Like many of us with older vehicles, I service and maintain my own 4x4 – a 2005 Toyota HiLux. With 352,000km on the clock, it’s a little past warranty!
As well as being a travel truck and tow rig, my HiLux is my daily driver and I often commute between Sydney and Newcastle, so the kays rack up reasonably quickly. And with my preference for 10,000km oil changes on its dual-fuel LPG-injected 4.0-litre V6, every few months I’m flipping oil and filter in my garage.
I look after my tyres, too. I make sure to switch around the wheels and tyres after a few months of use, to even out the wear and prevent the saw-toothing of the tread that often occurs with more aggressive tread patterns. With a floor jack, safety stands and a wheel brace (or a rattle gun), it’s a 10-minute task.
I intended to flip my treads during the morning before editor Matt, my mate Batesy and I left for a week touring through the Victorian High Country over the New Year break. Matt was due at my place around lunchtime so we could get to the Snowies that evening.
So I wandered down and lifted my garage door. Would you believe one tyre was flat? I’m sure I frowned and began looking around for Matt – or another one of my crazy mates – to jump out from behind a tree or fence and say: “Hah! Just kidding!” But, no, I found a roofing screw through the tread of my drivers’ side front tyre. Bugger!
I carry an ARB/Safety Seal puncture repair kit and an ARB compressor in my HiLux, so fixing the tyre was a five-minute task without even removing it. If you don’t have a tyre repair kit, get one! I reckon this is the twentieth time it has come in handy for quickly fixing tyres, whether at a Bunnings car park, a racetrack, or in the middle of nowhere. Roofing screws seem to litter the planet!
As soon as the tyre was repaired, I moved my HiLux into my garage and placed it on axle stands so all four wheels could be removed and swapped around – front to rear and vice-versa. Checking the vehicle logbook revealed that the tyres had been worn for closer to 10,000km than 5000km, so they were long overdue for a rotation.
I gave the front brakes a quick check while the wheels were off. Lucky! My front brake pads were just about shot – less than 1mm remained. So it was off to the parts shop for a set of fresh front pads.
The front discs – more than likely the Toyota originals despite the 350,000km travelled – were above-spec. Rotor longevity is something I often muse over as I read comments from Facebook experts who sneer at Toyota’s ‘tax’ (parts pricing) … then have to replace their own ‘other brand’ discs at 40,000km.
I got my HiLux back on its wheels about 20 minutes before Matt arrived in his long-term test rig, a Mazda BT-50. I spent the seven-hour drive to the Snowies thanking my lucky stars that I’d checked things out, because 2.4 tonnes of HiLux with no front brakes in the Snowy River National Park could have been more of an adventure than we’d planned!