A checklist for a 4WD enthusiast

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
Our authors
, updated on November 25th, 2021       

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If you enjoy off-roading to enjoy the outbacks or even explore rugged terrain without putting a dent on your wheels, then owning a 4WD is your vehicle. This beast that can handle any type of terrain is useful for any adventurist, but you need to be careful in how you pick your car. There a few things that your vehicle must have to make the investment worthwhile.

Know what you are planning to use the vehicle for

4WD has a range of vehicles that are for specifically designed for off-roading while others are designed for off-roading and driving in the city. You will need to decide what you will be using the vehicle for before you go out to hunt for one that fits your needs. When you have decided what the purpose of the car is going to be for you will be able to search for features that will enhance your driving experience and save you money in the process.

Do you have a set budget?

Financing your 4WD is no child’s play, therefore you will need adequate financing through a car loan or open a savings account to build a sizeable deposit for it. When calculating the costs of your 4WD you need to consider items such as:

  • Registration fees that differ from state to state
  • Stamp duty fees if you are buying your car from a private seller
  • Repair fees especially if it is a used car
  • Additional accessories

Do you want a petrol or diesel-powered vehicle?

The type of fuel your car guzzles on will play a factor in the amount you spend on your car. If you have already compared prices of diesel powered 4WD’s against petrol 4WD’s you will notice that diesel cost an additional $1,000-$3,000 premium. It all boils down to what type of performance you would like to have.

Diesel vehicles reign supreme in off-road situations by harnessing plenty of low rev torque, while petrol vehicles require higher revs to maintain momentum over obstacles. Diesel is also 20-50% better when it comes to fuel economy.

Have you carried out research on the vehicle?

Now that you have your sights set on a vehicle you will have to carry out adequate research on it before purchasing. Researching a car is your safeguard against buying a dud that can costs you thousands of dollars. It will also give you the opportunity to compare prices to come out with a vehicle that has a competitive deal. You can also read reviews on various models you are interested in to find what the common issues are. Some models have a common issue such as transmission and steering as time develops. It’s always best to prepare yourself financially.

Will there be available parts for your model?

Buying a limited edition 4WD or a vehicle that is not popular in your area, therefore, has a limitation of parts that are stocked can be problematic. The lack of parts of your model can cause financial strain on you as you have to source them elsewhere which could cost you more. If you are not planning to hold onto the vehicle for long, it is advisable to buy a model that is popular on the Australian used car market.

Coil springs vs Lead packs

The handling ability will also impact how you drive on various terrain along with the vehicles handling ability. Coil springs are perfect for comfortable rides for the family or touring groups. If you know that you will be pushing your vehicles limits on rugged terrain, and you will be carrying heavy equipment then a 4WD vehicle that is fitted with leaf packs will be more suitable.

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