A memorable 4WD adventure will test the conditions of your vehicle, and you should prepare it for that challenge in a meticulous and proactive manner. With that in mind, let’s consider the essential aspects that an off-road adventurer must consider.
Ideally, your 4WD vehicle is regularly serviced by experts such as difflappingqld.com.au. Perform those steps again now, or if not, now is the right time to start. Change the oil and replace the oil filter. Top off fluids like antifreeze and windshield fluid, and be sure to inspect the brakes, transmission, steering system, radiator/cooling system and AC. Finally, install a new, well-sealed air cleaner.
Examine the Chassis
Strive to maintain the underside of the vehicle in a clean state; it makes it easier to inspect and maintain. If you haven’t done that, then clean it now at least enough that you can see the chassis. Then scrutinize all welds and joins for stress fractures and even any minor signs of fatigue. If you find any, have a professional attend to them immediately. Lastly, review the exhaust assembly and ensure that it’s solid.
Inspect the Wheels
If not already, jack the vehicle up for this phase. If you can jack it high to work on the wheels and tyres at standing level, that’s ideal. Spin the wheels. Ensure that they spin freely and without noise. Listen for any abrasive sounds. Spin them again and watch that they rotate in a true circle without any irregularities. Lastly, rock the wheels to make sure that there’s no play in them.
Preparing the Tyres
To appreciate the tyres fully, remove them. Be sure to examine the inner wall. Check for any sidewall damage and slashes. Assess the tread for proper depth, and inspect it for stones, nails and so forth. Just prior to departure, have a professional perform wheel alignment, tyre rotation and tyre balancing. Lastly, verify the air pressure at the last possible location before setting off the beaten path.
Tighten All Nuts
Off-road adventurers should be intimately familiar with their adventures. If you’re not yet, then this is the stage in the preparation where you’ll earn that experience. Plan to spend at least an hour or two. Grab a variety of spanners, get back under the vehicle and then tighten and test the integrity of each nut. Once you’re comfortable prepping your vehicle, feel free to combine this step with the chassis check.
Review the Shock Absorbers
While the 4WD vehicle is up, double-check the shock absorbers and all suspension components. Shocks should be visibly inspected for leaks and damage and then checked for compression. Hydraulic shocks should barely move in or out at all, and gas shocks should revert to their default position automatically.
Inspect All Aftermarket Components
Aftermarket components tend to be a problem area for off-road vehicles because they can never be as well affixed as stock items. Pay particular attention to items like aerials, roof racks and spotlights. Consider the abuse from off-road vibration and be proactive. If you discover a fastener that is loosened or a potential problem, then use nylock nuts, stud adhesives or a similar solution.
Your 4WD vehicle should now be well prepared to tackle any adventure. The next step should be preparation of an emergency kit, which should include a two-way radio. It’s also a good idea to have a comprehensive, illustrated service manual, which will be a great resource when calling for help.
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