Is it really that important to inspect your vehicle each day? We think it is… especially if you’re off-road on a 4WD trip or camping.
Let’s make this a simple equation:
5-minute inspection = 5 minutes of your entire day – that’s all
“Save” 5 minutes now, and risk major delays and costs in the future
Furthermore, a quick inspection shouldn’t take you as long as 5 minutes, yet it has the potential to save you a lot of headaches, time and money. We cannot stress enough the importance of daily vehicle inspections to give you peace of mind. This is one of the most underestimated 4WD tips in the book.
Clearly, not all breakdowns will be detected by a daily inspection, however, there are some avoidable issues that can be debilitating to your travels. So why not take a few minutes to ensure there are no lurking gremlins waiting to manifest themselves into a costly, and potentially dangerous problem off-road?
1. The Inspection
Let’s have a look at some of the basic things that could go wrong, but with a small amount of time and the effort, a simple daily inspection may save your bacon and allow you, and your precious cargo (we mean your family or mates), to continue on your camping trip:
· Engine breakdown due to oil loss or overheating
· Check oil and water/coolant levels
· Check around the engine and engine bay for leaks
· Check hoses for breakages and clamps are tight
· Check fan belts are intact and at the right tension
· Check the fan is entire and no damage to inside or radiator
· Other mechanical failures due to fluid loss
· Check all levels such as brake fluid, power steering fluid, automatic transmission fluid and any others your vehicle may have
· Tyre rupture due to damage or wear
· Inspect your tyres (especially sidewalls) and check pressure
· Drivetrain failure due to object incursion (such as wire picked up from a track) or wear
· Inspect universal joints and main hardware such as differentials
· Wheel hub failure due to excessive jarring or wear
· Wobble each wheel to check for too much play
· Suspension Failure due to damage or wear
· Inspect suspension parts for damage or lost items
If you’re a visual learner like me, there are a number of YouTube channels that have a lot of 4WD tips, as well as detailed inspection and safety information such as OffroadAdventureShow and 4X4 Australia.
2. Still Not Convinced?
Still not convinced of the importance of daily vehicle checks on your trusty 4WD?
If the risk of expensive repairs and delays aren’t enough to make you sacrifice that little bit of time, consider your safety and those of your in-car guests and others on the road. A tyre blowout at high speed that could have been avoided with a 5-minute inspection is not fun and potentially dangerous, especially if you’re off-road on a serious camping trip.
Seriously, the list of items above will literally take 5 minutes or less and will uncover most avoidable problems where breakages, damage or significant wear are a causal factor. And, you don’t have to be a 4WD expert or mechanic to do this.
We do suggest getting to know your 4WD by doing these inspections a number of times before you travel and if you’re unsure, get a mate or your mechanic to give you a rundown of what to look for.
As always, we want your ideas and thoughts so that we can all safely enjoy our 4WD adventures, so, please leave your advice on what to check as part of your quick daily inspection on tour.