A 4 wheel drive (4WD) can get you places other vehicles can’t. Even if you don’t want to go off road and climb rocks or drive through creeks, a 4WD gives you the confidence to get that little bit closer to the coast; to take that dirt road that you may otherwise balk at, and a vehicle that’s more robust on open roads. In many ways a 4WD is quintessentially Australian. There are hundreds of places you can access with a 4WD that you can’t with a standard sedan.
Don’t neglect the extra maintenance
But the freedom you have on those open roads and the ability to take that track that you wouldn’t otherwise take, comes at a price. Don’t wrap your 4WD in cotton wool but realise it will need a bit more love than your average vehicle.
Servicing is essential
No ifs and buts, Schedule a service every 10,000 – 15,000 kms if you have a 4WD. More often if you’re towing or engaging in some heavy off road work. Talk to your mechanic and he’ll advise you on the sensile intervals between services.
Make sure you have a mechanic you can trust. Talk to him or her about how you can do checks on your vehicle while you’re out on the road. You don’t need to be a qualified mechanic but you should know some basic DIY work that will get you out of trouble.
Check your vehicle before you hit the road
Take a 4×4 maintenance checklist on the road with you. When you are on the road, take five minutes to give your car the once over before you start. Open the bonnet and the basics: water, engine oil, brake fluid, clutch fluid, transmission oil, radiator overflow and power steering fluid. If you’ve had those conversations with your mechanic you should know how to check transmission belt tensions and hose condition.
There are other things to look for and that will depend on how educated you are about vehicle maintenance. Looking underneath for leaks is something you can do quite easily. Listen for noises like clicks, strange vibrations, knocking and screeches or whining. Ignore those noises and you might regret it.
Tyre pressure is really important
Tyre pressure will determine how well your vehicle runs. Power, traction and wear on your tyres are all influenced by tyre pressure. How well your car goes off road will be influence by tyre pressure. If you are on the beach with the wrong tyre pressure your vehicle is more likely to overheat. Same can occur on tough terrain. Likewise with fuel efficiency and economy.
Learn how to drive your 4WD vehicle
In the same way that driving a vehicle on any road will help your car maintain its condition, the same applies to 4WDs. If you are on rough terrain or driving on the beach, uses your low gears and take opportunities to idle at very low speed in hard to encounter places. All these tips will reduce wear and tear and preserve your vehicle for future trips.
Southern Cross Auto – the 4WD mechanics
If you are looking for a 4WD specialist, or a 4WD service centre than come to Southern Cross Auto in Mascot. We are experts in servicing and repairing all types of vehicles. Some of our mechanics are avid 4 wheel drivers so we have insights into 4 wheel driving that other mechanics don’t. Give us a call and talk through your needs with our service team. At Southern Cross Automotive Repairs, your safety is our highest priority.