No matter what kind of 4WD you own, the one thing they all have in common is that they need regular maintenance which is a bit different from your average front or rear wheel drive automobile. Like all other vehicles, it is recommended that you follow the manufacturer’s guidance in the manual, but at a quick glance, here are just a few tips every driver should know.
1. Check All Fluids Regularly
Besides oil, brake fluids, and transmission fluid in automatics, you also need to know that there are front differentials which need to be regularly inspected. This requires fluids to be checked and changed as required in the manual and also in the transfer case which lies a bit toward the back. This has fluids which need to be checked and changed as well. Again, always refer to your manual for the specific 4WD you own because each manufacturer has its own standards and specifications.
2. Inspect the Brake Lines
This is one that many drivers miss. Older vehicles may have rust on the brake lines which could be caused by excess salt in the air or on the ground. Whether you live in an area that salts the roads in winters or near an ocean, these can be the main causes of corrosion and that could very well lead to brake failure. Most of the time drivers seek 4WDs because they handle treacherous roads well in inclement weather and since this is the case, you absolutely will want to know that your brakes won’t fail you at the last moment. If you need replacement lines, you could check out sites like speedfinal.com where you can find all the information you need to find what you need for your particular make and model. They help you find the best for your vehicle.
3. Lubricate Self-Leveling Systems on Some SUVs and Trucks
Although not all 4WDs have a self-leveling system, a great many trucks and SUVs do. Most vehicles have suspension systems which must be hand adjusted which makes the self-leveling type preferable. However,these do need to be inspected and lubricated regularly. It’s the linkages which require the lubrication so that the sensor gets it right to adjust right/left and front/rear leveling. They are apt to wear out quickly if not kept regularly lubricated and as every driver knows, a car tilted one way, or another, puts a strain on wheels, tires and even the steering mechanism.
4. Maintenance on the Rear Differentials
Just as the front differentials mentioned above need to have the fluids checked and changed regularly, so too do the rear differentials. These tend to need checking and/or changing more often than the front differentials as the front may only require changing every 36,000 miles while the rear may last only up to 15,000. And again, always check with the manufacturer’s manual to follow their recommendation for that particular 4WD vehicle.
So, there you have a few tips on common maintenance issues for 4WDs. Some tips are the same no matter what type of vehicle you drive while some are specific to this type of vehicle. Just remember that these vehicles are meant to be multi-purpose and often heavy duty models, so keeping them in tip-top shape is essential for the life of the vehicle as well as the safety of anyone riding within.