4WD Major Repairs & Services

4WD Repairs: Keep your off-road adventure on track

If you own a 4WD, you already probably know that a regular service maintenance is important to ensure that your vehicle is in its best condition. Manufacturers typically recommend that 4WDs must be serviced at least every 10,000 kms or once every 12 months. Repairs must be done as frequently as needed.


The following 4WD major repairs and services are what you should remember and prioritise:

Replacement of Engine Oil & Oil Filter

Most car manufacturers recommend that your oil must be changed at least every 5,000 kms to 10,000 kms or every 6 months, whichever comes first. Oil filters are ideally replaced every other time you have your oil changed. Other manufacturers, however, advise that you replace your oil filter every oil change.

Replacement of Air Filter & Fuel Filter

Air filters prevent harmful debris, contaminants, and dirt from entering your engine. They are typically replaced every 15,000 kms to 75,000 kms. Fuel filters prevent dirt and rust particles to get to the fuel. They are replaced every 20,000 kms to 150,000 kms. It’s best to always refer to the owner’s manual to see the recommended schedule of your manufacturer.

Replacement of Spark Plugs

Manufacturers usually recommend to replace the spark plugs between 30,000 kms to 100,000 kms. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, your spark plugs may be failing and in need of replacement:

  • Rough and jittery sounds from the engine with more unusual vibrations through the car
  • Difficulty starting the car
  • One or more cylinders aren’t firing properly, causing the vehicle to halt for a fraction of a second before it goes on as usual
  • Unusually high fuel consumption
  • The vehicle is accelerating poorly
  • The engine surges, causing the vehicle to jerk and slow down or suddenly stop
Replacement of Cabin Air Filter if Required

Cabin air filter is ideally replaced every 15,000 to 30,000 kms, or once a year. Dirty cabin air filter can cause the engine to work harder. This results in high fuel consumption, higher emissions, and loss of engine power. It can also cause failure of the air conditioning system and weak air flow from the cabin vents.

Car undergoing maintenance on its engine in a workshop
Check & Top-up of All Fluids

There are eight important kinds of fluids that must be checked regularly and maintained properly to keep your vehicle running smoothly:

  • Coolant – This is used to regulate the temperature of your vehicle. This is usually in a clear overflow plastic container near the radiator and must not be below the minimum line.
  • Engine oil – This is a lubricant used in internal combustion engine that powers your 4WD. You can check if your vehicle is low on oil using a dipstick, and add more oil  following the manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual.
  • Transmission fluid – This lubricates the components of your 4WD’s transmission to promote optimum performance. You can use a dipstick to check if your vehicle has enough transmission fluid, and fill it when needed.
  • Brake fluid – This is used to transfer force into pressure and is responsible for moving the components of your vehicle’s braking system. It is usually located in a  clear container marked with minimum and maximum lines.
  • Power steering fluid – It is a hydraulic fluid that provides power in power steering. It is in a small tank is located near the firewall at the base of the windshield.
  • Radiator fluid –  This refers to the antifreeze coolant used to help cool the vehicle’s engine. An adequate amounts of the correct type of radiator fluid keeps the engine cooler.
  • Battery fluid – The lead acid battery is made up of plates, lead and lead oxide with a 35% sulfuric acid and 65% water solution. This is called electrolyte which produces electrons.
  • Windscreen washer fluid – This is used for cleaning the windshield with the windshield wiper while driving the vehicle. It’s recommended to keep your windscreen washer fluid full all the time.
Car mechanic servicing a vehicle engine in a workshop.
Check & Top-up Tyre Pressure

Regular checking and maintenance of your tyre pressure is important if you want your vehicle to run its best. You need an accurate tyre pressure gauge to be able to check your tyre pressure, including that of your spare tyre. The recommended tyre pressure is specified in your owner’s manual. Check your tyre pressure before you go on for a long drive, or once every 2 to 4 months.

Check, Clean, and Adjust Front & Rear Brakes

A typical braking system has disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. Brake adjustments must be done as necessary while you have both front and rear brakes checked and cleaned. Brakes must be serviced and maintained at least once a year.

Check Clutch System

A clutch connects the engine to the wheels and works to engage and disengage the power transmission. Generally, a clutch system that is properly cared for can last between 80,000 kms to 280,000 kms. You need to have your clutch system maintained once every 2 years.

Adjust Handbrake When Required

A handbrake is used to keep the vehicle stationary and to perform an emergency brake. This is a safety feature and needs to be kept in best condition. Handbrakes need to be adjusted when they become too stiff or too loose. This can be done during a minor or major service maintenance.

Car mechanic in a workshop diagnosing a vehicle with the engine compartment exposed
Lube All Doors

Car door hinges and latches can become rusted. You can lube your vehicle’s doors using a white lithium grease, motor oil, or silicone spray.

Check Steering & Suspension

Steering and suspension keeps your wheels firmly intact with the ground. They also keep your car from suddenly changing direction to one side of the road. Failure in your steering and suspension often caused your vehicle to shake or veer to one side. Regular check and maintenance, typically every 10,000 kms, is necessary to detect and remedy early signs of damage.

Car undergoing inspection in a workshop setting.
Check Exhaust System

A failing exhaust system can cause major damage to your vehicle. Few of the signs that your exhaust system is failing include the following:

  • Unusual vibration
  • Rumbling noise or rattling sound from the exhaust pipe and/or muffler
  • Decrease in fuel efficiency
  • Exhaust leak
  • Rotten smell

Normally, exhaust systems will last anywhere between 2 to 3 years. A regular check and maintenance of the exhaust system will help detect early issues and prevent further damage to occur.

Clear Service Warning Lights

A service warning light reminds you when it’s time to perform maintenance check for your vehicle. Don’t forget to clear and reset the service warning lights every time you had your maintenance done.

Car undergoing inspection in a workshop setting.
Carry Out Computer Diagnostic Scan

A computer diagnostic scan tells you about certain issues your vehicle may be experiencing, including ignition timing, vehicle engine, air and coolant temperature, fuel injector performance, and more. Carry out a computer diagnostic scan as frequently as needed, or every time you notice some problems with your vehicle that you cannot clearly identify.

Check Battery & Charging

Fully charged automotive batteries are ideally at 12.6 volts or above. A regular battery check is important to ensure that your vehicle is powered efficiently. This is often done together with both minor and major maintenance.

Check Electrical System

A regular electrical system check and maintenance ensures everything is working properly. Common issues with the electrical system include bad starter, damaged alternator, loose wires, short circuits, low battery charge and missing or blown fuse.

Minor & Major 4WD Servicing

Typically, the services mentioned above are included in both minor and major service for 4WD. Manufacturers recommend that you service your vehicle every 10,000 kms or once a year. Check your manufacturer’s logbook and follow the service schedules required by your manufacturer to keep your 4WD in its best running condition.

If you need further advice, or for a certified technician to assess your 4WD major service, call us on (07) 3269 3158 or reach out to us. We are located 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017. Feel free to visit us at any time.