Mersedes SUV Manuals

Off-road driving

Mercedes-Benz G-Class / Mercedes-Benz G-Class Owners Manual / Driving and parking / Driving tips / Off-road driving

Important safety notes

Do not load items on the basic carrier bars. It may cause instability during some maneuvers which could result in an accident.

Drive slowly in unknown terrain. This will make it easier to recognize unexpected obstacles and avoid damage to the vehicle.

To help avoid the vehicle rolling over, never turn it around on steep inclines. If the vehicle cannot complete the attempted climb, back it down in reverse gear.

Do not drive along the side of a slope. The vehicle might otherwise rollover. If in doing so the vehicle begins to show a tendency to roll, immediately steer into a line of gravity (straight up or downhill).

Never let the vehicle roll backwards in idle.

You may lose control of the vehicle if you use only the service brake. For information on driving downhill, see "Driving downhill".

When driving off-road, sand, mud and water, possibly mixed with oil, for example, could get into the brakes. This could result in a reduced braking effect or in total brake failure and also in increased wear and tear. The braking characteristics change depending on the material ingressing the brakes. Clean the brakes after driving off-road. If you detect a reduced braking effect or grinding noises, have the brake system checked in a qualified specialist workshop as soon as possible.

Adapt your driving style to the different braking characteristics.

Driving off-road increases the likelihood of damage to the vehicle, which, in turn, can lead to failure of the mechanical assembly or systems. Adapt your driving style to suit the terrain conditions. Drive carefully. Have damage to the vehicle rectified immediately at a qualified specialist workshop.

General notes

Environmental note Protection of the environment is of primary importance. Treat nature with respect.

Observe all prohibiting signs.

Read this section carefully before driving your vehicle off-road. Practice by driving over more gentle off-road terrain first.

Familiarize yourself with the characteristics of your vehicle and the gear shift operation before driving through difficult terrain.

The following driving systems are specially adapted to off-road driving: 4ETS Transfer case Differential locks

Observe the following notes: stop your vehicle and, if necessary, shift the transfer case to LOW
ANGE before driving offroad.

AMG vehicles: to shift the transfer case to LOW RANGE, deactivate the ECO start/ stop function .

engage the differential locks, if necessary

ABS, 4ETS, ESP and BAS are deactivated when the differential locks are activated.

This allows the front wheels to lock briefly, so that these can dig into a loose surface.

However, please note that locked wheels skid and can no longer steer.

R Check that items of luggage and loads are stowed safely and are well secured .

To avoid damaging the vehicle, make sure there is always sufficient ground clearance.

Always keep the engine running and in gear when driving on a downhill gradient.

Always keep the engine running and in gear when driving on a slope.

Drive slowly and evenly, if necessary at a walking pace.

  Ensure that the wheels are in contact with the ground at all times.

Drive with extreme care on unknown offroad routes where visibility is poor. For safety reasons, get out of the vehicle first and survey the off-road route.

Check the depth of water before fording rivers and streams.

When fording, do not stop and do not switch off the engine.

Look out for obstacles such as rocks, holes, tree stumps and furrows.

Always keep the doors, rear door, side windows and the sliding sunroof closed while the vehicle is in motion.

R Switch off cruise control.

Do not stray from marked routes or paths.

Adapt your speed to the terrain. The rougher, steeper or more ruts on the terrain, the slower your speed should be.

Drive slowly and at an even speed through the water. Ensure that a bow wave does not form as you drive.

On sand, drive quickly to overcome the rolling resistance. Otherwise, the vehicle could dig itself into the sand.

Do not jump with the vehicle as this will interrupt the vehicle's propulsion.

Avoid high engine speeds. Drive at appropriate engine speeds (maximum 3,000 rpm).

Do not shift the automatic transmission to transmission position N.

Always check the vehicle for damage after off-road driving.

Information about retrofitting special allterrain tires is available from any qualified specialist workshop.

Do not use the HOLD function when driving off-road, on steep uphill or downhill gradients or on slippery or loose surfaces.

