Vehicle Servicing

G’day, Chris here again.

I get asked often about vehicle maintenance and servicing, a lot in fact. It is obviously an important topic, and has even been in the news of late regarding information dissemination. So I thought I’d just touch on a few elements without getting too deep.

First up, well of course servicing and maintain your vehicle is important. It keeps it in ideal condition, especially when travelling our vast outback. I think we can all agree with that.

New vehicles have a set service program attached to the warranty, but is it enough?


We have watched some schedules stretch out to 15,000kms and more, and on diesels that is frightening. Of course manufacturers talk about the modern technology etc not requiring more frequent service points, and I say bul……., ummm, No!! The technology is from the injectors upwards, the basic spinning mass of metal below them is much the same as it was 100 years ago, metal working against metal at 2000rpm.



Modern service schedules are a result of economics, not longevity. For a manufacturer being compared against other makes, having a lower ‘Cost of Ownership’ against their competitors is important especially in fleet circles, and stretching out service costs impacts on this. So their calculations get them from ‘purchase date’ to ‘warranty expiry date’ at minimal cost. After that you’re on your own or trade it in.

We recommend people continue to do an interim service, such as every 5,000kms on diesels. This not only keeps fluids fresh and clean, but gives you a chance to check out all the other crucial components before they give you grief. Can your local friendly mechanic or 4WD store do this and retain warranty? Yes they can.

Another hot political topic but one the ACCC has covered in writing. As long as the service is done in a workmanship-like manner – a qualified mechanic, using parts as specified by the manufacturer and to their standard, warranty cannot be voided. That’s the law.

Any dealer tells you otherwise is treading on thin ice, and if they suggest voiding your warranty ask for it in writing. They won’t.

This isn’t to suggest you can do what you like with regards to what you use. Guessing what oil to use and potentially using a non-compliant type is asking for trouble. Just because it says 15W40 on the bottle doesn’t mean its been approved by the manufacturer. So it is important to know what you’re doing and if in doubt, get in and see your local professional mechanical outlet.

It does pay to invest in their experience, knowledge, and duty of care/responsibility.



Lastly, get to know your vehicle and carry basic tools and spares on big trips. Lift the bonnet regularly and check for loose parts, or fluid that shouldn’t be there, and listen for noises. Knowing your vehicle’s ‘normal’ mode will help you get through our vast lands safely, and to be ignorant of basic operation is flaunting with the safety of others. You have to remember it’s all just metal and plastic and things wear and break without warning. Our recent Simpson Desert trip had a wee little wire inside my UHF break off the speaker from vibrations, simply an unexpected issue. A few tools and soldering had it working again in the space of minutes.

So don’t risk your vehicle’s condition, longevity, or your safety by ignoring basic service requirements and understanding. Know your vehicle like your life depends on it, because it does.

 See you Outback. Chris

FNB-web-logoChris Blakemore is owner of FNB4WD, Mount Barker Sth Australia

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