Buying your first 4×4 can be intimidating. From not being sure what you need in a 4×4 to not wanting to spend too much on your first ride, use these tips to help make the right choice on a new or used 4×4.
Deciding What You Want in a 4×4
Thinking about how you want to use your 4×4 will make looking for a vehicle much simpler. Here are some pieces to consider to find the vehicle that meets your needs:
- Amount of driving on paved and off-road vs off-road only
- Petrol vs diesel
Diesel engines will cost you more on the purchase price but generally provide a better fuel economy. Petrol engines have longer intervals between service.
- Automatic vs manual transmission
The choice here comes down to what type of control you want. Automatic lets you focus on the trail and manual has more attention to choosing what gear and braking you ned.
- Leaf packs vs coil springs
Leaf packs are good if you usually carry heavy loads and coil springs are better for a smoother ride.
Now that you have narrowed down what you want in your 4×4, you can start checking out models that match those wants.
Checking dealer and used car websites can give you an idea of the average price for the models you are considering. This will help you know a fair price and possibly be able to negotiate it down. You can compare the different models side by side to see what features appeal to you to help narrow your options down further.
Make sure to research the most common issues for each model you’re considering. This will help you understand potential services you may need in the future.
Now it’s time to take the models you have chosen out for a test drive. You’ll want to feel out the ride, is it harsh or smooth? Some drivers prefer one over the other. Take it off road to make sure you get the full experience and aren’t left with any surprises after purchasing. Definitely drive it with 4WD engaged.
Purchasing a used model is a great option, but you’ll want to add a few extra items to your checklist. One, are there any warning lights? Strange engine rattling?
Check under the hood for any leaks from important components like the brakes or transmission. Check out the oil condition to make sure there is no foamy residue. Is the coolant brown? If so, it needs to be changed but it could also mean a leaking head gasket. Look for any wear and tear like cracking or rust. On brand new 4x4s, these are things you shouldn’t have to worry about but it never hurts to check.
If you have found a good used vehicle you’re seriously considering purchasing, take it to a qualified 4WD mechanic for a thorough inspection.
Your first 4×4 is always exciting. Bullhide 4×4 offers a pre-purchase 25 point inspection on items that may get overlooked during a quick visual inspection.