6 Things You May Not Know About Your 4WD


There’s many advantages in owning a 4WD as opposed to a 2WD. Not only can you visit some of Australia’s most stunning and isolated locations, but you have added safety features such as better traction and control in hazardous conditions. Regardless of whether you’re a novice or you’ve got years of experience under your belt, there are many aspects to 4WDing and there’s often many things we don’t know about our vehicle. As we’re always in a constant state of learning, today we’ll be offering you 6 things you may not know about your 4WD.

Modifications may not be legal

Shopping for new 4WD products and accessories that will bolster the performance of your 4×4 is unquestionably fulfilling and enjoyable! Even though installing a quality, heavy-duty suspension kit for next weekend’s 4WD park is terrific, it may not be legal. The implications of having illegal modifications on your 4×4 can be serious. In the event you have an accident, you can be accountable and your insurer isn’t obligated to cover you.

Speedometers are often incorrect

When purchasing a new 4WD, everybody just presumes the speedometer, odometer, and trip metre are precise. The reality is, a brand new speedometer can be out by as much as 10% when traveling at high speeds. Coasting down the highway at 100kph when you’re essentially travelling at 110kph can be infuriating when get pulled over! In most cases, installing larger tyres is the reason why speedometers are generally inaccurate, and this also affects the odometer as well given that they use the same sensor. The best way to check the accuracy of your speedometer is by getting a GPS and logging 100km then comparing the two readings.

What’s your vehicles payload?

Your 4WD’s payload is basically how much weight your 4WD is legally allowed to carry, including passengers and modifications. On the weekends, I commonly see 4WD’s packed to the brim with gear and equipment that are undoubtedly going over their manufacturer’s payload and putting themselves and others in danger. If you have an accident, your insurance cover is null and if the police decide to weigh your 4×4, some substantial fines are typically involved. Exceeding the payload puts unwanted strain on your vehicle so if you don’t know what your payload is, simply visit Redbook and have a look at your vehicle’s specifications.

Factory hooks aren’t rated for recovery

It’s almost a rite of passage for 4WD owners to get bogged on sand or mud, but you have to be very mindful not to hurt any person during the recovery process. When using a winch or snatch strap, never use the factory ‘hooks’ that come with your vehicle since they aren’t rated for recovery. There is a tremendous amount of stress put on the components of your vehicle when recovering, and only rated recovery points properly mounted to your vehicle’s chassis should be used. The same goes for your tow bar – although it may seem stable enough, it is fairly weak and can become a high-speed lethal projectile if your try to recover from it.

Your 4WDs wading depth is usually lower than you expect

If you’re doubtful of what your 4WDs wading depth is, now is a great time to look at your vehicle’s manual! It’s essentially the depth of water that you can safely drive across without permanently damaging your vehicle. Most modern 4WD’s have a wading depth of between 400mm and 800mm, so hitting even a small water crossing at speed can do some major electrical or mechanical damage to your 4×4. The only way to boost your vehicles wading depth is by mounting a snorkel.

Roof racks are frequently overloaded

Although lots of people are aware that the roof of their 4WD has a weight limit, a surprising number don’t know what it is. Most modern 4WD’s have a roof loading capacity of only 100kg with some manufactures increasing this to 150kgs. This basically makes most full length steel roof racks unusable as they can weigh upwards of 65kg. The dangers of overloading your roof are twofold – on one hand you raise your 4x4s centre of gravity and on the other, hitting a bump while driving can cause substantial damage.

While there’s likely more things you don’t know about your 4WD, the above list a great starting point as you continually increase your knowledge of your vehicle. The most important points that everyone should be aware of relate to safety, and if you don’t comply with your manufacturer’s specifications, you can end up in hot water.

If you’re searching for any 4WD products or accessories to make your next 4×4 trip more enjoyable, get in touch with the professionals at TJM Australia who stock a large range of 4WD and camping accessories. For more details, phone their friendly staff on 07 3865 9999.


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