This is a touchy topic depending on your outlook and financial circumstances. Dealer servicing is often the subject of 4x4 horror stories of unsuspecting gentle folk who have been charged hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for apparent routine servicing. Dealers have all the manufacturers knowledge of their product to fall back on and are properly equipped to meet servicing requirements for their particular vehicle.
Service costs from dealers are now more than realistic and as an example Oakleigh Nissan, Chrysler-Jeep, Renault ( if I've left anyone out I apologise ) performed a 30,000 km service on my vehicle and fitted and additional glass bottomed fuel filter for $587 which is bloody cheap and Peter Timmermann who is in charge of the mechanics is one of the most knowledgeable blokes I've run across and he is prepared to share his knowledge with philistines like me.
I have had extremely good service from Chris Dean and his lot at Berwick Nissan, Chrysler-Jeep ( again if I've left anyone out I apologise ). First rate service and on time delivery. In fact all up and own the east coast I can honestly say Nissan Service is faultless, polite, and on time which for those with long memories of the 60's, 70's and 80's is quite a surprise.
Harris Freer in Berwick do the routine maintenance on the Toyota and their service level is extremely high, they actually answer the questions of the ill informed and are pleasant about it. They are easily accessed and have my vehicle in and out without fuss and they are not that dear.
Dealers have the advantage of ready access to genuine parts which are required for warranty work. Range Rovers incur higher service costs than most other 4 x4's but I must remember that they are more complicated than other cars and although designed not to break minor problems must be addressed as soon as it becomes apparent
Not all owners use for dealers for servicing, believe it or not. I consider my mechanic not only to be the best I've ever run across but my friend, and remember I'm a petrol head When I presented him with the Patrol all proud and happy he told me to take it and *&#! right off. Grumpy then informed me that with all the upgrades, bolted on equipment and the fact he thought it ugly it was starting to strain the brain. After 4 years hard work he has now turned around to the extent I can park outside his garage and walk in. The Rangie changed all that he walks past me in the street with absolutely no sign of recognition.
Non Dealer service providers are usually specialists in more than type of vehicle and supplement their income by selling and fitting accessories. I Love these places you can actually talk to the mechanic, usually in the workshop, and like it or not learn the basics of the vehicle. These service providers work for the user end of the market and know what to look for in a vehicles at it's current mileage.
In Melbourne all my pre trip servicing on the Nissan was carried out by a firm who told me I was somewhat less than smart when I purchased the Range Rover. I no longer have confidence in this company or it's products. The Toyota goes to South Eastern 4x4 everybody who works in the joint knows all about 4x4's and I doubt very much someone is going to turn up with something. They also think those who buy Range Rovers should have their heads examined but unlike one other, former, servicing agent they don't come right out and tell you. If when your vehicle is being serviced or modified ask questions the more you know the better you will be with your fourbie. If you are not satisfied with the service you receive, tell them and then you have the option of going elsewhere in an extremely competitive market. If an organization is not doing the right thing tell all your mates and members of your Four Wheel Drive Club and you will be surprised how soon the word gets about.
I used Range Rov Automotive in Mitcham for the regular servicing of the Rangie and they pretty good in fact better they went that extra step to make sure everything was sweet..
On or off the Cape either way you will be close to a service, check out David Kayess at ARB Cairns, they are at 403 Mulgrave Road, Cairns and a full service just off the Cape cost far less than I thought and everything was done. It is hard to stand in a garage and talk to a mechanic in Cairns, there's other things to see. Remember all the places you want to see and go are in these blokes back yard and they will give you all the assistance you need, don't be frightened to ask. Tel: 4054 7799 Fax 4054 7755 Mobile 0409 341 768.
Daily checks of fluids and tyre pressures are easy to explain: no fluids and the vehicle begins to overheat, possibly unnoticed with the air conditioning running and all of of a sudden silence, total peace and quiet or the under inflated tyre has heated up sufficiently to build the pressure to go bang. When a tyre suddenly deflates it makes for interesting times getting the vehicle to a stop at least almost upright. A thorough check takes five minutes and there are no excuses.
After long period of driving on unmade roads check you air filter daily. Snorkels provide cleaner air but when the air filter becomes contaminated the vehicle cannot breathe properly and performance drops dramatically. Again I take this opportunity to advise that a snorkel does not make a 4x4 into a submarine. Turbo assisted vehicles require a lot of clean air. For vehicles without snorkels the air intakes are usually somewhere in and around the headlight and clean air is harder to find.
You don't have to have the mechanical knowledge of Henry Ford to make these checks everything under the bonnet is colour coded and your service provider can give you the basics. It's not hard so don't be intimidated. The only time I've ever been worried my daughter came in with the usual 1 metre long diesel dipstick saying she didn't remember where she got it from.
We recommend you fit fuel filters with a glass bowl so you can see the fuel and any contaminates and particularly with diesels they must be checked daily. Crook fuel is a rarity nowadays and all good little campers should keep their mileage and fuel receipts. I have recently dealt with one of Australia's leading oil companies on this issue and they were prompt, to the point and admitted the faulty fuel as well as footed the bill for repairs.
So you have come home full of wonder for the distance you have travelled and the sights you have seen what next? Your vehicle must be about due for a service and this service will tell you if your vehicle was damaged during the course of you odyssey. It is vital to repair damage and clean the vehicle properly to see if there is any external damage. I'm a tad lazy in this department a my vehicle goes to Dunrite Car Detailing in Enterprise Avenue Berwick (there's one in Dandenong if you don't feel like the drive) and after a day or so it comes back brand new and it smells a lot better, it then goes to South Eastern 4x4for a service and full inspection and it's right until pre trip inspections next year apart from normal servicing.
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