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4×4 winter maintenance tips to keep you running on and off-road

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January 12, 2021
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You probably use a four-wheel drive vehicle because of the incredible all-season, all-terrain performance, but to maintain that performance you will need to carry out a number of important 4×4 winter maintenance jobs. 

The team at Adrian Flux have swapped their office-wear for overalls in the workshop to reveal the important 4×4 winter maintenance jobs that will keep you on the road, or off it if that is what you prefer!

4x4 winter maintenance

4×4 winter maintenance

Regular winter maintenance

Many of the 4×4 winter maintenance checks that you will need to perform will be the same as in your regular day car.

These include:

  • Checking your battery, cleaning and tightening terminals and checking it is fully recharging. A failing or faulty battery is still the No1 cause of breakdown and failure to start each winter in Britain. You may have had the good sense to take out breakdown insurance, but better not to be delayed in the first place and check your battery regularly. 
  • Check your tyre pressure and tread depth as part of your 4×4 winter maintenance. Having the correct pressure and depth will ensure you get maximum contact with whatever road surface you choose to be driving on, in all weather conditions. This will give you the best grip, braking capability, handling and fuel economy. Tyres lose pressure in the cold so you may need to top up regularly in extremely cold spells.
  • Check your wiper blades to maintain clear visibility in all driving conditions. Your wiper blades should be smooth and free of gouges, splits and cracks. If your wipers are noisy and “drag” across the windscreen or miss areas of glass or leave smears they should be replaced. In very cold spells consider using an anti-fog treatment on the interior windscreen surface.
  • Check your spark plugs as part of your 4×4 winter maintenance and change them if necessary. This will increase your vehicle’s overall reliability and performance. Efficient spark plugs are essential in ensuring overall engine performance — they get you going, and then keep you going if they are in good order. Without a reliable spark your vehicle will be harder to start and poorly maintained plugs may result in the engine stalling or misfiring, loss of power and poor fuel economy.
  • Check your ignition leads for cracking, splitting and oiling up as part of your 4×4 winter maintenance. Ignition leads carry electrical power from the ignition system to each individual spark plug. A failing lead can manifest similar symptoms to a failing spark plug so it’s important to diagnose problems early.

Other 4×4 winter maintenance jobs

4x4 winter maintenance

What lies beneath

Check for leaks, driveshaft issues, CV joint and axle wear, or issues with the differentials as part of your 4×4 winter maintenance. 

You can inspect the undercarriage using a car creeper but it’s far quicker and easier to get it up on the hydraulic lift at a garage. A mechanic can quickly spot and address problems or give your ride’s powertrain a clean bill of health.

Lend an ear

When undertaking 4×4 winter maintenance take  your vehicle out for a run and listen out for any unusual sounds or sensations when engaging gear, accelerating or braking. There should be no clunks or bumps and all you should hear is regular engine noise and the occasional splatter of mud as you slalom across the countryside. 

If you’ve experienced any slamming sensations, strange vibrations or unusual noises, now’s the time to have the system checked.

Don’t be a dipstick, check your fluids

As part of your 4×4 winter maintenance you should check all your vehicle’s oil and fluid levels — that’s engine, gearbox, brake and steering servos, rads and washers — to ensure your vehicle operates at its peak. This will also prolong component life and improve fuel economy. 

Does it compute?

If you are undertaking 4×4 winter maintenance on a more contemporary vehicle, a quick scan by a technician can address issues with the computer and sensors that control and regulate your ride, its engine and its transmission. 

Not all electronic issues will illuminate the “Check Engine” light, so it is well worth being proactive and looking for and addressing minor issues before they become serious problems. 

4x4 winter maintenance

Whether you are undertaking your 4×4 winter maintenance to prepare you for the arduous school and supermarket shopping run, for green laning through the shires or off-roading in the hills, the insurance experts at Adrian Flux will have an affordable peace of mind policy for you.

Adrian Flux is a broker with access to a wide range of insurance providers meaning we can usually find you a bespoke policy that will match your very individual needs. The best deals are usually available over the phone — 81.5% of all customers receiving an online quote in August 2022 could have obtained a cheaper quote over the phone, based on the information they provided. Call 0800 141 2794 for your quote today. 

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