The HOLD function cannot hold the vehicle on such surfaces.

Checklist before driving off-ro

If the engine oil warning lamp lights up while the vehicle is in motion, stop the vehicle in a safe place as soon as possible.

Check the engine oil level. The engine oil warning lamp warning must not be ignored.

Continuing the journey while the symbol is displayed could lead to engine damage.

Engine oil level: check the engine oil level and add oil if necessary.

Only then does the engine receive enough oil when the vehicle is standing on a steep incline.

Tire-changing tool kit: check that the jack is working and make sure you have the lug wrench, a robust tow cable and a folding spade in the vehicle.

Wheels and tires: check the tire tread depth and tire pressure.

Check for damage and remove any foreign objects, e.g. small stones, from the wheels/tires.

Replace any missing valve caps.

Replace dented or damaged wheels.

Carry a sound spare wheel.

Checklist after driving off-road

Driving over rough terrain places greater demands on your vehicle than driving on normal roads. After driving off-road, check the vehicle. This allows you to detect damage promptly and reduce the risk of an accident to yourself and other road users.

Shift the transfer case to HIGH RANGE.

Disengage the differential locks .

Clean the headlamps and rear lights and check for damage.

Clean the front and rear license plates.

Clean the wheels and tires with a water jet and remove any foreign objects.

Clean the wheels, tires, wheel housings and the vehicle underside with a water jet; check for any foreign objects and damage.

Check whether twigs or other parts of plants have become trapped. These increase the risk of fire and can damage fuel pipes, brake hoses or the rubber bellows of the axle joints and propeller shafts.

After the trip, examine without fail the entire undercarriage, wheels, tires, brakes, bodywork structure, steering, chassis and exhaust system for damage.

After driving for extended periods across sand, mud, gravel, water or in similarly dirty conditions, have the brake discs, wheels, brake pads/linings and axle joints checked and cleaned.

If you notice strong vibrations after off-road driving, check for foreign objects in the wheels and drive train and, if necessary, remove them. Foreign objects can disturb the balance and cause vibrations.

Test the brakes.

Driving on sand

Observe the following rules when driving on sand:
Shift the transfer case to LOW R ANGE.

Avoid high engine speeds.

Limit the shift range of the automatic transmission according to the off-road conditions.

Drive quickly to overcome the rolling resistance. Otherwise, the vehicle could dig itself into the sand.

Drive in the tracks of other vehicles if possible. Make sure that the ruts are not too deep, that the sand is firm enough and that your vehicle has sufficient ground clearance.

Tire ruts and gravel roads

Check that the ruts are not too deep and that your vehicle has sufficient clearance.

Otherwise, your vehicle could be damaged or bottom out and get stuck.

Observe the following rules when driving along ruts in off-road terrain or on roads with loose gravel:

R Shift the transfer case to LOW RANGE.

Avoid high engine speeds.

Observe the safety notes  and the general notes  on off-road driving.

Restrict the shift range of the automatic transmission to 1.

Drive slowly.

Where ruts are too deep, drive with the wheels of one side on the center grassy area, if possible.

Driving over obstacles

Obstacles could damage the floor of the vehicle or components of the chassis. Ask passengers for guidance when driving over large obstacles. The passenger should always keep a safe distance from the vehicle when doing so in order to avoid injury as a result of unexpected vehicle movements. After driving off-road or over obstacles, check the vehicle for possible damage, especially to the underbody and the components of the chassis.

 Drive with particular care when driving over an obstacle while driving up or down a steep slope.

The vehicle could otherwise tilt and slide sideways or tip over.

Observe the following rules when driving over

Observe the following rules when driving over tree stumps, large stones and other obstacles:
Observe the safety notes  and the general notes  on off-road driving.

Shift the transfer case to LOW RANGE.

Avoid high engine speeds.

Restrict the shift range to 1.

Make sure that you have enough ground clearance before driving across an obstacle.

Drive very slowly.

Try to drive straight over the center of obstacles: front wheel first, then rear wheel.

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