The 4WD modification market is a booming – and often confusing – segment of 4WD driving today. We see so many 4WD newbies try to load up on mods without thinking it through. Here are 7 of the most common mistakes you can make with buying 4WD modifications, and how to avoid them.
1. Buying the wrong 4WD in the first place
You can modify a small SUV all you want, but it won’t handle big rocks and hard offroad tracks. The questions you have to ask are; where is your 4WD going most of the time? Is it for the bush, or just for around town? Do you want a manual or auto transmission? Will you use it to haul heavy loads? Do you want petrol or diesel for extra low-rev torque? Will you use your 4WD to tow a boat or caravan? If so, you’ll need to be sure you search for a 4WD that can handle the weight.
2. Not having an accessory endgame
4WD accessorising isn’t like buying records or action figures – you need to know what you need and what the problem your accessory solves (or helps to solve.) If you are never going off road, why buy a winch and all-terrain tyres? Think about your possible driving scenarios and cater to that.
3. Blowing your 4×4 accessory budget
Just like buying a 4WD (or any type of vehicle) you need to set a price ceiling and stick to it. Hearing sob stories about newbie 4WDers buying all sorts of expensive equipment that underdelivers is a common one – don’t be one of them! Remember, adding accessories can limit your 4WD’s resale appeal; don’t expect it to “magically” improve its price.
4. Buying dodgy modifications to save a few dollars
That said, you can run afoul of cheaper, low-quality modifications on sites like AliBaba or Gumtree (though there is much quality to be found.) If it isn’t 100% trustworthy, run away!
NOTE: Some mods you’re considering might not be legal in your state. If you raise your roof height in WA by more than 5cm, you may have to apply for an engineering certificate to be roadworthy.
5. Not doing your homework
There’s no excuse for buying blind in this day and age – you can research 4×4 accessories on your smartphone during footy ad breaks! For example, buying a lift kit might be a handy idea. But do you know what adjustments you need to make to differential angles and the brake bias? Don’t just compare brands; get to know what your mod does from other owners and see if it’s right for you (refer to #2.).
6. Modifying looks without considering practicality
It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying mods because “they look cool” – bigger tyres and a lift kit might gain some “street cred” but could shift your centre of gravity and make handling less reliable. 4x4s are machines built for purpose, not cool points.
7. Buying too many modifications that weigh your 4×4 down
Buying mods like bull bars, winches, fridges, recovery gear, and so on can weigh a lot; so you can’t buy absolutely everything and expect your 4WD to haul it and any large vehicle you’re towing around too. You need to know your payload and your towing power, and come in comfortably under that weight. Otherwise, you’ll break your vehicle and break the law.
We are a family owned private business that takes pride in providing quality service along with the best quality 4×4 accessories in Perth. We stock all TJM 4×4 accessories along with other top Australian 4wd accessories brands.