Service and maintaining a 4WD takes a bit more effort than your average school run Corolla, especially if it’s used off-road at all.
And because of the vehicle’s heavier weight, there’s often more wear and tear on the suspension and drive train even if the 4x4 in question is an SUV and never gets off-road.
So here are a few things to look at.
First up, give the vehicle a good clean, especially underneath. The last thing you want is globs of mud falling in your eyes while you’re working down there. Check the wheels, too, as mud in the rim offsets can put the wheels off-balance, while mud in the radiator will lead to overheating problems.
Next up, give it a thorough service; a new air filter, fuel filter/s, spark plugs, oil filter, oil, sump plug washer, points (if equipped) and condenser (if equipped). Diesel engines will need a new air filter, diesel filter/s, oil filter, sump plug washer, and oil.
Also check engine oil, coolant levels, power steering, brake fluid, transmission fluid, transfer case oil and differential oil, front and back.
Next have a look underneath (you’ll be glad you cleaned it), and if the propshaft has grease nipples, clean and grease them. Also check the wheel bearings are well-greased.
Check for cuts to the tyres, bent steering rods, and debris that might have become lodged in the underside of the vehicle.
Do the lights work? Does the transmission smoothly shift into all gears? Does the transfer case engage 4WD? Is your alternator working well? How are the brakes? What about tyre pressures?
If there are any accessories on your vehicle, go round with your ratchet spanner and tighten up any bolts you can see (and even those you can’t see). While you’re at it, check for any rust and/or damaged brackets, and either clean up or replace the offending parts.
- While you’re at it, check out our suppliers on the following pages. Whether it’s servicing, fixing, modifying, or just advice, you can be sure they’ll help you out.