All vehicles require routine maintenance in order to ensure a long life, and off road vehicles are no exception. Because not all vehicles are driven the same, these are merely recommendations based on what we encounter here at the shop. You should get in the habit of having regular maintenance checks before and after every off-road trip — as exposure to mud, water, dust and dirt causes parts to wear out faster. Preventative maintenance and routing inspections are the key component to avoiding breakdowns out on the trail.
When on the trail, you should pay extra attention to any abnormal noises, fluid leaks or smells. You should always check your vehicle after obstacles like deep water crossings, rock climbing, extreme off-roading, etc.
We recommend having your vehicles fluids (Engine Oil, Differential Fluids, Transmission Fluid, Transfer Case Fluid, Power Steering, Coolant, Brake Fluid etc.) and an overall suspension check before and after every off road trip.
As far as fluid services, we recommend service intervals that go along with your factory owners manual, unless your fluids show indication of contamination or extreme heat breakdown. Worn out oil can cause damage to your vehicles bearings and other components by not providing proper lubrication.
Below are some further examples of inspections and services we perform here at the shop. Again, these are recommended pre and post checks before you hit the trail.
One of the first things we will check for are fluid leaks. We see all sorts of different off road vehicles here at the shop and some leaks are more critical than others. For example, on an older off road rig, a small oil leak is less threatening than a coolant or transmission fluid leak. We will always make you aware of all the fluid leaks, but we also understand that you may be ok with a small oil drip on some rigs.
The main component on your vehicle, the heart that makes it move. You should pay close attention to your engine oil, it is easy to check and keeping it fresh can save you a lot of money and future headaches.
Your front differential only gets to work when your 4 wheel drive is engaged (Unless you have a full-time 4WD vehicle, this will be engaged all the time). We see the front and rear differentials contaminated by water often. Water in your gear oil with cause it to be a milky/white color.
TRANSMISSION & TRANSFER CASE
The transmission connects the engine to the drive train. This component can take a lot of wear, especially if you have oversized tires. Keeping fresh fluid in it can help you avoid transmission problems, which can get pricey, fast. On the other hand, the Transfer-Case connects the transmission to both the front and rear wheel drive of the vehicle. Between the two of them, they are in charge to transfer the engine’s power to the wheels.
U-JOINTS & DRIVE SHAFTS
A broken U-Joint can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere or even worse, cause an accident. Inspecting your U-Joints and greasing them often is a must (some U-Joints come as a sealed unit and can’t get greased). We will check the torque on your driveshaft bolts and feel for excessive play on both the output shafts and the pinion flanges.
Your Rear Differential gets a lot more use than the front, since it is the vehicle’s main drive. This Fluid may need to get replaced more often than the front and we always look for metal debris when draining the old fluid out of it.
BRAKES (LINES, ROTORS & PADS)
Your braking system is one of the most important components on your vehicle, it allows you to stop safely and it is must for safe 4X4 driving, your life can depend on it.
Old age, heat and sun deterioration, as well as things like contaminants on the road can corrode your brake lines and cause them to crack. Once we see cracking brake lines, we recommend an upgrade to stainless steel brake lines.
Rotors and Pads on the other hand can become “glazed” and lose stopping power when they become over heated. If you have oversized tires on your rig, it will require more braking force to stop and it may be a good idea to look into a “Big Brake Kit”.
Overall, It is important that you listen to your vehicle, most times it will tell you when there is something wrong.
Summit 4X4 Company can help with all your vehicles service requirements. We perform routine maintenance and pre/post trip inspections. It is time and money well spent. Give us a call (928-227-2026) at the shop to schedule an appointment.