4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

Like many of us with older ve­hi­cles, I ser­vice and main­tain my own 4x4 – a 2005 Toy­ota Hilux. With 352,000km on the clock, it’s a lit­tle past war­ranty! As well as be­ing a travel truck and tow rig, my Hilux is my daily driver and I of­ten com­mute be­tween Syd­ney and New­cas­tle, so the kays rack up rea­son­ably quickly. And with my pref­er­ence for 10,000km oil changes on its dual-fuel Lpg-in­jected 4.0-litre V6, ev­ery few months I’m flipping oil and fil­ter in my garage.

I look after my tyres, too. I make sure to switch around the wheels and tyres after a few months of use, to even out the wear and pre­vent the saw-tooth­ing of the tread that of­ten oc­curs with more ag­gres­sive tread pat­terns. With a floor jack, safety stands and a wheel brace (or a rat­tle gun), it’s a 10-minute task.

I in­tended to flip my treads dur­ing the morn­ing be­fore edi­tor Matt, my mate Batesy and I left for a week tour­ing through the Vic­to­rian High Coun­try (see page 104) over the New Year break. Matt was due at my place around lunchtime so we could get to the Snowies that evening.

So I wan­dered down and lifted my garage door. Would you be­lieve one tyre was flat? I’m sure I frowned and be­gan look­ing around for Matt – or another one of my crazy mates – to jump out from be­hind a tree or fence and say: “Hah! Just kid­ding!” But, no, I found a roof­ing screw through the tread of my driv­ers’ side front tyre. Bug­ger!

I carry an Arb/safety Seal punc­ture re­pair kit and an ARB com­pres­sor in my Hilux, so fix­ing the tyre was a fiveminute task with­out even re­mov­ing it. If you don’t have a tyre re­pair kit, get one! I reckon this is the twen­ti­eth time it has come in handy for quickly fix­ing tyres, whether at a Bun­nings car park, a race­track, or in the mid­dle of nowhere. Roof­ing screws seem to lit­ter the planet!

As soon as the tyre was re­paired, I moved my Hilux into my garage and placed it on axle stands so all four wheels could be re­moved and swapped around – front to rear and vice-versa. Check­ing the ve­hi­cle log­book re­vealed that the tyres had been worn for closer to 10,000km than 5000km, so they were long over­due for a ro­ta­tion.

I gave the front brakes a quick check while the wheels were off. Lucky! My front brake pads were just about shot – less than 1mm re­mained. So it was off to the parts shop for a set of fresh front pads. The front discs – more than likely the Toy­ota orig­i­nals de­spite the 350,000km trav­elled – were above-spec. Ro­tor longevity is some­thing I of­ten muse over as I read com­ments from Face­book ex­perts who sneer at Toy­ota’s ‘tax’ (parts pric­ing) … then have to replace their own ‘other brand’ discs at 40,000km.

I got my Hilux back on its wheels about 20 min­utes be­fore Matt ar­rived in his long-term test rig, a Mazda BT-50. I spent the seven-hour drive to the Snowies thank­ing my lucky stars that I’d checked things out, be­cause 2.4 tonnes of Hilux with no front brakes in the Snowy River Na­tional Park could have been more of an ad­ven­ture than we’d planned!

My 10-minute task ended up be­ing a morn­ing of mis­ery!

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