Maintenance of a 4WD Vehicle: What All You Need to Know
Owning a 4WD (Four-Wheel Drive) vehicle is a matter of pride for many people in Australia. People, in this country, prefer to have a great outdoor life. They adopt numerous ways for enjoying their time outside their bedroom or office. Building outdoor entertainment areas in the home and taking off-road trips are a few of these ways.
But in order to enjoy your outdoor adventure trips, you should ensure that your four-wheel drive vehicle performs at its best at all times. Just like all other types of vehicles, 4WD or 4×4 vehicles need regular maintenance. Machines are prone to develop defects over time. A vehicle is also a piece of machinery, and so, it can become defective or damaged. Improperly working 4WD vehicles can spoil your journeys.
However, the majority of the people owning four-wheel drive vehicles fail to realise the importance of regular and preventive maintenance. Battery, suspension, chassis, tyres, wheels, and other parts of a 4WD vehicle should work optimally. Their optimum functioning is possible only when they are inspected at frequent intervals.
You need to prepare a dedicated checklist for the maintenance of your 4WD vehicle. Such checklists can be found on the Internet as well. If you opt for using the one available for free on the world wide web, you should make the necessary changes as per the make and model of your 4WD vehicle. You should also consider the condition and usage of your vehicle for creating the checklist.
What is Involved in the 4WD Maintenance Checklist?
Usually, a checklist for the maintenance of a 4WD vehicle or any other type of vehicle includes all the tasks required for ensuring superior performance and a long lifespan. These tasks are related to different parts and components of a vehicle. Both mechanical and auto-electrical systems of your four-wheel drive vehicle should function perfectly.
While the mechanical system plays a vital role in the performance of a vehicle, the auto-electrical system is important for the comfort of passengers. Mechanical parts like brakes, suspension, engine, clutch, steering, and transmission are necessary for the smooth functioning of a vehicle. When these parts work well, your four-wheel drive vehicle can be deemed fit and safe for being driven on the road.
Similarly, when auto-electrical parts and components like alternator, generator, battery, starter, and sensors work properly, your four-wheel drive vehicle can be driven with speed and ease. Sensors, central locking, an alarm system, and a dashboard camera can keep your car secure at all times. Electrical accessories like an air conditioner, lights, and music system make the drives comfortable and enjoyable for passengers.
With your 4WD vehicle, you must have received a user manual. You should go through the same for understanding your vehicle better. On the basis of the information available regarding the make and model of your vehicle, you can create an inspection and maintenance checklist.
4WD Major Service V/S 4WD Minor Service
Depending on the condition of your vehicle, you might have to get a major service or minor service for it from time to time. Major service for a 4WD vehicle differs from its minor service in many ways. A vehicle that develops small faults needs minor servicing. On the other hand, a vehicle that gets damaged to a large extent needs major servicing.
A minor service for a four-wheel drive vehicle generally includes replacement of engine oil, examination of oil filter, fuel filter, brakes, clutch, steering, suspension, battery, and tyre pressure, top-up of transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant, and inspection of auto-electrical parts.
Compared to a minor service, a major service includes more tasks. Along with the tasks mentioned above, a major service also includes the replacement of spark plugs and cabin air filters, adjustment of brakes, an inspection of the exhaust system and warning lights, and computer diagnostic scan.
It’s worth mentioning here that some people undertake the 4WD maintenance course for learning how to take good care of their vehicle. Such courses can help you when you plan to go on an off-road trip in your four-wheel drive vehicle. First-time vehicle owners can get benefitted a lot from a comprehensive training course for maintaining a 4WD vehicle.
How Much Does the 4WD Maintenance Cost?
Needless to say, the cost of maintaining a vehicle becomes a matter of concern for everyone. Vehicle owners always try to keep their vehicle-related costs to a minimum. They visit an automotive centre that charges less as compared to other centres. At times, they even resort to buying cheap quality spare parts and components for replacement purposes. But cutting corners can increase the maintenance cost in the long run.
Moreover, low-quality parts and oil can lower the performance and worsen the condition of your vehicle over time. Therefore, you should always buy premium quality spare parts and components. You need to get your four-wheel drive vehicle inspected and serviced at a reputable service centre. You should get a maintenance schedule prepared by an experienced auto technician.
According to this schedule, you should bring your vehicle to the service station. You should also follow the recommended logbook servicing routine as mentioned in the manual provided by the manufacturer of your vehicle. Some people commit the mistake of ignoring the need for maintaining their four-wheel drive vehicle to avoid incurring expenses. You should not commit such a mistake. Irrespective of the cost, you should take care of your vehicle.
Whom to Choose for Your Needs Regarding 4WD Service?
It’s a known fact that not every automotive centre is equipped to meet the repair, replacement, and servicing needs related to 4WD vehicles. Repairing and maintaining a four-wheel drive vehicle requires a special set of skills and tools. The service station that you choose should be well-known for catering to the needs of 4WD vehicle owners properly.
So, whenever you encounter any requirement for keeping your vehicle in top condition, you should choose the service centre diligently. Visiting the automotive shop located near your home or workplace might not be the best course of action. You should find out about all the service centres located in and around your suburb, town, or city. Then, you should gather the relevant information to compare all of them for picking the right option.
In order to get your four-wheel drive vehicle serviced at the right time, you should be able to understand various mechanical and auto-electrical problems. You need to make the necessary checks on your vehicle on a frequent basis. Brake alignment, tyre pressure, tyre balancing, wheel alignment, and chassis alignment are some of these checks. During the inspection, if you find anything unusual, you should visit an automotive centre immediately.
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Priya Bhagtani is a passionate content writer with an experience of more than five years in this field.