In the UK, many rural areas require 4×4’s and off-road vehicles to access the more remote areas. Needless to say, driving off-road can be a fun experience, but it can also take its toll on your car too.
Knowing how best to look after and service an off-road vehicle is vital to prolonging its life span, ultimately saving money in the long term. From making sure you use only the best fuel or red diesel to taking care of your car, there’s a lot that you can do.
No one wants to break down in the middle of nowhere or have to claim on their insurance.
How to maintain a 4×4 off road vehicle
Maintaining a 4×4 can be quite a task, but there are a few simple things you can regularly check to prolong its life. This includes:
1. Clean It After Each Trip
When you are driving off-road, your car will accumulate dirt and mud, which can stick on all areas of your vehicle. If this becomes trapped in the grills, it can cause your vehicle to overheat and damage the engine. So when you return after each drive, make sure you wash your car off and pay particular attention to gaps in the bodywork and around the bonnet.
2. Check the tyres regularly
Check your tyre pressure and then recheck it the next day because tyre pressure decreases as the air within the tyre cools down as the temperature drops. Remember to check the pressure on your spare tyre as well; you never know when you might need it. Inspect your tyres for serious scratches or lugs that have come loose. Check the lug nuts and tighten them if necessary. If you have deadlocks, make sure they are properly tightened as well.
3. Look for deep dents of leaks in the shocks
Check your shocks for any damage, such as deep dents or leaks, as well as the bushings and mounts on the shock absorbers. Not only will damaged shocks ruin the quality of your drive, but driving in this manner can mean you cause more damage to the car too.
4. Keep the brakes drums clear of abrasive substances
If you’ve been driving through a lot of sand, water, or mud, you should check your brake drums for dirt or sand accumulation. Maintain and inspect your brake lines regularly but more significantly if you’ve elevated your car but still use factory brake lines. Because if they are too short, brake lines will become stretched as a result of overextension. You don’t want to experience a sudden loss of braking power when driving, as this can be extremely dangerous in any situation, but even more so in remote areas with uneven terrain.
5. Keep the suspension mechanisms in working order
Ensure that all suspension components, including the track bar, control arms, springs, and bump stops, are in good working order and free of damage. Keep an eye out for any symptoms of components rubbing against or against each other.
Crawl underneath your vehicle and look for evidence of damage or excessive wear in your suspension and steering components, as well as any loose nuts and bolts that may have come loose. Wiggle things around a little to see if anything is loose. Examine your steering box, including where it is fastened to the frame, as well as your steering box sector shaft, to confirm that everything is functioning correctly.
If you have just bought a caravan, you should keep the tow bar fully maintained too!
It is important to perform the necessary checks both before and after your trips to identify any issues and correct them before they become a danger. It also pays to keep it well maintained for when it comes to selling your car.
Sharne is an HR and Office Administrator with a degree in Classical & Archaeological studies. She has a passion for dogs and loves to share money management tricks in her spare time!