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Remote travel is the most risky and difficult to prepare for. Depending on where you live, you can be hundreds of miles away from civilization. Therefore, if something goes wrong out there – you’re in big trouble.
That’s the reason why it’s so appealing though. It is a challenge; the preparation and journey will give you experiences that cannot be obtained in any other way. So, embrace the fear, put effort into the preparation, and the challenge will be overcome.
Below are some tips that will ensure vehicle preparation is done properly.
Never Make Big Alterations or New Mods to Your Vehicle Before a Big Trip
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New mods or big alterations may not work as well as imagined or can even fail if installed quickly. The rule of thumb is to never install anything new onto your vehicle two weeks before a big trip. Everything installed should be tested to make sure it is durable and suits your style of travel.
Preparing Your 4WD: Major Vehicle Service
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This one may sound obvious – you should do a major service to your vehicle two weeks before leaving for your expedition. Why two weeks? This timeframe will provide additional days to source a part that may be broken and is a bit hard to find. If you book it 2-3 days before your trip and the mechanic finds something wrong, they might not have the time to source and install the part.
Address Worn Parts
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Parts are many times worn but not ready to be replaced yet. Leaving parts that are in the last period of their usable life on your vehicle is fine for normal use. If you are taking your vehicle on a remote expedition, you should change them even if they still have some life left. The old slightly worn-out part can even be taken with you as a spare.
Let your mechanic know that the reason you brought the vehicle in for a major service is that you are leaving on a remote trip. This will ensure the mechanic knows what to look out for.
Preparing Your 4WD: Fill Out Your Spare Parts Kit
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Make sure your spare parts kit is up to date and check that everything is in it. If you would like to know what to carry in your spare parts kit, check out one of our previous articles.
Get Your Tool Kit in Order
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Check that you have all the tools you might need to repair the majority of things that can go wrong. We also have an article on what tools you should have with you on an overlanding trip. You can check it out here.
Preparing Your 4WD: Check the Condition of the Tires
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Your tires should have more than 65% tread left on them and if they are more than 5 years old consider changing them. Trails are not maintained in such remote areas; so, you never know what you might encounter out there. Therefore, be prepared for the worst.
Figure Out the Tire Pressures
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Work out the tire pressures you will need to be running on the motorway and off-road. Keep in mind that the tire pressure you are normally running will not suit a rig that is fully loaded for a big trip.
Preparing Your 4WD: Do Vehicle Checks Every Morning
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Every morning before you leave camp check your vehicle’s fluids and have a look underneath for any leaks or areas where paint has been chipped-off. Chipped-off paint may be an indication of parts rubbing against each other.
If the trails you are on are dusty take your air filter out and give it a good clean.
Use the Same Fluids as Your Mechanic
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Ask your mechanic what type and brand of fluids he uses in your vehicle and ensure you carry the same ones as spares.
Preparing Your 4WD: Prepare Your Recovery Kit
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Inspect and clean all your recovery gear to make sure it is in good working order. You should also check that your winch works properly – especially if you were on a wet and muddy trip recently.
Verify Your Air Compressor Works
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Your air compressor is one of the most important accessories on your 4WD, it can actuate your lockers and inflate your tires. Check that it works as it should before leaving.
Preparing Your 4WD: Get a First Aid Kit and Fire Extinguisher
Go through your first aid kit to make sure everything is in it. Furthermore, check that your fire extinguisher is charged and ready to go.
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Finally, you should have a look at your radio communication devices and sat phone to ensure everything is charged and working as it should.
If you are planning on heading on a remote trip, I imagine that you already have some experience in overlanding. Therefore, some of the points above may sound obvious. However, even the most seasoned overlanders forget stuff sometimes; so, this can work as a good reminder list.
What do you think? Are there any other areas that must be checked before leaving on a remote overlanding trip?