8 Must Know Modifications For Real 4x4s

If you want to customise your regular 4-wheel drive (4WD) for outback travels, your vehicle should undergo certain 4×4 modifications and upgrades. However, modifying a 4×4 is a bit challenging and should not be taken lightly. After all, the vehicle will be re-engineered so it can be used for purposes aside from what it was originally intended for.

When it comes to modifying a 4WD, it’s essential to figure out exactly what you need before changing any component. One small change can affect other aspects of the vehicle, so it’s best to do 4×4 modifications as a whole project rather than one component at a time.

Here are the eight basic types of 4×4 modifications to upgrade your 4WD:

1. Tyres

The standard tyres of most 4WDs are not specifically designed for outback travels and will most likely fail during a steep and heavy drive. Your new tyres should be robust enough to manage rough roads and long trips. Tyres with light truck construction is recommended rather than those with the usual passenger construction. This is because light truck tyres have a stronger carcass and thicker sidewalls. They are particularly designed to carry heavy weights and handle higher pressures. Generally, light truck tyres are less prone to damage compared to passenger tyres.

Bigger tyres are usually preferred, as they can raise your 4WD higher. However, the size of the tyres depends on what fits the vehicle. The final gear (i.e. the last gear before the power moves to the wheels) may also require modification because the engine will rev less with a larger wheel diameter.

2. Long-Range Fuel Tanks

If you’re planning to travel to remote areas with your 4WD, you need to ensure that you have enough fuel. However, carrying extra fuel may be bothersome or risky. With this, upgrading to a long-range fuel tank is recommended. Long-range fuel tanks allow you to carry enough fuel for your long drive, and you can place the tank under your vehicle so no extra space is occupied.

3. Snorkel

You may encounter deep mud pits, sandy roads, and even flood water when travelling to remote areas. Adding a snorkel will help prevent mud, sand, dust, and water from entering the 4WD’s engine, as long as the level doesn’t exceed the height of the snorkel. You can also add a special sock to the top of a snorkel as a second air filter. This can prevent really fine dust particles from going inside the engine.

4. Bullbars

Adding a bullbar in your 4-wheel drive is important because it protects the front of your vehicle from animal attacks and other types of damage. Bullbars can also serve as a convenient location for aerials and lights. If you want to mount a winch on a bullbar, you’ll have to choose a winch-compatible bar instead of a standard bar. Furthermore, make sure that the bullbar is compatible with airbags.

5. Diff Lockers or Traction Aids

Diff lockers, or traction aids, help prevent damage to the driveline when travelling through rough roads and tough terrains. Driving on rough roads or uneven terrains can cause either/or both front and rear wheels to lift off the ground or lose traction. A fast spinning, lifted wheel that suddenly hits the ground can disable your car or cause certain components to break.


A diff locker locks the differentials (both axles and/or wheels), forcing them to rotate at the same rate and allowing the disabled vehicle to move forward. It’s essential to know the right time to switch the diff lockers on and off.

6. Satellite Phones for Communication

Outback travels are usually long, and remote areas may not have network signal for your mobile phone. If you want to communicate with your relatives or friends, or if you need to contact people in case of emergencies, then a satellite phone is the best solution. Make sure you fully charge your sat phone and keep it safely inside the vehicle to avoid damage in case of accidents.

7. Driving Lights

Remote areas are usually dark after sunset. Extra driving lights are essential especially if you expect to be driving during the night. The best driving lights are a combination of both wide and pencil beams. Lights that are vibration-resistant, waterproof, and have a mounting system that can be adjusted easily are the most recommended.

8. Spare Tyre Carriers

A spare tyre carrier is an important add-on to ensure that you can bring extra tyres during your long trip. This is especially necessary if you upgraded into bigger tyres as they won’t fit into rear-mounted spare tyre carrier. It is also useful if you have a long-range fuel tank as it would be difficult to place the spare tyres there.

Important Reminders When Doing 4×4 Modifications

Before you decide to do modifications and upgrades on your 4WD, make sure you consider the following:

  • First, you have to decide what you actually need based on the type of trips you plan to do, and the places you plan to go to.
  • Make sure you work out exactly what you want to modify in the vehicle as a whole, as each modification may affect other components.
  • Some modifications may need to be approved by an engineer, as this is required for insurance and legal purposes.
  • Check the rules about 4×4 modifications because not all types are allowed by the law. Secure licenses when necessary.
  • It’s best to get your accessories from one supplier and have the same 4WD professional do all 4×4 modifications. This is to ensure that the accessories and the modifications made are compatible and will effectively function together.

If you have more questions about 4×4 modifications, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our 4WD professionals at Sandgate Auto Electrics will be happy to assist you!

Call us today at (07) 3269 3158 or send a message. You may also visit our workshop at 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017 so we can give your vehicle a proper assessment.