Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance

We are not great mechanics, but we still think it is a excellent idea to perform regular inspections and some preventive maintenance on Sterlin. The main point of the inspection is try and detect things that might be going wrong before they really go wrong. In terms of maintenance, we will plan to be in a major city around the time Sterlin needs some real maintenance. Here is the proposed inspection routine.

Daily – to be performed before starting off each day (takes 5 mins)
  • Check engine bay fluid levels including coolant, brake, power steering and windscreen washer.
  • Quickly check engine bay for signs of fluid leaks.
  • Walk around vehicle checking all four tires for obvious signs of damage
  • Check roof rack, roof top tent and camp table to make sure they are securely fastened.
  • Look under vehicle for signs of fluid leaks.
  • Check fuel level and record odometer reading in log book.
Weekly – includes all daily inspection plus (takes 30 mins)
  • Check oil level and condition and top up as necessary
  • Climb on roof rack and confirm all items are secured appropriately.
  • Inspect Jerry cans and for damage.
  • Check spare tire, check tire pressures and inspect for damage.
  • Check tire pressure and wear on all four wheels. Carefully check for tire damage.
  • Crawl under car with torch and check for fluid leaks and body damage.
  • Careful inspection of engine with torch for fluid leaks.
  • Check serpentine belt and coolant hoses for wear and damage.
  • Check battery terminals to ensure connections are tight.
  • Check water tank, pumps, filter and hoses for signs of leaks.
  • Read OBDII interface for error codes. Record any error codes in log book.
Monthly – includes all weekly inspection plus (takes 3 hours
  • Check all lights including brake lights, signal lights, headlights and aux lights.
  • Remove all four wheels and check tire for damage including missing balance weights.
  • Check rotors and brake pad wear condition. Record depth of brake pads in log book.
  • Check wheel bearing area and brake and ABS sensor lines for fluid leaks and damage.
  • Check wheel axles for damage.
  • Check all roof rack nuts for tightness. Check rain gutter for damage.
  • Check main and aux battery voltage levels.
  • Check air filter condition and replace if needed.
  • Check spare key remote works.
  • Inspect condition of water filter candles and clean if necessary.
  • Remove water tank, drain and inspect for mildew and leaks. Perform monthly cleaning and return water tank to Sterlin.

Ideally all maintenance will be performed at a garage. Potentially the monthly inspection can be done at a garage as well. Regular maintenance will include:-

Every 7,500 miles
  • Replace engine oil and oil filter.
  • Replace air filter.
  • Check transmission case oil level and condition.

Sterlin currently has 95,000 miles on the clock so is starting to show some wear. Although, Sterlin has been remarkably trouble-free to date. In preparation for the time, the following proactive repairs have been performed:

  • All the rubber on Sterlin is new, including the main and spare tires, the coolant hoses and the serpentine belt. There should be no need to replace any of these items due to normal wear for the 40 to 60 thousand miles.
  • The brake rotors and pads have recently been replaced and are still in excellent shape. Hopefully will also not need to be replaced during the journey and we will not be carrying spares. If we start to notice wear on the brakes, then we will have some shipped to us.
  • The engine head gaskets and transmission case seals have been recently replaced as they were showing some seepage. With these two major repairs performed, hopefully both will be trouble free.
  • As the engine head was off, some deterioration of the radiator was noticed. Consequentially, Sterlin now has a new radiator, radiator hoses and thermostat installed.
  • All four shock absorbers have been replaced.

Things will no doubt go wrong, and it is hard to predict what these things might be. Sterlin will be carrying spare parts for common Land Rover Discovery failures, you can find a full list of tools and spare parts on a separate blog posting. We have allocated time in the schedule for breakdowns and repairs, and hopefully there will not be too many. The Land Rover Discovery is not known for being a highly reliable car or one for which parts will be easy to come by. Fortunately the Land Rover Discovery is sold and serviced in every country we plan to visit.