I only use it to pick up the kids from school

Ron0z

Active Member
I used to know someone who proudly stated the above. They liked the idea of being higher off the ground. They thought it guaranteed their children's safety. Maybe/maybe not. If the centre of gravity is higher it'll topple over easier. Anyway, that's not my issue.

On the used car market, that's me looking to buy, I come across statements that say, "Never been off-road," or, "Only ever used on the highway." I can't help wondering why those people bought a 4WD in the first place. (Unless it was to take the kids to school.)

So, what do you think of those statements? Particularly in the light of the note on the owner's manual below.

It's something I discovered in a 1998 Nissan Patrol owner's handbook. Presumably, Nissan wants the oil splashing around a bit every now and again. I can't help wondering about people who never engage 4WD might well be doing their car more harm than good by boasting they never user 4WD. I've highlit a section from the manual.

It could be that more modern vehicles are more forgiving and such a monthly procedure is unnecessary.

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Lost1?

Well-Known Member
There were old war stories of triton owners that had 6-7 year old vehicles, but never engaged 4wd experiencing transfer case failure the first time they engaged 4wd. Not sure if it was fact or internet folklore. If haven't seen it myself I can be a sceptical bugger at times. Having managed vehicle fleets for a while and listened to my share of BS stories about how something broke probably does that.
 

dabbler

Active Member
On the first part, we bought a Mazda Tribute some years ago. It was a time when my wife had serious hip issues but medical advice was to put off replacement surgery until the pain become unbearable for too much of the time. The Tribute was the only vehicle we found where she could sit on the driver's seat and turn her body into the driving position without pain of climbing up or down into the vehicle and we looked at everything on the market.

The Tribute was capable enough for our camping trips but in the end I fitted HT boots because the AT just produced too much understeer at greater than surburban speeds. That worried me far more than body roll.

We did use it's 4WD and high clearance but truthfully it was a commuter. It was a very heavy drinker and starting to cost real money to keep on the road by the time we traded it. Years later my wife (post surgery by then) still complained about lack of height and vision.

It doesn't surprise me at all that people buy these types of vehicles especially now that new models have nice toys.
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
My wife used to have a Toorak tractor as we called it, fully optioned very comfortable and a very nice 4wd, used it off road once or twice to get the van into a camping spot , never for 4wding as such, she loved it, still misses it as far as height and comfort, certainly don't miss the expense of running such a big car.
I would prefer to buy a 4wd with minimal off road use than one that was owned by a weekend worrier
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
The front diff is an oil bath and if it doesn’t spin the top half can get rusty. How long you have to leave it to cause catastrophic failure is anyone’s guess I suppose.

there was always a strong argument against SUV’s for survival given that the most common cause of dieing in a car is failure to negotiate a bend, however the definitions and build style these days are morphing back into being very similar things. But given most are built on global platforms the sedan/hatch version of the suv is still going to be the better dynamic performer - tyres, mass and COG still count.
 

smwhiskey

Active Member
On the used car market, that's me looking to buy, I come across statements that say, "Never been off-road," or, "Only ever used on the highway." I can't help wondering why those people bought a 4WD in the first place. (Unless it was to take the kids to school.)

So, what do you think of those statements? Particularly in the light of the note on the owner's manual below.

My In-laws had a Pajero that I can absolutely guarantee went on a dirt track once in its life. Don't think they actually knew how to engage the 4WD system. Was bought to tow a caravan from caravan park to caravan park and it did a pretty good job at that.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
I would have thought with cornering, braking, acceleration there would have been sufficient oil slopping around inside the housing to keep any corrosion under control
Back when free wheeling hubs where common and print media existed there was always articles about engaging them regularly to stop diff from rusting. Kind of also evidenced in the fact that the manufacturer agrees and wrote it in the manuals. I’m no expert either way, just old enough to remember when it was a common thing.
 

Frankensurf

Member
Page 163 of the 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser owners manual: “You should drive in four wheel drive for at least 16km (10 miles) each month.”
 
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typhoeus

Well-Known Member
I have FW hubs on my hilux. They are well greased, so I don't usually use them unless I'm going to actually need them. So to circulate oil in the diff and grease in the unis, I drive to work in 4H (with the hubs unlocked) once every couple of months or so. It's about 25ks to work, so, far enough to warm everything up and coat the necessary parts in lubricant. I've never had trouble with the hubs, I use moly grease in them and it doesn't go hard or anything. It important to make sure the gasket is good and sealed when you service them ( or wheel bearings etc)
 

SuperSteve

Member
I just don't believe anything people write in their ads.
While car shopping I came across an ad for a golf gti. Seller said it was his wife's car. Just did shopping and school runs. Never thrashed.

Then came the list of all the aftermarket performance parts.

You don't do that to a car and not thrash it.

With a 4wd they might say school runs only, but it's got a bullbar, bush pin stripes, half worn muddies and beaten up bash plates.

If it came with half worn highway tyres and no aftermarket parts I might believe school runs only.

As to why someone buys a car and uses or doesn't use it a certain way, well people can do what they want with their own money. Maybe they just like the look of it. Maybe they want 7 seats and hate minivans.
 

shanegtr

Well-Known Member
Theres also the issue if the front diff is not moving long term then the vibraton's from the road can start to cause false brinelling of the bearings, shorting the life of the bearings in the process
 

Ron0z

Active Member
not moving
But would it not be moving? Have you ever followed someone on the highway where they have a bike strapped to the back? Unless the wheels have been stripped down in some way you'll often see them spinning due to the vibrations of travel. Okay, bike wheels weigh next to nothing and drive shafts and gearing have a substantial weight. Not the same thing, but the tendency toward rotation might be there.
 

Ron0z

Active Member
Yup, wind is probably the thing.

The only reason I considered vibration was because I used to work in a service station. That was in the days when you'd pull up in your car, open the window and say to the guy who came to help you, "Fill 'er up please," and while waiting you'd have your windscreen cleaned, or maybe the oil level checked too. That was a while ago when there was actual service at service stations. Anyway, I used to check the fuel levels in the tanks that are below ground level. Every time you pulled out the dipstick you'd get a different reading. That was because the fuel was slopping from side to side from the vibrations of the traffic on the nearby roads. You'd think being underground that it would be quite still, but nope.
 
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