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Niva-Centre: Lada Niva Servicing and Repair
factory required mainteinance, oil change in engine and transmission, reduction drive repairs, differential repairs, injector system flash



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Chevy-Niva under scrutiny


Factory required maintenance of Lada Niva 4x4 and Niva-Chevrolet off road cars

Any car needs service after it has traveled a certain distance regardless whether any technical issues appear. Scheduled maintenance is compulsory even if the vehicle is fully functional.

Maintenance includes 'consumables' change (lubricants and filters), as well as necessary adjustments, that ensure easy and comfortable driving and prevent untimely wear of parts.

On-time performed maintenance diagnostics frequently helps to reveal resource depletion in certain units before it's wear grow critical and affect overall vehicle performance and safety. Besides, part fault that has not been eliminated tends to lead to more rapid wear of other units. Fault as if creates a growth point for other faults. 1

What maintenance includes

Maintenance works may be divided into two categories. [Service operations could be divided into two groups.]

  • Required 'consumables' change, necessary adjustments and inspection. Cost of that is usually meant as the price of factory required maintenance, full list of operations could be found in the vehicle official service book. This list is here for Niva-Chevrolet, and  here for 'classic' 21214, 2131 models.

  • Elimination of faults disclosed upon inspection. This cost is an overhead paid additionally, is difficult to predict and tends to rise with the vehicle's mileage

Thus it is relevant to speak of maintenance in certain 'wider' sense, and that is actually a way how most car owners carry out preventive service of their vehicles.

Service operations list differs with vehicle's age and mileage. For a new car an accent is on checking a "running in" - a limited in duration process of operation under lower load and speed to let moving parts wear against each other, and tightening of some bolt joints and mounts. For that matter most important is first service performed between 1500 and 2500 km mileage. For cars older than 3-4 years whose mileage exceeds 40-60 000 km (for Niva and Niva-Chevrolet cars) maintenance accent shifts to diagnostics and detection of units that show any signs of excessive wear or other mechanical damage.

There are maintenance works for Niva owners to pay extra attention, these are: Lubrication of cardan drive shafts and adjustment of front wheel hub bearings. Lack of grease in shafts leads to vibration, usually at approx. 90 km/h, while driving vehicle with wrong hub play [bearing backlash] - to replacement of hub altogether with its bearings, usually in most awkward circumstances.

what to change?


What probably you may skip

All works listed in the service book are important. But there are few you can economize on.

Coolant change. Repairs of niva car cooling system -change of hoses, pump, radiators -are rather frequent matter, and in due course your coolant may be already partially of fully changed.

Lubricant change in front wheel hub bearings. In essence, that is the same job as change of said bearings.

What they usually don't do, but actually should be done.

Change brake fluid. It is important to periodically unscrew brake cylinders bleed screws, and that takes place while fluid is changed, in order for them not to get stuck and that you have to change workable cylinders when you bleed the system in course of non-planned brake system repair.

Cleanse engine radiator fins off dirt. 21213- 21214- 2123-[1000260] engines are heat-loaded to extreme, overheated easily and don't like it. It is due to do everything possible to let them cool well.

Maintenance is not simply an oil change

Sometimes Niva owners, say once in a year, drive into service shop and order an "oil change", subconsciously meaning required maintenance. Maintenance is not simply an oil change in car's engine, zealous driver should plan that budget somewhat bigger. But there is rational implication in such "reduced" notion of maintenance - this operation is central and sets timing rhythm of calling service to perform scheduled preventive maintenance.

Maintenance timing

First scheduled maintenance niva car undergo after 1500-2500 km run, that is nearly just after it was taken away from seller's showroom. As we are not manufacturer's official dealer, we recommend to perform first scheduled maintenance where you had bought a car, it may happen that you would have to replace something expensive under manufacturer's guarantee. If before first scheduled maintenance major fault in new vehicle had not been disclosed, thereafter probability of such mishap plunges and it is possible to make choice in favor of independent non-official service. If your car is holding a guarantee of an official dealer, it is good idea before visiting them on scheduled maintenance call us for diagnostics and advice anyway.

As for subsequent scheduled services now (2020) factory recommends maintenance interval, the span between scheduled servicing, to be equal 15000 km. From the moment first niva 2121 was introduced maintenance interval was 10000 km. For front-wheel driven passenger models AvtoVAZ started to recommend extended maintenance interval somewhere since mid-2000s, while 'classic' niva 21214 service book issued in 2012 still mentions 10000 -km service interval.

Thus there is certain level of chaos in official timing recommendations.

Longer maintenance intervals are justified in some sense. From mid-1990s oil quality in retail stores noticeably improved (provided it is not counterfeit), while manufacturer doggedly fights for quality of its car components.

Mileage between scheduled servicing specifically for niva cars is also determined by period between cardan drive shaft lubrications. Namely, slip spline joints, from where grease is easily squeezed out, and crosses (if latter present in your car). Probably most other maintenance tasks could wait a while.

Niva's engine differs from that engineered in 1970s for rear wheel driven lada passenger cars mainly in attempt to get maximum horsepower without significant change in cylinder block and head. Cardan drive shafts are basically the same and require frequent lubrication. Thus we recommend stick to an 'old' interval between maintenances of 10000 km.

Self-maintenance: tasks to perform by yourself

It is good thing to do periodically your own inspection, for example once in a fortnight the following:

Inspect wheels (is there a non-even tire thread wear, make sure all are visually look the same).

Park on the clean space in the evening and check for wet spots on tarmac next day.

Open bonnet and check whether engine is dry and if there is coolant in its reservoir, oil in engine sump; check whether headlamps and park lights work, as well as horn.

It is advised to pay attention when the car is running whether there is some new sound present, and if car maintain straight course when you release a steering wheel for a couple of seconds (first make sure that is not dangerous).

If you had noticed something unusual, probably your car's maintenance is overdue )

1 For example - steering tie rod play leads to wrong wheel alignment - to excessive load on other parts of steering linkage, excessive tire wear, rolling resistance and powertrain load.


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