Australia provides offroaders with some of the toughest 4WDing challenges in the world, so when it comes time to check-in or pull up, pay attention!
Believe it or not, a lack of fuel is the number one cause of breakdown on a diesel rig. Thankfully, there are plenty of places to access it between major camping destinations. That said, fuel efficiency can plummet to below 3km per litre in toughest conditions, especially if you’re a tonne-plus trailer down a slope, so check in and top up when you can.
Wheel bearings are a common fail on camper trailer, so if you did not buy a Mars Camper it’s good practice to check their condition when you stop for fuel. How do you do that? Start by checking for grease spray on the rim. Also, feel the top of the tyre for excessive heat. A hot tyre can indicate real problems, although it could be something as simple as under inflation. With the back of your hand feel for heat carefully from the edge of the tyre wall down to the bearing cap. Warm bearings are common but if they’re too hot to touch consider it a red flag. Excessive braking will cause them to overheat in this way, too, but in the very least you’ll need to stop and allow them to cool down
When off-roading, over time, the rhythm of corrugated roads can literally shake the nuts free from the bolts on your rig so make an effort to tighten them every couple of days. It varies from rig to rig, but you’ll soon know which ones are more likely to work loose over time. Be sure to pay attention to tow coupling nuts, too.
Bent 4WD and ute chassis have put an end to their fair share of off-roading adventures, with the main cause of failure resulting from excess loads. While there are clear laws that spell out how much you can legally carry, tow ratings can be misleading, so watch for GVM and rear axle ratings – especially if you’re touring with a heavier camper, or one with a high ball weight.