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2005 Outback wagon, purchased May 08 @ 43,500 miles, just turned 100K in November '09-
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some things ya just gotta do... Looking at vacationing on the NC beaches this spring, and considering taking a drive on the beach. Would like some insight please on embarking on this adventure. I know about dropping tire pressure (to what #?), but realistically -would I be putting my Outback through something for which it wasn't designed? Every car's got limits!... :18: Thanks everyone!!
 

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Tokyo's between my toes
2001 Wintergreen Outback 5MT
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6,673 Posts
You will need to exercise great caution, so all the SUV drivers can't see the Subaru-Driving Grin you're going to have.

These cars love sand. They will plow through the loose fluffy stuff that other vehicles avoid. Some people air down for it but I never have.
 
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'08 Subaru OB 2.5i 4EAT Newport Blue/Quartz Silver
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Sweeeeet... I'm planning a road trip this May to go to a couple beaches. This thread would be very interesting to me. My girlfriend said I wouldn't be allowed to drive on the beach because she's afraid the sand will get into the engine... I tried to explain how that's not really an issue and she's being just a bit overprotective. But you know how these women are... I'm hoping to convince her that it's ok. Or just start drivng on the beach, don't even give her a choice, and take the punishment for it later. Either way, I'm glad these cars love the sand :)
 

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2009 2.5i, H4, Auto.
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When you are done, I would personally use a hose to wash off all the loose sand and then take it to a carwash to get all the sand and salt that you missed so it doesn't have a chance to damage your paint.

You may want to consider taking a portable air compressor with you if you don't have one already, in case you need to air down.

Other than that, have fun.

As you your girlfriend, tell er that these cars have air filters to protect the engines from the sand.
 

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2010 OB PZEV, 2.5i. Main Skid and CVT plate. Wet dog smell.
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For Outer Banks driving the biggest issue is knowing where you pulled in at. This might sound goofy but I always stick drift wood up in the sand as a marker.

It does get pretty thick at times but remember momentum is your freind.

Be aware of other users, and dogs, out there and red necks in big trucks always have the right of way.

Watch for high tide.

Enjoy! Make sure you head down to Ocracoke.
 

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thefuryinside said:
Sweeeeet... I'm planning a road trip this May to go to a couple beaches. This thread would be very interesting to me. My girlfriend said I wouldn't be allowed to drive on the beach because she's afraid the sand will get into the engine... I tried to explain how that's not really an issue and she's being just a bit overprotective. But you know how these women are... I'm hoping to convince her that it's ok. Or just start drivng on the beach, don't even give her a choice, and take the punishment for it later. Either way, I'm glad these cars love the sand :)
Take two pieces of carpet scrap with you and a flat piece of plywood to put under the jack just incase. Carpet bits can be used to help you get unstuck - small plank for the jack to sit on vs sink into the sand you get it.

Have fun with it - yes momentum is your best friend. Subaru does well on sand due to the lighter weight than say a 4runner or other SUV. I've sunk my 4runner on the same beach my legacy GT sprinted across with no issue. If your packed full for the trip keep that in mind - not sure how the OB will take being fully loaded and being run on the sand it could be the wrong combo.
 

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2010 OB PZEV, 2.5i. Main Skid and CVT plate. Wet dog smell.
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It would be worth it to also have a "snatch strap" readily available. I bought one from Northern Tool for like $12.

Every hour or so a park ranger patrols and will gladly yank you out. Simply be friendly.
 

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07 Outback 2.5i 5MT
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Late to the party I know, but for the benefit of those researching:
I've done street pressure and then 15 PSI on loose Oahu sand and the difference is astonishing. With my 07 2.5i basic (no LSD rear), 5MT, the first time I drove on sand I was doing it at street pressure (because I didn't know any better) and came close to getting stuck. Also was feathering the clutch at 5000RPM to make the necessary power. Finished off an already defective release bearing in the process. During subsequent trips to the same beach I've taken the tires down to 15 PSI and it just goes. No clutch feathering, no lofty RPMs, just a firm foot on the throttle and a lot of go. Stopping on the sand was not overly problematic even at street pressure. I'm convinced you can't get this car stuck without resting it on its frame.
Tires: Michelin Primacy MXV4
 
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My 2014 Outback did admirably just this past week on the beach. We had to drive 6 miles on the beach to reach our rental in Carova, NC. Just make sure to turn the traction control OFF, and keep your momentum...don't stop. While 4x4 is the best, the Subaru all-time all wheel drive is superior to other all-wheel drives. Just make sure to turn your traction control off!!
 

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2016 subaru outback 3.6r, 2011 Subaru ForesterXt
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My 2014 Outback did admirably just this past week on the beach. We had to drive 6 miles on the beach to reach our rental in Carova, NC. Just make sure to turn the traction control OFF, and keep your momentum...don't stop. While 4x4 is the best, the Subaru all-time all wheel drive is superior to other all-wheel drives. Just make sure to turn your traction control off!!
If you are aired down in a Subaru, there is no worry about stopping in loose deep sand. The only time it is bad like any other 4wd is when you try to stop in deep sand facing a slanted uphill. If you swap out the Bridgestones for a better tire, you can do things with a modern Outback that you cannot even do with a stock Wrangler.
 

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2016 Ice Silver Outback 2.5i Limited with moonroof, nav, keyless entry and remote start
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Had my '16 Outback on the beach in Wildwood NJ in June. Had no issues with driving on the sand. Trying to attach pictures, hope it works.

John
 

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2021 Outback 2.5i Premium
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20 miles down PINS. I always air down. Always in "manual" so I can force a quick paddle shifter shift to power through or over a rough patch. I like to keep my 2.5's revs around 2K for quick response.
 

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2017 Outback 3.6R
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I guess I'll revive this thread. I just returned from the Outer Banks in my '17 LTD H6. Took to 4X4 beach in it and was really impressed. Heavy ruts and deep powdery sand wouldn't stop the car. Just steady throttle and it kept on going. The looks on the jeepers faces was priceless! This is the second time this car had impressed me off-road. I would've pushed it harder but I had over 1000 miles to drive to get home. It made the trip a real pleasure.
 
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