If you plan on travelling seriously remote areas, you should prepare yourself adequately to be able to repair your vehicle yourself.
If the belts and hoses on your vehicle are more than a few years old, seriously consider taking along replacement belts and hoses. They do not take up a lot of space and can be packed into a sealed plastic bag; with a bit of silicon spray in the bag it will last for many years. It is, however, good practice to replace rubber components after a few years as they do become brittle.
Take along the following:
- Extra tyre valves, both the inner and the entire unit. When running in thick mud, it is not uncommon for the valves to get damaged, and all the tyre repair kits in the world won’t fix that.
- Spare light bulbs for every light on the vehicle, headlights, running lights, indicators, brake lights.
- Fuel filter and oil filter. Air filters are easy to clean, so you can reuse your air filter. However, if you plan on crossing rivers, take a spare one in case yours gets damp. It is better to replace it with a dry one, even if only temporarily.
- Spare oil for the engine, and a couple of litres of gearbox and differential oil.
- If you have a long range fuel pump, get a small spare pump with a hose that you can put into the long range tank and pump over to the main tank should the pump, electrics or switches fail.
- Take spare wire, connectors, fuses and electrical tape, and tools to apply them.
- Tow strap. If you’re planning on driving muddy areas, you need a strap longer than 15 meters. Make sure your tow points are sufficiently strong to be towed out of thick sand or mud. The standard ones are inadequate.
- Bow shackles. Make sure they are double the minimum specification required for your vehicle.
- Bottle jacks for changing tyres.
- A hi-lift jack. Make sure you know how to use it as this is a dangerous piece of equipment.
- Plates to prevent the jack from sinking into sand/mud (improvise!).
- Jumper cables to charge a run-down battery.
- Make and take a small wire tool with a ’rake’ on the end (about 1 m long) for cleaning out the grass from areas around the radiator and under the vehicle.
- If travelling in cold weather, make sure you take along sufficient emergency type gear to keep people warm, dry and visible.