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Tech & Tools Maintaining Your Offroad Vehicle – with 30Pack Matt
M: Today we are going to talk about properly maintaining your offroad vehicle, and the differences to keep in mind from a normal street vehicle.
C: Ok, this will be interesting.
M: Here in Arizona we have a lot of problems with people neglecting things like bearings, bearing grease, and diff fluid.
C: Which I don’t think that is only in Arizona. (laughs)
M: Well in a wetter climate you might be more inclined to routinely check your bearings, and make sure that the grease is still in there.
M: Here we might drive through water and fill the hubs up with water, but we don’t really consider it a wet environment. So you go along thinking that the grease in there is still good, and a year and a half goes by and your wheel falls off on the way to the trail!
It’s an important thing to remember. If you drive through a lot of water, or even if you are stopped in a puddle and your wheel is underwater there could be water seeping into those seals. They aren’t the greatest seals in the world when it comes to keeping every little bit of water out. So once a year, pull everything apart and grease your bearings.
Then there are diff covers. No one seems to mind a leaky diff cover, but it’s when it stops leaking that there can be a big problem. Ring and pinions and bearings won’t last very long in there without oil. They also won’t last very long if water gets in there.
C: What’s a typical time frame for doing your ring and pinions and an oil check?
M: You should check the oil once a year. Make it a routine to pull the plugs and check that the oil is still in there. At the same time you can grease your hub bearings. If you change your ring and pinion and you service it 500 miles after they break in then you should be good on that front for a long time. It may just leak out before you service it. With aftermarket ring and pinions they are spinning so much faster so usually 15-20 thousand miles is a good time to service it. You’ll definitely want to do it more often than the normal factory recommended service.
C: What would be another service that needs to be done more than the factory recommendation due to offroading?
M: Automatic transmissions are under a big load because you’re not moving fast even though the engine is running and you are always in gear. The engine isn’t getting the cool air running over it from moving. The engine well gets hotter because you’re working the engine but it’s not getting any time to cool off and breathe, especially in the summer time. Just keep that in mind. If you imagine what 3 thousand miles on your engine oil is just driving down the highway vs what a week of wheeling in Moab is, you realize that there is quite a bit more wear and tear. Changing your engine oil after frequent use like that is always a good idea.
M: Especially when you consider that you might be firing it up to wheel and you reach an obstacle and it gets to sit and cool, but then you’re firing it right back up and pushing it hard to make it up the obstacle. It’s getting a little bit more load than just a normal, highway driving vehicle.
C: That’s an interesting fact, because at that point your vehicle isn’t considered warm so you’re putting a lot of load on all of the components.
M: Keep everything greased. Driveshafts are super important.