At your ser­vice


Pro­fes­sional ser­vic­ing at reg­u­lar mileage or use in­ter­vals is the key to a long and hope­fully trou­ble­free life of 4WD own­er­ship. Like every­thing, an ounce of pre­ven­tion is worth a pound of cure, so as an ac­tive owner you also have a role to play. To whit: Read your ve­hi­cle’s man­ual from front to back. There will be stuff in there you thought you knew (but didn’t) as well as stuff that could save your wal­let or even your life. Think of it as your first line of de­fence. Go on­line and see if you can find a Haynes (or sim­i­lar) ser­vice man­ual for your ve­hi­cle ei­ther direct from the pub­lisher or from Trade Me, Ama­zon or eBay. It’s harder for us with all the Jap im­ports avail­able here but if you can find one it will pro­vide you with hours of ‘gee, I didn’t know that’ en­joy­ment, whether or not you ever pick up a span­ner. The same goes for on­line tu­to­ri­als. You have to wade through a lot of rub­bish to find the good ones but I’m cer­tainly not too proud to ad­mit to us­ing them. Then there are the‘ For Dum­mies’ and ‘Com­plete Idiots Guides to… ’texts which are an­other great source of gen­eral in­for­ma­tion. Reg­u­larly con­duct vis­ual and ‘span­ner’ checks over your 4WD. You will be amazed how of­ten you will find a loose-ish wheel nut, blown light bulb, or tyre that while not flat has mag­i­cally lost up to 10 psi of pres­sure. Speak­ing of bulbs, buy a twin pack when you go to re­place one and store the other/s in bub­blewrap in the glove box or cen­tre con­sole. As well as your eye, run your hand over each tyre, tak­ing the time to pull out and throw away any lit­tle stones stuck in the grooves. You never know when you’ll find a screw buried in a tread block mean­ing a quick trip to your tyre shop to have it re­moved... and a tube­less plug added if it has gone right through the cas­ing. Al­ways check your spare tyre (for con­di­tion and pres­sure) at the same time. Most of us can think of a time when some­one needed to use their spare only to find it flat, or per­ished and flat within a few kms of it be­ing pressed into ser­vice. On the sub­ject of check­ing, if you don’t al­ready know ask the guys you bought your tyres from for rec­om­mended road (and off-road) pres­sures. Some are now over 50psi! Wheel bear­ings are of­ten ne­glected un­til too late so be­cause we reg­u­larly use our 4WDs off-road, in mud and/ or dust and of­ten un­der wa­ter it is a good idea to sched­ule a vis­ual/wrig­gle check if – for in­stance – it is time to re­place your disc brake ro­tors or the shoes in your drum brakes. Check your en­gine oil and coolant lev­els weekly and your trans­mis­sion fluid level ev­ery 5000kms or so. I al­ways do an en­gine oil and fil­ter change ev­ery 5000kms and ra­di­a­tor flush/coolant change ev­ery 12 months. Trans­fer cases are still a black hole to me so I leave check­ing the Ter­rano’s to my me­chanic! I also leave diff check­ing and main­te­nance to my diff guy... who I tend to see more than most thanks to my drift ad­dic­tion! But that shouldn’t mean you don’t have a go your­self if you feel ca­pa­ble. Fi­nally, if you do have any sort of in­ci­dent off the road be dou­bly vig­i­lant in your check­ing af­ter­wards. You never know, a rub here, a click there or a mis­align­ment, if not caught and sorted early could lead to twice as much drama, and with it cost, down the line!

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