The AE-Co 4×4 Pre-Holiday Checklist is a comprehensive guide to ensuring your 4×4 is in tip top shape before heading on your next adventure!

Ensuring that your vehicle is in good condition is basically the most important thing you should do before heading away on your next adventure whether its crossing the Nullabor or just heading to the beach for a quick getaway. Your rig should be in physically good condition, serviced regularly and thoroughly checked before you leave, and it also doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on everything throughout your trip – no one likes breaking down on arrival!

If you’re heading on a longer, more rigorous trip, you should absolutely consider bringing your vehicle into a specialised 4×4 mechanic before leaving. Give them a run down on what you’re expecting to be doing with the car so they can ensure it is ready to tackle it all. At AE-CO we are more than happy to check over your rig without breaking the bank to ensure you get to your destination – and home – safely.

Check out our comprehensive guide below of some areas to check before, during and after your trip.

Engine Oil

  • Make sure your vehicle has had regular oil changes in the past and has the right amount of oil in it now. It’s also good to keep an eye on oil consumption in the time leading up to your trip, have you noticed your 4×4 has been using oil? It might be best to get your local 4×4 specialist to take a look!
  • Most importantly, make sure you are using the correct oil. Check your manufacturers guidelines and service recommendations, as using the wrong oil can be detrimental to both your engine and wallet!
  • Always pack some spare oil with you just in case you need it.
  • It can be a good idea to degrease your engine and engine bay top and bottom a few weeks before you go away. A clean engine will make it easier to spot any oil leaks that may need some attention. Most DIY car washes have a degreasing wash bay you can use.

Check Your Coolant

  • Does your radiator have the correct amount and type of coolant in it?
  • If your 4×4 has a history of getting a bit warm or you are constantly topping it up with fluid, it would be the best idea to get your cooling system checked before you leave.
  • Proper engine coolant is much more efficient than water with a lower freezing point and higher boiling point.
  • Water is ok if you’re desperate but try to keep your vehicle full of the correct ratio of water to coolant.
  • Most good 4×4 specialists should have a cooling system pressure test kit to test for leaks.

Check Your Radiator Hoses and Belts

  • Thoroughly check your radiator hoses for cracks and signs of fatigue.
  • Ensure the hose clamps are tight and there are no leaks.
  • Check the fan, alternator, A/C and any other belts your vehicle may use should be inspected for cracks, fraying at the edges and any signs of fatigue.
  • It is also worth checking the tension of the belts.
  • Is the vehicle making a high pitched squeal when started from cold? This is an indication your belts need tightening or replacing and should be inspected by your local mechanic.
  • We would always recommend that you carry a spare set of belts and hoses for your 4×4 when heading into remote areas. It’s not worth the risk of ruining your holiday if you have to wait in a remote location for parts to be shipped in!

Check the lights

  • Make sure all your lights are working correctly including indicators, head lights, fog lights, tail lights and brake lights.
  • Don’t forget to check your trailer lights if you’re towing!

Check the Fuses

  • Check the fuse box to make sure your fuses are free from corrosion, you don’t want to find out the hard way when things stop working!
  • It’s always a good idea to carry a range of fuses specific for your 4×4.

Check the Battery

  • Your battery should be clean and in good condition, starting your vehicle each day with no trouble.
  • Check for corrosion on the terminals.
  • Have your battery tested and checked by a professional before heading away if you are experiencing the above issues or the vehicle has been hard to start.
  • A mechanic will also be able to test your alternator to make sure it is working efficiently.

Check Tyres

  • Are the tyres on your 4×4 the right kind for the adventure you’ll be undertaking? It’s worth considering upgrading stock tyres to all terrains or mud tyres if you haven’t already. A tyre specialist or your 4×4 mechanic will be able to help you make the right selection of tyre for your use.
  • Not only should your tyres be in good condition with good tread but they need to be inflated at the right pressure.
  • Tyre pressures may vary depending on where you are going so it’s a good idea to check your tyres daily.
  • Check your tyres daily for any punctures that may be embedded or any damage the tyres may have sustained from heavy off-road use during your adventure – you don’t want to be stuck on a narrow, slippery track trying to change your tyre!

Stick To Your GVM!

  • Most importantly, do not exceed the GVM for your 4×4. It can be extremely dangerous to travel overloaded, it is also illegal and can result in some heavy fines.
  • Consider the weight on your roof racks as they will have a weight rating too.
  • Over loaded vehicles and trailers that are top heavy can be very dangerous and difficult to control so make sure you pack carefully and spread the load evenly throughout the car.

Keep Tools Handy

  • Always carry a set of good quality tools and recovery gear for your 4×4.

Don’t be afraid to have a chat with your local 4×4 specialist if you’re not sure about the condition of your 4×4, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Most importantly, have the best time on your holiday!

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