Upgrading to Four-Wheel-Drive? How to Deal with Increased Maintenance
Have you just become a proud parent for the first time? If so, congratulations, but your life is about to change in many different ways. For example, you may have to think about your mode of transportation, as your current car may now be too small. You may need to think about trading up to a more substantial vehicle, not only to give you some more room but to provide an additional layer of protection. While you are looking at some options, don't forget to consider the additional maintenance budget, as these vehicles are far more complicated. What do you need to focus on?
The Perfect Upgrade
A four-wheel-drive SUV may have been originally designed for off-road use, but it is increasingly popular among growing families like yours, who will spend most of their time driving to and from suburbia. They may not need the levels of traction provided for loose surface adventures but nevertheless need to maintain the on-board systems so that they can ensure reliability.
The Cost of Stability
Your new vehicle will be very stable in wet and slippery conditions due to the fact that both axles are working together to provide traction. Unlike your old car, this calls for some more complicated gadgetry and will require additional maintenance from time to time.
Firstly, this vehicle has two separate differentials, one at the rear and one at the front. In the middle will be a control box known as a transfer case. Essentially, the transfer case receives power from the engine and gearbox and distributes it selectively to the rear or front wheels, whenever needed.
These three separate components rely on very highly engineered lubricant to help them work under pressure. You will need a different type of lubricant for the transfer case, as this is not interchangeable with the differential, and you should never mix them under any circumstances. Occasionally, the seal in between the transfer case and the front differential may fail, and this requires prompt action if you are to avoid significant damage.
Running along and next to these components are several electronic or electrical items, and these need their own careful maintenance as time goes by. In particular, the transfer case motor is crucial, as it is linked to the ECU to ensure seamless operation in difficult conditions.
Don't forget that each of the four hubs on your new vehicle has a locking and unlocking mechanism that springs into action when you engage four-wheel-drive mode. Once again, you don't find this type of equipment on conventional, two-wheel-drive vehicles, and they will also require maintenance as part of your regular schedule.
Make sure that you find a mechanic who is skilled in four-wheel-drive work to handle any car repairs, and don't forget to add a little more to your annual budget to cater for this more complex vehicle.