Driving in the outback isn’t for the faint of heart; with temperatures in summer exceeding 40 degrees it’s not hard to see why cooking your breakfast on your bonnet might not be a ridiculous idea. Your 4WD is going to need to stand the test and beat the heat so we are going to run through how and why it’s so important your 4WD has the ultimate summer protection.
Before you jump on the road you’re going to want to check your liquid levels, making sure you’re not going to run dry at any time. If you’re out in the bush and caught off guard by mechanical failure or leakage or if you’re just in need of a top up make sure to contact the local Ranger Service Centre, they will get you rolling again in no time but if you follow our protection checklist you can be assured your engine will be well prepared for the journey ahead.
Engine Oil: The lifeblood of your engine. You’re are going to want to make sure your engine oil is topped up. Be aware, that in most vehicles it only takes one litre to fill completely so bring a spare litre and eliminate the risk.
Coolant: Overheating is a regular occurrence, especially in summer, so inspect, replace, refill and keep a decent supply of coolant on hand at all times.
Brake Fluid: When travelling at cruising speeds of up to 110km/h Australian roads can be slippery and treacherous. It is easy to get startled by animals and faint from heat so you must maintain maximum control over the vehicle by keeping your fluid levels high.
Battery: Check the level of the battery and top up if necessary with distilled or deionised water only. If you’re sceptical or worried about your battery lifespan, (or that you may one night accidentally leave a light on!), make sure to bring a spare.
Shade and shelter
A reliable source of shelter will be your best friend in the outback, it will protect you from both the sun and the rain as the elements can have potentially dangerous consequences if you’re left unprotected for long periods of time.
Marquees and Gazebos
Both are easy to set up and provide shade and shelter for extended periods of time. Obviously, a fantastic addition to any BBQ or fishing spot, and more importantly, marquees and gazebos are convenient protectors on the occasion your 4WD has been bogged or is in need of repair. With a large shade covering, you can set up shelter over the top or to the side of your vehicle to protect you from prolonged exposure.
Vehicle Mounted Awnings
While they are relatively expensive ranging in price from $300 to $800, VMAs offer an easy set up and pack down, are lightweight, and cause no in-car storage issues. Their down side is the lack of coverage they provide as the average awning will only extend around 2m from either side of the car. With the ability to have proper sun protection set up in under a minute, VMAs are handy for those who like to stop regularly and take it all in, or for those who would rather crack a cold one than wrestle for an hour with ropes and poles. Not to mention they can also be fitted with netting to protect your snags from flies and your skin from mosquitos.
Australian summers are harsh and can potentially cause damage to vehicles. These fitouts and materials can help you to avoid unnecessary damage to your ‘forbie’ and yourself, so pack the right gear and maintain the correct levels in your engine and you’ll avoid the headache later.