It goes without saying that every car on the road needs recurring maintenance. The tires, oil, transmission fluid, brakes, interior, belts, hoses, power steering, wiper washer fluid, wiper blades, and more all have to be continuously checked, fixed, or replaced at some point in time.
With an off-road vehicle however, there’s more to the story – some added responsibility. It’s important to stress that owning a lifted vehicle means not only keeping your eyes and ears open for anything that feels loose or anything that doesn’t sound or look right, but purposefully checking things on a recurring basis.
Here are some lifted vehicle maintenance items that make the top of our list:
Tire Rotation and Balancing
For whatever reason, too many people don’t think it’s important to rotate and balance their tires as often as necessary. It’s a popular belief that bigger tires don’t need rotating and balancing as often as everyday/stock tires. This is not the reality. Mud tires/bigger tires need the same amount of service as stock tires. Ask yourself if you would put off changing your engine oil for an extended amount of time. Probably not. Trust us when we say rotating and balancing tires is just important a maintenance item as changing your engine oil.
Anytime you alter the size of your tires and wheels on your vehicle (specifically bigger tires and wheels), naturally, your brakes are going to wear down prematurely. With bigger tires and wheels, the brakes have to handle more weight, more rolling mass and more resistance. Just like with any other vehicle, a lifted truck’s brakes need to be checked regularly, even when you have higher quality calipers, rotors, and brake pads.
If you take your vehicle off-roading, all your grease fittings need to be maintained more frequently. Tie-rods, ball joints, U-joints, idler arms, some after market track bars, and some after market control arms all have grease fittings. Remember to use lithium-based grease on polyurethane bushings, not a petroleum-based grease. (Petroleum grease is used for rubber bushings.)
Ball joints, tie rods, and hub bearing assemblies all need to be checked. When the vehicle is jacked up, a good method is to put one end of a pry bar in the ground and the other against bottom of the tire. Move the pry bar in an up and down motion against the bottom of the tire to see if it moves in any sort of a wiggling fashion. If the tire wiggles, this means the ball joint is going bad. For checking tie rods, have your helping hand turn the unlocked steering wheel while you do a visual check to see whether there is any movement in the socket.
It’s important to not neglect changing the differential oil in both the front and rear differentials, especially if the vehicle is taken off road often. We recommend changing the differential oil about every 15,000 miles, at a minimum. However, it does vary, depending on the driving conditions.
Increased Reliability and Durability
These are just a few of the maintenance items that should be performed on a recurring basis. Doing these type of maintenance checks, among others, will ensure the reliability and durability of your vehicle.
It’s a small price to pay to be able to enjoy that awesome, high-up ride our lifted vehicles provide us with.