Buying and Maintaining a Land Rover Defender
There’s no doubt that the Land Rover Defender is one of the best-recognised cars on the road – classic in style, it is renowned for its handling both on and off track. It remains honest to its original design and is as rugged as it is reliable.
When it comes to towing heavy vehicles or goods, the Land Rover Defender makes light work of it. It’s mechanically very tough and in hot or chilly climates, it can battle with the best of them. Sadly, it has been discontinued, which means it is now only available as a used car. That said, we think it’s still worth a worthwhile investment – but knowing more about looking after your Land Rover Defender and the types of car repairs you’ll be expected to make is key before committing to this decision.
There are two types of Defenders that are most commonly bought – one is the 90 and the other the 110. These numbers relate to the length of the wheelbase in inches, so the three-door 90 is shorter and more compact (not so great if you have a family), while the five-door 110 is longer and can seat up to nine people, depending on how it has been configured. There are multiple other variations within these styles. The earlier the model is, the cheaper it is likely to be.
When it comes to maintaining your Land Rover Defender, the first and most important thing to remember is that it has been built with a tough steel frame that can, when exposed to the elements, be prone to rust. This means corrosion can come creeping up on you; visiting a car service centre for regular checks can help to prevent this from becoming a significant problem.
Every Defender requires a service each year – or more frequently depending on how high the annual mileage is. If your Land Rover Defender spends a lot of time on tough terrain, it’s important to carry out regular checks to maintain the condition.
Other changes will need to take place too; for example, you will need to replace the brake fluid every two years. On the older 220 TDi and 300 TDI models (which are largely from the early to late 90’s), you will be required to change the cambelt every five years – or every 100,000km if this hasn’t happened first. This is a hard-working part of your engine, responsible for keeping everything synchronised and the major parts of the engine moving, and shouldn’t be ignored despite the cost of replacing it. The price and repercussions should it fail will be much higher.
It is also important to keep an eye on the gearbox or transfer box. If you hear a knocking or whining sound when the car is moving, this is a sign that something is not working effectively and a service will be required to check for underlying issues. When getting your car checked over, it’s always important to keep an eye on the possibility of head gasket failure – something the TD5, Puma and V8 models can often be prone to. The TD5 and Puma are tough engines to work on and can be relatively complex, so it is worth noting that it can be more costly when problems occur.
Given the cost in general should this go wrong, it is always a good idea to mention any knocking noises when having your car checked to ensure it is specifically signed off as being okay. Both the TD5 and Puma can be tuned and upgraded to give you more performance, with better HP and torque.
Ultimately, the Land Rover Defender is a solid and reliable car to own, great for tough terrains and off-roading, but regular servicing and checks are key to ensuring it doesn’t become a costly and regular expense. Contact us today to find out about our service options.