Johnson's 4WD Repair Shop

All makes and models welcome as well as camper trailers and trailers. 
61 Lucas Street, Berserker QLD 4701  *  07 4927 7170  *  [email protected]


Our aim is to tackle the questions you want answers to without the mechanical jargon. If there is a topic you'd like us to cover, please feel free to contact us and let us know. 

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4WDing and Recovery Gear

Posted on 2 August, 2019 at 21:50 Comments comments (0)

Even though we’re more than just 4WD’s at Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop and love all makes and models, a large part of our role in providing support to our customers is giving advice on recovery gear. We frequently hear from our customers about their experiences assisting other avid 4WDers as well as tales of being helped themselves. As we all know, there are times when we just can’t get moving alone.

It’s always a good idea to 4WD in groups, or at least with another capable vehicle. A capable vehicle isn’t necessarily one which has 35” tyres and the best winch on the market. A capable vehicle is one that has good recovery equipment on board, especially if this gear can get a lone 4WDer out of a tricky spot.

Most manufacturers of 4WD recovery equipment put together starter packs and full recovery kits. A starter kit is very handy to have, especially if you are just starting your 4WDing journey and aren’t quite sure where this road will take you. Once you become more adventurous, we recommend a full recovery kit as an essential part of your 4WDing tool kit. Having this on board is as critical as a spare tyre.

The VRS Full Recovery Kit we keep in stock at Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop consists of the following:

1 x 8t Snatch Strap

2 x 3.25t Bow Shackles

1 x 4.75t Bow Shackle

1 x Recovery Gloves

1 x 8t Tree Protector

1 x 20m Winch extension strap

1 x 8t Snatch Block

1 x Winch Cable Dampener

All packaged into a tough recovery bag.

VRS gear is designed in Australia and tested to the highest standards for strength and reliability and is suitable for recreational and competition use.

In addition to a full recovery kit, recovery tracks will help you out of a deep spot by providing the traction that you need to get your tyres moving you forward and as an added bonus, they can be used as shovel!

Hi Lift Jacks

When correctly used and with the right attachments, a Hi Lift Jack can be a life saver. Some of the attachments you may see are for a bumper or wheel attachment, as well as a base that will give you an extended footprint. Caution should be used every time you use your Hi Lift Jack and it is critical to read the user manual as well has have some practice runs in your driveway or garage a few times before you head off on a trip. Incorrect use of this item can result in serious injury.

Recovery points

When your vehicle is released from the factory, it will have tie down points. It is essential to understand that these are not rated recovery points and should not be used to recovery vehicles in a snatch situation.

If there is one thing you take away from this article, please note that a snatch strap hooked around your towball is not a recovery point and not safe. At a minimum, if you do not have a rated recovery hitch that fits into your towbar, remove your towbar tongue and place the snatch strap through the pin. A rated recovery hitch ranges between $50 and $70 and is really the best way to recovery from the back of your vehicle.

Rated recovery points installed in the front of your vehicle are best practice to use instead of the original tie down points. Become familiar with these aspects of your vehicle to ensure your safety as well as the safety of those with you, plus prevent unnecessary damage to your vehicle.


There are a lot of winches on the market and deciding what is going to suit your needs is more than just looking at the cost component.

When you research a winch, you will come across a wide price range and varying quality levels. Each have their advantages and special features and its critical to understand what you’re looking for in a winch and what your budget is before deciding. Seeking out experienced advice on the right product to suit your needs is essential. If you’re in the market for a winch and need some help, drop in or call Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop. An extensive range is available and can be custom ordered to ensure you get exactly what you want and need.


If you are planning on using your 4WD for its intended use (off road 4WDing), I would highly recommend talking with someone who understands 4WD tyres and has the experience to back up their recommendations. Not all 4WD tyres are equal as there are different tread patterns required for different terrain and needs. The type of tyre you need will vary depending on if you’ll be towing, just cruising or extreme 4WDing.

With 5 years dedicated specifically in the wheel and tyre industry, Nathan at Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop is more than happy to help you determine what tyre is going to suit your needs.


Getting the suspension right in your vehicle is worth discussing with a trusted mechanic to ensure you get exactly what is going to your needs and adventure plans. The options and price range for suspension varies as with everything else and is heavily dependent on what you’ll be using your vehicle for. The suspension set up recommended will be different depending on what your goals are, what you’ll be doing in your vehicle, what your budget is and how you want the performance to be.

At the same time as assessing your suspension needs, there may be a possibility that adding a lift is required as well to ensure better ground clearance and approach / departure angles. It is paramount to ensure that a lift complies with legal obligations and an experienced mechanic will act in accordance with the compulsion to ensure you’re not at risk of breaching what is allowed and provide you with accurate and relevant information to make an informed decision.


Regular and thorough servicing and safety inspections of your 4WD will ensure that if any issue raises its head or looks to become a problem in the future, you can be as prepared as possible and have the repair completed proactively and cost effectively. Maintenance routines are very important not only to keep your vehicle in reliable condition, but also to keep your safety and that of your family and friends a priority.

