Helpful Hints - Trip Prep for Your 4wd & Trailer

Get a service manual & become familiar with the terminology & basic tools required for your vehicle

Perform some important checks & be prepared to perform a service whilst away when travelling for considerable distances.


Learn how to do the basics on your vehicle

·        Have a pen & paper handy to note items needing attention

·        Take a few hours & check every nut & bolt underneath for tightness & burring

·        Check all aftermarket fitted equipment fastenings & look for any damage & consider anti-theft options

·        Whilst underneath, check for ANY leaks or damage, including the exhaust system and any areas where there are welds which may have fatigue or stress cracks

·        Check all hoses & lines for any signs of leaking fluids or perished areas

·        Jack up vehicle & spin/rotate each wheel & listen for ANY noises. You should hear NOTHING! The wheel should spin smoothly

·        Whilst checking each wheel/tyre, hold top & bottom & rock vertically. Repeat holding either side. Note if there is any play or clunking & address accordingly

·        Remove each wheel from the vehicle & inspect inside wheel arch for sprayed fluids, check the brake shoes/pads, check hubs for any movement or leaking seals

·        Examine inside/outside of tyre for wear, bulging, splits, damage, foreign objects & date of manufacture. If in doubt, replace it

·        Examine rim for missing balance weights, stress cracks, abrasions in the bead part of rim.

·        Whilst wheel is off, inspect suspension components for damage, wear or perishing or leaks, including shock absorbers & steering dampeners

·        Check diff fluids for discolouration & metallic fragments & check diff breathers, consider extending if needed

·        Check transfer case & transmission fluids

·        Check radiator coolant, pulleys, belts & water pump

·        Check all air filters, oil filters & fuel filters

·        Check all recovery points & tow hitch’s

·        Check electrical wiring & secure any loose cables. Make sure all batteries are firmly secured

·        Check & adjust (if needed) all lights, blinkers, spotties etc.

Several weeks prior to departure – MINIMISING POTENTIAL DISASTERS & save yourself literally thousands $$$

·        As a general rule – If it leaks, seal it. If it rattles, tighten it. If it’s near it’s use by date, replace/service it

·        Buy any small tools you will need to add to your collection, to perform any on-road maintenance or basic roadside repairs

·        Have your vehicle fully serviced – giving time for any adjustments before you leave & making sure it was done correctly!

·        Replace any worn tyres & have a wheel alignment done

·        Grease EVERY grease nipple & flush your brake fluid & power steering fluid

·        Consider installing a bug screen/mesh in front of the radiator

·        Replace any filters or take spares especially air filters when travelling in convoy

·        Replace any expired or missing  items in your vehicle first aid kit

·        If towing a trailer, make/buy a rear window shield to prevent breakages from deflection on dirt roads


If in doubt, contact your vehicle/trailer manufacturer or alternatively, speak to any of our experienced members who may be able to assist you further.

NOTE: This is a general guide only & in no way determines what each individual may need to do prior to a ‘big’ trip

(Submitted by member - Karen Gray)