so powerful, but useful to eliminate dark spots. Awesome device.
This is what it looks like, I like the case also, very handy and useful.

Most comprehensive list of off-road gears and recovery tools

Recovery Gear
Below is the most comprehensive list of all commonly used off-road gears and basic recovery tools - this is the stuff everyone needs and it has to be easily accessible at all the time, while driving in off-road terrain (Sand and Rocks).
MANDATORY KIT
AIR COMPRESSOR Bush Ranger Black Max, ACE @ Festival City. Also available Pro Air, Max AirII at different price points. ARB Air Compressors from ARB Abu Dhabi (call up and order, will deliver C.O.D) Chinese stuff at Dragon Mart - if you're feeling lucky. Other compressors at Carrefour/other Hypermarkets or car accessory shops are not really recommended. RADIO / WALKIE TALKIE Motorola, allegedly 20 mile radius, from the small Sabka shops Dhs.325 Dragon Mart, higher output (will fry your ears), cheaper, clearer. TOW ROPE / SNATCH STRAP Bush Ranger heavy duty tow (dhs.200 or so) or Pro snatch kit (Dhs500+) from Ace Viking rope from Robbie's Garage (to the left of Times Square, Shk Zayed Rd) Dhs265, I think. Kinetic Rope from International Trading Co. Opposite Everhot Water Heater - Al Qusais. SHACKLES Are available at ACE, 3.0 T to 4.75 T very reasonable rates, make sure you get the shackles with the screw and not the pin-type shackles. SAFETY FLAG - available from shops that sell Quads, alternately use Fishing Rods fastened with a bolt to the spare tyre rig, also available is the FireStik range at Robbies which is very expensive but very neat and professional). You may also want a gutter-mount for the same (if your vehicle has a rain gutter). SHOVEL Fancy chome-plated stuff rom ACE or other accesory shops - expensive & of debateable utility. Bushranger tri-fold shovel with its own cover - about as expensive, easier to carry. Regular construction shovel from a hardware or construction material store - Dhs.25 and much more effective but not so compact. Fiskars super-lightweight camping shovel. Most expensive but is also lightest (you want to carry sand, not metal!). I recommend this, but this is very budget-sensitive. BASIC FIRST AID KIT Available at all pharmacies, auto kits available at ACE and some specialized offroad joints, you can also put one together yourself or your vehicle may have one supplied with it. Should contain: Gauze (Large, Medium & Small sizes) Sticking Plaster & Adhesive Strips (Band Aid variety) Surgical Cotton Surgical Spirit/Antiseptic Basic medication/ointment for minor cuts and bruises Burnaid other burn treatment Scissors & Forceps Cotton Buds BASIC TOOLKIT + FIRE EXTINGUISHER + JUMP STARTER CABLES + USABLE STEPNEY HYDRAULIC JACK & STRONG WOODEN PLATFORM/PLANK (or HiLift Jack base) An alternative is the very expensive and equally heavy but neatly packaged Exhaust Jack Series II (dont buy Series I) from ACE, its upwards of Dhs.800. A Hi-lift jack is something a lot of people like to carry prominently like some sort of badge, but this is of doubtful utility in our really sandy terrain. Very useful in Wadis etc. DEFLATION KIT Valve remover for tyres - most tyre shops Dhs.10/- Pen-type pressure gauge (marked in PSI, not LbFt) - Dhs.25/- most car accessory shops. Other gauges are also available, the pen-type stuff is considered good. Use trusted brands like Milton, PCL, ARB, Victor, Rolson or Monkey grip. 4 Spare Tyre Valves to replace any lost while deflating. CAN FOR ADDITIONAL FUEL FOR LONG TRIPS Available from Ace Hardware, good for long distance trips where you are not sure about the petrol stations on the way, very handy in places like Liwa. YOUR VEHICLE SHOULD HAVE RECOVERY POINTS - FRONT AND REAR.  
OPTIONAL ADDITIONS
Collapsible water can from ACE (Dhs.35 or so). Cool box with ICE (also useful for medical emergencies) and fluids of your choice (for more guidance, ask Kash). Cargo Net & Elastic Tie-downs to keep things securely fastened. GPS - Make sure it can store way points, record a track and pay the track back in reverse. Miscellaneous stuff that you should never need, but would want to keep handy - tire sealant gel/foam/goo, radiator leak-stopper (powder that you pour into your leaky radiator), exhaust leak fix (for small leaks, not cracked exhausts), flashlight, etc from ACE. Just to be on the safe side, one small 5 litre fuel can (Dhs.25 from any petrol station) and a manual siphon hose to borrow fuel from others (15-20 bucks). Duct Tape, Insulation Tape, Bush Knife/Pen Knife & Plastic Zip Ties. For camping trips - collapsible chairs/tents/sleeping bags/lanterns/BBQ kits/use your imagination. Small bottle of concentrated liquid Camp Soap or Dettol Hand Sanitizer + lots of Kleenex/tissue rolls. Working gloves to handle hot stuff in the engine bay + cloth/cotton waste. AAA or IATC Assistance as a sort of insurance for major breakdowns.
Hope this helps. Please let us know if you need assistance or further information.