There is a lot of information available to support your research in what and how to use the tools available, as well as equip you with the exposure and potential skills required to tackle any terrain. If you’re in Rockhampton or the Central QLD region and need help, advice or products and services, please don’t hesitate to call, drop in, message or book online with Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop.

Buying a Used Car | Key information and what to look for

Posted on 10 June, 2019 at 23:55 Comments comments (0)

When shopping for a used car, making sure you’re not buying someone else’s problems can be tricky. Hopefully with these tips and tricks, you can have the confidence to buy a great used car that will provide you and your family with reliability for years to come.

Planning and understanding expectations is key. Critical items you should address before commencing your search include:

• Budget

• Expectations

• Research

• Vehicle condition

• Finance check

• Purchase price

• Start from scratch servicing


Make sure you have a clear idea on what you would like to spend on your used car and take into consideration that you may want to do an initial service immediately, or there could be repairs required to ensure the vehicle is in safe, roadworthy condition. Be sure to also include initial registration and insurance costs as these will all be required at purchase time to protect your asset.


This is where you need to really decide what your needs in a car are and what your wants might be. For example, you may ‘need’ four doors and a boot and you may ‘want’ an automatic instead of manual. Being able to articulate the non-negotiable items on your needs list will assist the process in ensuring you get exactly what suits. If some of the wish list items make it into your purchase, happy days!


It is important to understand what your expectations are and conduct research to find out if you are going to be able to find your ideal car, within your budget. The following websites provide fantastic search options which look at items such as auto vs manual, style of vehicle, age of vehicle, number of kilometers etc. When comparing your budget, expectations and the research, this will assist you in understanding what you are likely to be able to afford for your money, even before you begin your search.

Vehicle condition

When you think you’ve found the right vehicle that warrants your time and attention to inspect, ensuring you understand that the way in which the vehicle is presented is not the only contributing factor to whether the vehicle is a good buy, is essential.

If you are not mechanically trained, take a friend or family member with you for support, as well as a torch as there are some key items you can check for yourself, before obtaining an opinion from a qualified tradesperson. Some key items to check are:

• Use your torch to look under the engine for oil leaks. Don’t just check the top of the engine as it can be common for some sellers to degrease the top of the engine for sale purposes.

• Check the dipstick as grey or milky oil can indicate an engine problem.

• Check the coolant by taking the radiator cap off. There should be no oil in the coolant, and it should be brightly coloured and clean.

• A quick check of the radiator cooling fans and the battery for corrosion and other damage is also essential.

• Check that there is a spare tyre, jack and toolkit.

• Inspect the paint and panels on the vehicle for colour differences and panel alignment. If panels don’t fit properly or doors don’t open and close with ease, this could indicate the vehicle had been in an accident.

• Check the tyres for adequate tread (3-4mm) as well as uneven wear. There could be an issue with the alignment, steering or suspension if the wear is not consistent.

• Inside the car check for wear and tear on the upholstery, trim and carpets. Of course, when purchasing a second hand vehicle there is going to be general wear and tear, but as long as you’re comfortable with the state the inside of the vehicle is in, that is ok.

• Check all the seatbelts to ensure they work properly and look for car seat bolts if required.

• If you take someone with you when inspecting a car, ask them to help you check that all lights and accessories work. Do this by turning the key onto accessory and testing every feature on the dash including hazard lights, indicators and brakes.

• When you test drive the vehicle, listen for noises, rattles and knocks. This can be a good indication of a problem. Also watch for excessive exhaust fumes when starting the engine and idling.

• Take good notice of the dashboard when test driving to look for any warning lights that may appear.

• Test the brakes a few times on the test drive as well as they should feel firm.

When you decide that you want to proceed with an offer and you need a tradesperson to double check the vehicle, don’t hesitate to contact Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop as we offer a mobile mechanical service and can complete a pre-purchase inspection for you from as little as $110. We can also assist you or the seller in obtaining a Roadworthy Certificate.

If there are some items that need attention and the seller is open to negotiation, a reduction of the purchase price on the proviso that you fix what needs to be repaired could see you walk away with an affordable and reliable vehicle within budget and which meets all your needs. If the seller isn’t negotiable and there are too many expenses resulting in the purchase price of the vehicle increasing significantly after the transaction is complete, it may be best to move on to another vehicle.

Finance Check

If purchasing from a private seller, it pays to complete a REVS check online. This will show you if the vehicle is currently held as security with a finance company or bank. If it is, the vehicle isn’t legally able to be sold. A REVS check will also show you if the vehicle has ever been ‘written off’ in an accident.

You can obtain a REVS check from here:

Purchase Price

Negotiations on the final purchase price can begin once you have completed the above steps and are confident in the vehicle you are making an offer on. Making an offer too soon can result in backwards and forwards negotiations and may result in wasting your time as well as the sellers. If you make an offer and the seller’s counteroffer is the advertised price, unless you are really keen on the vehicle, it may be best to move on and resume your search.


Be sure to write a receipt if the transaction is completed by a private seller and be prepared to complete a Registration Transfer with the QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Receipt template examples can be found online with a quick google search. The seller should have this ready for you but it always pays to be prepared in case they don’t.

