Operate and maintain a four-wheel drive vehicle

This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to operate and maintain a four-wheel drive vehicle in the Resources and Infrastructure Industries. This unit is appropriate for those working in supervisory and technical specialist roles.  Licensing, legislative, regulatory and certification requirements that apply to this unit can vary between states, territories, and industry sectors. Relevant information must be sourced prior to application of the unit.


Evidence is required to be collected that demonstrates a candidate’s competency in this unit. Evidence must be relevant to the roles within this sector’s work operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria of this unit and include evidence that the candidate:

  • locates and applies relevant documentation, policies and procedures
  • works effectively with others to undertake and complete effective operation and maintenance of a four-wheel drive vehicle to meet all required outcomes including:
  • preparing for and organising work activities to meet all task requirements
  • communicating clearly and concisely with others to receive and clarify work instructions
  • using a range of communication techniques and aids to advise others of work activity
  • demonstrates completion of the operation and maintenance of a four-wheel drive vehicle that safely, effectively and efficiently meets all of the required outcomes on more than one occasion including:
  • performing pre-departure checks
  • selecting and programming navigation equipment
  • operating a four-wheel drive vehicle on and off road
  • applying correct braking techniques according to terrain
  • engaging four-wheel drive mode
  • carrying out stop stall key start recovery procedures
  • selecting routes and applying techniques to minimise damage to the environment
  • identifying and using multiple types of recovery equipment
  • performing recovery of four-wheel drive
  • operating a jack to support a four-wheel drive on unstable ground


The candidate must demonstrate knowledge of the following when operating and maintaining a four-wheel drive vehicle:

  • problem solving skills for operation and maintenance of a four-wheel drive vehicle
  • handover procedures
  • technical information, including manufacturer’s manuals related to operation and maintenance of a four-wheel drive vehicle
  • operating vehicles within specifications and limitations
  • faults in vehicles and ancillary equipment
  • driving techniques and handling characteristics of four-wheel drives in different terrain
  • differences between optional four-wheel drive and constant four-wheel drive vehicles and their impacts on vehicle operation and capability
  • tyre management principles
  • hazards associated with vehicle recovery, including:
  • slopes
  • pot holes
  • power lines
  • wet, slippery conditions
  • mud
  • changes in terrain
  • obstacles such as tree branches or poles
  • travelling in convoy
  • area restrictions
  • knowledge of basic four-wheel drive maintenance procedures, including:
  • charging batteries
  • changing fuses and globes
  • jump-starting
  • battery safety


  • Assessors must satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015/AQTF mandatory competency requirements for assessors; and industry regulations for certification and licensing
  • this unit must be assessed in the context of this sector’s work environment; and,
  • this unit must be assessed in compliance with relevant legislation/regulation and using policies, procedures, processes and operational manuals directly related to the industry sector for which it is being assessed
  • assessment may be conducted in conjunction with the assessment of other units of competency
  • assessment must confirm consistent performance can be applied in a range of relevant workplace circumstances
  • assessors must demonstrate the performance evidence, and knowledge evidence as outlined in this unit of competency, and through the minimum years of current* work experience specified below in an industry sector relevant to the outcomes of the unit
  • where the assessor does not meet experience requirements a co-assessment or partnership arrangement must exist between the qualified assessor and an industry subject matter expert. The industry subject matter expert should hold the unit being assessed (or an equivalent unit) and/or demonstrate equivalence of skills and knowledge at the unit level. An industry technical expert must also demonstrate skills and knowledge from the minimum years of current work experience specified below in the industry sector, including time spent in roles related to the unit being assessed
  • assessor and Industry subject matter expert requirements differ depending on the Australian Qualifications Framework Level (AQF)
  • Assessors can demonstrate current work experience through employment within industry in a role relevant to the outcomes of the unit; or, for external assessors this can be demonstrated through exposure to industry by conducting frequent site assessments across various locations.
  • Where a unit is being delivered outside of a qualification the first numeric character in the unit code should be considered to indicate the AQF level.


This course is delivered over two 8-hour days, as practical elements of the course must be completed on at least two occasions. The course is run with a candidate to assessor ratio of 3-1. The course includes the following:


  • Two-hour PowerPoint presentation covering:
  • Prestart/post operational checks – load security/fault finding
  • Legal requirements and company policy/procedure – land access
  • Defensive driving techniques – night driving/animals/wet roads/environmental impacts
  • Journey management – fatigue/using GPS/communication/weather restrictions/convoy procedures
  • Four-wheel drive systems – free-wheeling hubs/differences 2wd-4wd/constant 4wd
  • On/off road driving techniques – hazard identification
  • Vehicle recovery – snatch strap/sand mats/airbags/winching
  • Emergency procedures

This is followed by a one hour written exam on the theory content.


  • The practical element of this course includes the following:
  • Prestart/post operational checks – load security/fault repair
  • Journey management – food/water etc, programme GPS
  • Driving on sealed/unsealed roads – emergency braking
  • Driving on uneven terrain – up/down hills/sand/mud/rocks
  • Changing a wheel on uneven terrain
  • Vehicle recovery – snatch strap/sand mats/winching/airbags
  • Basic maintenance – Change bulb/fuse, charge a battery/jump start vehicle