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20 February 2024, 14:33

How to Properly Care for Your 4WD Vehicle

How to Properly Care for Your 4WD Vehicle

New Zealand has a vibrant off-roading culture. With a natural topography reminiscent of  J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, the country has some of the most exciting and challenging trails that attract off-roaders from all over the world. It’s no wonder, therefore, that many adventurous Kiwis own recreational four-wheel drivess that are souped up and ready to take on rock trails and mud bogs.

As your trusty companion throughout your outdoor adventures, your four-wheel drive is more than just a vehicle—it’s your ticket to adventure, freedom, and unforgettable experiences. As such, it needs a bit more care and attention compared to your daily driver. After all, all those adventures can take its toll on your beloved four-wheel drive over time. 

To keep your 4WD in tip-top shape, here’s an easy-to-follow care guide:

Inspect Your 4WD Regularly

To prevent small issues from escalating and becoming costly headaches, conduct a thorough inspection of your four-wheel drive vehicle regularly. Make it a habit to check essential components such as the brakes, suspension, steering, and drivetrain for any signs of wear, damage, or leaks. Even a simple visual inspection can go a long way in ensuring the safety and reliability of your four-wheel drive. It’s especially important to check on your four-wheel drive before and right after off-roading.

Use High-Quality Automotive Replacement Parts

After inspecting your vehicle, if you find parts that are defective and need replacing, don’t immediately choose the more affordable option. While this can save you some money in the beginning, using cheap parts may actually put a larger dent in your budget over time. This is because a four-wheel drive vehicle gets a lot of abuse, which means parts often get worn down much faster.

Simply put, if you opt for cheaply made components, you’ll be spending a lot more because you’ll be changing parts more frequently. On the other hand, going for more durable parts might cost you more initially, but you’ll be more confident that they hold up for much longer.

For peace of mind, source your replacements from a reliable auto parts supplier in New Zealand. In doing so, you know you are dealing with a legitimate business that offers used genuine OEM replacements and new auto parts from reputable manufacturers.

Check Fluids and Filters

Just like any other vehicle, or perhaps even more so, you need to keep up with the maintenance of your four-wheel drive’s engine’s fluids, such as the oils, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and coolant, among others. Over the course of using your four-wheel drive, there’s a tendency for these fluids to get dirty; leaks and spills can also lead to lower fluid levels than recommended. This can be dangerous to various parts, like the differential gears, and could lead to costly repairs.

Aside from the fluids, you also need to regularly check and replace or clean your four-wheel drive’ss different filters like the ones in the cold air intake and cabin air conditioner. If you fail to replace or clean your four-wheel drive’s filters needed, you’ll notice a significant drop in efficiency and performance.

Take Care of Corrosion Right Away

New Zealand's coastal environment and off-road terrain can cause the accelerated formation of rust and corrosion on your four-wheel drive’s automotive parts. With regular inspections, you can spot these issues right away and address them before they get worse.

There are several ways to deal with rust, such as using steel wool, vinegar, and baking soda. After removing the rust, you can apply anti-corrosion spray to vulnerable areas and prevent corrosion from spreading.

Clean Your Undercarriage

Another way to prevent rust and corrosion from happening in the first place is to be diligent about cleaning your four-wheel drive after every adventure. For a quick but effective solution, you can simply hose down the vehicle undercarriage to remove all the dirt, mud, and debris that accumulated underneath. 

If you have a pressure washer, it would make short work of all the caked mud and dirt on your vehicle, as well as the salt deposits that can eat away at the metal.

Grease Your Suspension Fittings

One of the most important things about a four-wheel drive is its lifted suspension system. Ensure that it’s in tip-top shape by greasing the fittings like the shocks, bushings, and joints. This will help your off-roader four-wheel drive remain agile, ready to get you through the most challenging trails.

Follow your manufacturer's recommendations for greasing intervals and use high-quality lubricants to ensure your four-wheel drive’soptimal performance.

Inspect and Rotate Your Tyres

Driving on backcountry roads with sharp rocky terrain can wear out your four-wheel drive’s tyres easily. That’s why you must check them regularly. Look for uneven wear, which can indicate problems in your wheel alignment and tyre pressure. It’s also a sign that you need to rotate your tyres. 

Buying a fresh set of tyres can be an expensive maintenance expense, so it’s only logical to want to make the most out of your tyres. That said, make sure to focus on your safety. No amount of rotation can make worn tyres good again, but you can extend their lifespan by following appropriate tyre rotation techniques.


Caring for your four-wheel drive vehicle in New Zealand is about more than just keeping it clean; it's about preserving its performance, reliability, and longevity so that you can continue to unlock new adventures and create lasting memories. Following these care tips ensures that your four-wheel drive is always ready to take on whatever the Kiwi wilderness throws its way.

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