TMR Registration Link:

Start from Scratch Servicing

After the purchase, it pays to know where your vehicle’s service history is at. If a completed logbook has been provided with the car, it will provide you with an overview of what has been completed to date, by who (you’re looking for a reputable workshop / mobile mechanic here) and will give you an indication of what is coming up.

If the vehicle does not have a logbook and the service history is not available, the ‘start from scratch service’ is what you will need. By starting from scratch, this will ensure all the oils and filters are changed and replaced, as well as service such as spark plugs, coolant, drive belts etc. Once this has been completed, you’ll have peace of mind that from then on, every service due can be done as per the manufacture’s recommendations for the intervals. Even without a logbook from the manufacturer, this information can be sourced by your trusted mechanic.

Pre-Purchase Inspections, Roadworthy Certificates and Start from Scratch Servicing can all be undertaken here at Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop. With one on one service you can trust, quality and affordable workmanship, online booking options, free pick up and drop offs as well as text message reminders, the maintenance of your vehicle is made easy and hassle free.

Log Book Servicing | Dealer or Independent Workshop

Posted on 23 February, 2019 at 21:20 Comments comments (0)

A common misunderstanding by consumers is that they must take their vehicle to the dealer for servicing to maintain warranty. The answer here is that this is not the case. You will not void your standard warranty by having your vehicle serviced by an independent and qualified mechanical workshop.

Independent workshops provide one on one service and will ensure that your logbook service meets and exceeds requirements to maintain your warranty.

If a consumer has been advised they will void their new car warranty by having servicing conducted elsewhere, this is blatant misleading and incorrect information. The consumer always has a choice and to dictate anything that contradicts this works in direct competition to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says, ‘a manufacturer's warranty is a promise to the consumer that the vehicle will be free from defects for a certain period of time’. While a manufacturer can have certain requirements in its warranty terms such as ensuring any servicing is carried out by qualified staff, according to the manufacturer's specification, and that appropriate quality parts are used where required, it can't require you to service your vehicle through an authorised dealer to keep your warranty intact.

Provided you service the vehicle in accordance with any such requirements, the warranty will remain valid. If the manufacturer's warranty states that the vehicle can only be serviced by an authorised dealer, this needs to be reported to the ACCC as it raises concerns under the Competition and Consumer Act.

Independent workshops often go the extra mile with your vehicle and perform action items above and beyond the vehicle manufacturers recommendations. Tasks such as cooling system pressure testing, spare tyre checks, replacing low value items such as windscreen wipers and in general assessing your vehicle holistically for safety and reliability, ensures you can rest assured knowing you’re in good hands.

Basic oil and filter changes including safety checks start at $149.

With one on one service you can trust, quality and affordable workmanship, online booking options, free pick up and drop off as well as text message service reminders sent by Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop, the maintenance of your vehicle is made easy and hassle free.

Frequency of Vehicle Servicing

Posted on 13 December, 2018 at 22:30 Comments comments (0)

Servicing your vehicle on time is critical in ensuring your families safety and your vehicle’s reliability. The frequency of set monthly intervals or kilometers ensures that as well as a service, a safety check can also be conducted with risks and issues identified and rectified quickly by your trusted mechanic. If there are several items that need attention, your mechanic can help you prioritise each item and create an action plan to mitigate the risks of a negative impact.

To ensure optimum performance of your vehicle and economical viability, common parts that wear and degrade over time need replacing. Some of these items include oil and filters, brake pads, spark plugs, belts and injectors to name a few. Regular servicing also provides added benefits such as fuel efficiency, smoother engine performance and tyre checks to prevent and reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel consumption.

One of the most common misconceptions in the industry by consumers is that it is one or the other, either time or kilometers. This is simply not true as the two-work hand in hand together. With vehicles that do minimal kilometers, it could take years for kilometers to accrue. Meanwhile, the oil is aging, and the filter is not working as efficiently as possible resulting in extra pressure on the motor when it is driven, as well as missed safety items that need attention either immediately or in the near future.


If your vehicle does the kilometers well and truly before the monthly interval recommended, it is just as critical to do the servicing more frequently and as required per the kilometers. With a high frequency use vehicle, preventative maintenance such as servicing and safety checks is key to ensuring vehicle reliability. Regular servicing makes the difference when it comes to the vehicle running smoothly or breaking down unexpectedly which quite often results in expensive and unexpected repairs.


Independent workshops often go the extra mile with your vehicle and perform action items above and beyond the vehicle manufacturers recommendations. Tasks such as cooling system pressure testing, spare tyre checks, replacing low value items such as windscreen wipers and in general assessing your vehicle holistically for safety and reliability, ensures you can rest assured knowing you’re in good hands.


Basic oil and filter changes including safety checks start at $149.


With one on one service you can trust, quality and affordable workmanship, online booking options, free pick up and drop off as well as text message service reminders sent by Johnson’s 4WD Repair Shop, the maintenance of your vehicle is made easy and hassle free.