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A Community for Fanatics of Land Rovers

The Land Rover Discovery 3 has become one of the most popular used Land Rovers to buy. The main reasons for this are that the used Disco 3 offers great value for money, is extremely comfortable, incredibly capable, has a high spec even in the base S model, offers a great drive, was a multiple SUV award winner and has a good looks yet functional design. The benefits far outweigh the negatives, but there are some negatives to consider. It is a heavy vehicle at almost 3 tons, not that you'd notice driving it, it has a significant amount of electronics and apparently complicated systems which can make maintenance expensive. However the available knowledge and skill to repair these vehicles outside of the dealer network is significant and continues to increase all the time. So if you do your homework properly and are prepared to learn and understand your vehicle you can enjoy owning a luxury Land Rover at a fraction of the cost of a new one.

The Discovery 3 was available in South Africa from 2005 - 2009, essentially there were there were TDV6 diesel and petrol V8 models in three variants S, SE and HSE. The base model Discovery S was generously speced with many features standard especially on the older model years. Read some vehicle reviews done at the time of introduction to understand the models and the differences.

Buying a used Land Rover Discovery 3 is not that difficult as along as you pay attention to some key points. Firstly it is obviously ideal to find a vehicle with a clean and solid service record, but possibly more important than that is to look at the frequency and quality of these services, regular oil changes at 12000km is the ideal, some model years like 2008 were done at 24000km, this is not ideal and could raise questions about the longevity of the engine. Low mileage is also ideal but again possibly more importantly is the condition of the vehicle, by looking at it and driving it, it should be fairly evident if it has been looked after and treated well. A Discovery 3 in mint condition should be immaculate, the interior should be clean and undamaged, the exterior and undercarriage should be free from any dents or bashing from off roading. The drive should be smooth and quiet, any noise, clunks in drive train or steering and loose items inside or in engine area should raise some concerns. Consumption on the on-board computer can range depending on driving style and speed from 8.5L - 11 L/100km, this translates to 9.5 - 12 L/100km in reality.

Owning a used Discovery 3 means that you will need to follow a regular maintenance cycle as well as consider doing to additional preventative maintenance work to make sure that you don't have an unexpected mechanical failure. In addition to the maintenance there are also many upgrades and mods that you can do to your vehicle to make it more usable or increase performance or just make it more reliable minimise some of the complexity. These vehicles had so many features and new technology that understanding it all takes some reading, there is a great summary of all of this at the Discovery 3 and 4 FAQ.

Land Rover Discovery 3 Maintenance

Regular maintenance cycle
The regular maintenance cycle is 12000km for normal use. The basic frequent service items like changing oil, filters and brake pads can be done quite comfortably by a home mechanic. The basic requirement is to change the oil and filter every 1200km and then the air filter and pollen filter at every ?? and the fuel filter every ?? Have a look at the complete Discovery 3 service schedule for full details of routine maintenance.

Known problems and issues
Lower control arm bushes - knocking from front at low speed going over small bumps or speed humps
Driver seat rock
Engine failures
Steering column wear resulting in steering knock through steering wheel

Upgrades and Mods
DeCAT - removing the catalytic converter
EGR blanking - blanking off the exhaust gas recirculation valves
Spare wheel removal mod - to remove the spare wheel without unpacking rear load bay
Disco 3 Tips

Disco 3 UK Maintenance Wiki
Discovery 3 Workshop manual
Preventative maintenance
The preventative maintenance items can be done pro actively to avoid unexpected or untimely breakdowns or you can just ignore them and deal with them as and when they crop up. Also if you have just bought a vehicle and can't verify when or if these items have been taken care of then some people like to get them done as a matter of course. The dates and mileage given below is only an indication based on experiences form other owners.
Replace the battery - every 3 years
@ 100 000 km
Replace the water outlet assembly Part number 1357091
Compressor - service air suspension compressor – check / replace valves and silica gel upgrade Hitachi to AMK conversion R9800 stealers no# LR 0443600 software upgrade needed
Replace turbo inlet hose - especially if excessive sweating or leaking oil
Replace brake light switch
Rear tail light bulbs
Keep checking the terminals on the ECU behind the battery for corrosion and clean
Replace/check alternator @ 150k
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