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About the 4WD Handbook

The 4WD Handbook is now out of print.

The 4WD Handbook explains how to drive offroad and how 4WDs work. It is designed to accessible to novice offroaders, but have plenty of detail and depth so it is also of value to highly experienced drivers.

“No book is a substitute for practical experience, but I’ve pretty much read the4WD Handbook cover to cover and am better for it, picking up useful points and having my memory jogged about others. It was like having a 4WD refresher course without having to go off-road or even sit in a vehicle.”

— Phil Hanson, 4WD Newz

“As one of only 70 instructors in the world certified by the International 4WD Trainers Association, I have seen a LOT of 4wd books in my 20 years in the 4WD business. Robert Pepper’s two books are the best (4wd Handbook and 4WD Glovebox”

–Nena Barlow, Barlow Jeep School

“This book is a must for everyone, from someone who is thinking about buying their first four wheel drive to the experienced four wheel drive instructor.”

— 4WD Victoria, Trackwatch magazine

Just finished reading The 4WD Handbook. The offroad bible would be better. In my opinion it is the best off road book I have read and will be recommending it to all my clients. The common sense approach to everything is brilliant. This book should have been over here years ago. All we normally get is someone bigging themselves up. Really enjoyed. Very good effort.

Trailmasters International

Your 4×4 handbook which is fantastic, incredibly thorough and very helpful. This has been added to the reading list as part of our post-graduate Diploma in Expedition Medicine here in the UK.

–Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

I finished reading your 4×4 book a week ago. So much wonderful content. Congrats. I have been driving 4×4 since 1985 and you never know it all but you have such wonderful knowledge that you have put all in the one place and shared. I will add it to my tourer gear and take it everywhere I go.

–YouTube comment

What’s in the 4WD Handbook: a complete 4WD reference and guide

All the techniques and explanations in The 4WD Handbook have been carefully researched, field-proven are and illustrated in full colour. Some topics covered are listed below, and you can also see the full table of contents.

Taking care of the environment is a priority for any responsible 4WD owner, so there’s a complete chapter on the environment to complete environment sections in each terrain driving chapter.
How 4WDs workThis section provides the basis for understanding how 4WDs work so the subsequent chapters on driving techniques and recoveries make sense.
Wheels and tyres for offroadersTyres are critical to any vehicle performance, so 4X4 drivers need to understand how they work.
Modern vehicles and electronic aidsVehicle technologies such as traction control, hill descent control, terrain-adaptive systems, torque-vectoring differentials are an important part of driving modern 4WDs – all explained in this chapter.
SoftroadersMany owners have light-duty 4X4s without low range – these need a specific driving style which is explained in a dedicated chapter.
The usual 4WD driving techniquesEvery 4WD book covers rocks, sand, mud and hills…but this one goes into a lot of detail!
More 4WD driving techniquesNot many books have chapters on night driving, long distance driving, road driving, driving for best fuel efficiency, grass terrain, side slopes, dirt roads and dynamics of car control.
Offroad trailer techniquesTowing a trailer offroad is very difficult, which is why there’s a chapter dedicated to the technique.
4WD Recovery techniquesThe book has a complete section on recovery; covering planning, approaches and specialised chapters on tools such as jacks, straps and boards.
4WD Recovery loadsIt’s really important for safety to understand recovery loads and how to estimate them. All explained in a dedicated chapter.
WinchingWinching is a primary form of recovery so it’s explained here; winch types, physics, pulleys, when to use what.
4WD Accessories and modificationsA 4X4 is really just a base for building on. But what accessories and modifications do you need or want, and why?
Choosing a vehicleIt’s hard to choose a vehicle, but there’s a chapter explaining the process and giving valuable guidance.
Driving unfamiliar vehiclesHave to drive a 4×4 you’ve never seen before? Or teach someone to drive? Here’s how to do it.

Book information

TitleThe 4WD Handbook

 The complete guide to how 4WDs work and how to drive them offroad

ISBNISBN-13: 978-1-922131-58-4
AuthorRobert Pepper
PublisherBoiling Billy / Woodslane
Publication dateEdition – 1 2010, revised 2012, Edition 2 – 2014
RevisionsMore detail on the Versions page
RRPAUD $44.95
OtherFull colour illustrations
UpdatesUpdates and errata
Media and retailersInfo for media and retailers
International salesFor non-Australians

“Just wanted to comment that, so far I only had the time to read a section on tyres, but for the first time I have come across an explanation to understand what the numbers (255/18/60 etc) really meant. I also bought another 4×4 book from a book store downtown, which was $24. On that basis, I would have been happy to pay $100 or thereabouts for your book.  I own a D3 to do some basic off-road driving, but needed a comprehensive knowledge on 4×4, and this book is an invaluable source.”


“I bought this book and think it is really well written on many levels, informative, fun and easy to read yet very comprehensive. Should be a 4x4ers bible or must have!


“I must say that after winning one of these books last year I’ve been mightily impressed with its content and overall execution. I’ve been offroading for decades and think that everything covered in it is factual and very logically explained. An excellent reference for 4WD’ers of all abilities and experience. Nicely done Robert.”