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FREE 4x4 Maintenance Checklist To Avoid Breakdowns

April 26, 2020 3 min read

On a multi-day 4x4 road trip, things can go wrong. Performing some simple daily checks can help you catch potential problems and avoid breakdowns. But what are the key things to look out for when checking your 4x4? Our expert Marc has put together a 4x4 Maintenance Checklist below to help. 

To carry out these 4x4 maintenance checks, you’ll need to have a reasonable level of mechanical competence, or at least an understanding of each component on your vehicle. If you aren’t quite there yet, you should have somebody in your convoy with a solid understanding of mechanics. Rope them in with the promise of a beverage or a hot lunch – and we’re sure they will be more than happy to go through the 4x4 maintenance checklist with you. Check out our video below as Marc walks you through what’s what. Then, download your free pdf copy of the 4x4 maintenance checklist at the bottom of this post.

A Run Through of the 4x4 Maintenance Checklist

If you need a good road trip checklist routine, this video will help give you a solid start.

Avoid Breakdowns With This Road Trip Checklist

Inside Vehicle Checks

  • First aid kit and fire extinguisher. Are they present and where they belong? Make sure your fire extinguisher is fastened down and ready to use. 
  • Perform a light check. Headlights, spotlights, indicators, brake lights and work lights/reverse lights. It’s much easier to fix any problems now than in the dark. 
  • UHF radio. Perform a radio check before anyone in your convoy leaves. 

Body & Accessories Checks

  • Check your Rhinohide panels. Ensure none of them have moved, then check the magnets and clean away any accumulated dirt. 
  • Check your roof cargo. Make sure it’s all tied down firmly. Give the roof racks a good shake for any loose mountings too. 
  • Fuel and water jerry cans or tanks. Make sure they are secured and free of leaks. If you’ve opened breathers on your water, close them up now. 
  • Go around the outside and give everything a good jiggle. Bullbar, rear bar, spotlights, aerials, spare wheel. Tighten up anything which is loose. 
  • Check for chips in any of your glass. If you carry a $20 repair kit, you can repair most of these in 10 minutes and prevent them spreading.

Wheel & Tyre Checks

  • Check your pressures. Tyre pressures vary with temperature, so they may be too low for your liking. And of course, it may reveal a puncture. 
  • Look for visible tyre damage like rips, or any objects that have punctured the tyre. 
  • Rims can take a beating off-road, so look for cracked or dented rims. If they’re alloy there’s not much to be done, but steel can be beaten into reasonable shape with a hammer. 
  • Finally, look for oil leaks around the axle or hub which could indicate bearing trouble. 

Underneath 4x4 Maintenance Checks 

  • Work your way from end to end looking for loose nuts or bolts. If the underneath is filthy, some loose parts will have worn a clean patch from moving around 
  • Check shock absorbers, diffs, gearbox, transfer case and engine areas for leaks. If there is evidence of a leak, check the fluid level of that component 
  • Check shock absorber mounts, springs, and spring mounts for cracks 
  • Remove any grass or mud buildups which may affect your brakes, exhaust, or other moving parts 
  • Have a close look at the condition of bushes as you go. If one looks questionable, have a friend rock the vehicle side to side while you look for unusual movement 

Engine Bay Checks

  • Begin with a check of all fluid levels. Brakes, Engine oil, Transmission, power steering, coolant – and top up where required 
  • Check main and second batteries for loose terminals, leaks, and ensure they are held in place firmly 
  • Pop the lid off the airbox and check the seal, bash out or clean the air filter if it’s looking clogged 
  • Give the fan or serpentine belts a poke to check for tension 
  • Finally, just run an eye over everything looking for signs of loose or cracked intake hoses, loose bolts, suspect coolant hoses and general wear and tear.

For a free pdf download version of this 4x4 Maintenance Checklist, click here.