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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Use This Overlanding Vehicle Checklist to Make Sure Your Rig is Ready to Go

Photo by jeffbergen via iStock 

Are you planning an overlanding adventure soon? Whether you’re a seasoned overlander or a first-timer, preparation is key to ensuring a successful trip. A crucial part of that preparation is making sure that your vehicle is ready for the rigors of off-road travel and extended trips. This is where an overlanding vehicle checklist comes in handy.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive overlanding vehicle checklist to ensure that your rig is in top condition before you hit the road. We’ll cover everything from the engine and drivetrain to tires and suspension, electrical systems, belts and hoses, brakes, and gear mounts. Our aim is to help you have a safe and enjoyable overlanding experience by ensuring that your vehicle is well-prepared for any challenges you may encounter along the way.

By following this checklist, you’ll be able to identify any potential issues with your vehicle before they become a problem. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on the adventure ahead. So let’s dive into the details and get your overlanding vehicle ready for the journey of a lifetime!

Table of Contents

Overlanding Vehicle Checklist: Engine & Drivetrain

Pouring motor oil for motor vehicles from a gray bottle into the engine

Photo by deepblue4you via iStock

The engine and drivetrain are the heart and soul of your overlanding vehicle, and they need to be in top condition to handle the terrains of off-road travel. A thorough inspection of your engine and drivetrain is crucial before embarking on any overlanding trip.

Start by checking the oil level and quality, and replace it if necessary. Ensure that all fluids, such as coolant, transmission, and brake fluids, are at the proper levels. Inspect the air filter and replace it if it’s dirty or clogged. A dirty air filter can reduce engine performance and cause premature wear and tear on your engine.

oil leakage from rear axle gearbox leads to lack of lubrication and destruction of the gears of wheel drive mechanism

Photo by Дмитрий Коростылев via iStock

Next, examine the drivetrain components, such as the axles, differentials, and transfer case. Check for leaks, cracks, or any signs of damage. Grease all the fittings, and if you notice any noises, have them inspected by a mechanic. Check the condition of the clutch or automatic transmission and ensure that it’s working correctly. Replace the transmission fluid and filter if required. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, engage and disengage the system to make sure it’s working correctly.

Inspect the fuel system, including the fuel filter and lines. Check for leaks or damage, and replace any worn or damaged components. A clogged fuel filter can cause fuel starvation and engine performance issues, so it’s essential to replace it regularly.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your engine and drivetrain are in top condition before hitting the road. A well-maintained engine and drivetrain will not only improve performance and reliability but also give you peace of mind as you embark on your overlanding adventure.




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Overlanding Vehicle Checklist: Tires & Suspension

MORRFlate TenSix air compressor

First, inspect your tires for any signs of damage, such as cuts, punctures, or sidewall damage. Check the tread depth and ensure that it’s within legal limits. Inflating your tires to the recommended pressure, taking into account the weight of gear and passengers, is essential. 

Having an air compressor on hand is critical for airing up tires quickly and efficiently, and the MORRFlate’s TenSix Portable 12v Off Road Air Compressor is an excellent option. With a 10.6 CFM dual-cylinder compressor and a 150 psi rating, it can inflate a set of 35″ tires in under 5 minutes. It also comes with a PSI cutoff switch and a 50% duty cycle.

As you can see, this unit is a bright neon green, which makes it easy to see to avoid tripping. Of course, its unique and eye-catching coloring is only part of its appeal!

The MORRFlate’s Mega Quad Kit is an equally important component to consider for larger vehicles. It can inflate, deflate, and equalize the air pressure in up to 6 tires simultaneously, reducing the stress on your compressor. This kit enables you to check all of the tires’ PSI from one spot, effortlessly equalize tire pressures, and make all 4-6 tires the same pressure. It fits up to a 200″ wheelbase with the air source in the middle of the front or rear bumper areas.

morrflate with hoses

In addition to your tires, inspect your suspension components such as shocks, struts, and springs. Check for any leaks, cracks, or signs of wear. Upgrade to heavy-duty suspension components if you plan on carrying a lot of gear or towing a trailer. Upgrading your suspension system will not only improve ride comfort but also enhance your vehicle’s off-road capabilities.

Overlanding Vehicle Checklist: Storage

cargo dog 1

As many of you know, I have a Jeep Gladiator, and while I love my truck, it has a very small bed, so storage can be an issue. If you’re in the same boat, adding storage for your overlanding trips is a must.

You can go several routes here – you can add a roof rack, a bed rack, or interior storage. The first two options are self-explanatory, but the third option warrants a little more detail.

The best option for increasing Jeep Gladiator storage is hands-down the Cargo Dog Gladiator Storage System. But why?

cargo dog 2

First, Cargo Dog installs in a matter of minutes. Better still, you can uninstall it in a matter of minutes and put the rear seats back in your truck when you need them.

Second, with Cargo Dog in the back of your truck, you get ample in-floor storage for your gear, be that clothing, recovery gear, tools, or something in between. Each storage bin is lockable and lit with LEDs, so you can keep gear secure and find what you need in the dark, too.

cargo dog 3

Third, Cargo Dog offers a completely flat surface where you can add additional items you need for your trip. Stack bins of clothes or dry goods, create a space for your dog to hang out while you drive, or use it for grabbing a quick nap on the road. The possibilities are endless!

On top of all that, you can use Cargo Dog in place of all or part of the backseat, so you can customize how much storage and seating you retain in the truck at the same time. With impeccable build quality, an ingenious incognito design, and a warranty against manufacturer defects, this bad boy is a must for your overlanding adventures in your Gladiator (or Wrangler Unlimited, too!). Best of all, you can get 10 percent off with the coupon code 4WD10 right now!

Overlanding Vehicle Checklist: Electrical Systems

Car engine alternator

Photo by Wirestock via iStock

Properly functioning electrical systems are essential for an overlanding vehicle. A breakdown in any part of the electrical system can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. It’s crucial to inspect your vehicle’s electrical systems before embarking on any overlanding adventure. 

Start by inspecting your battery and alternator. Check for any signs of corrosion on the battery terminals, and clean and tighten them if necessary. Ensure that the battery is fully charged and the alternator is functioning correctly. Test the battery with a battery tester, and replace it if necessary. A weak battery or alternator can cause starting problems, especially in cold weather.

Inspect the wiring and connectors, making sure that all connections are tight and secure. Check for any frayed or damaged wiring, and replace or repair it as necessary. Inspect your vehicle’s fuses and replace any blown fuses. Make sure to carry spare fuses on your trip. Test all the lights, including headlights, turn signals, and brake lights, to ensure that they’re working correctly. Replace any burned-out bulbs.




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Overlanding Vehicle Checklist: Belts & Hoses

Fan belt and v-belt powering alternator

Photo by djedzura via iStock

Belts and hoses are essential components of an overlanding vehicle that are often overlooked. However, a breakdown in either of these components can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. It’s essential to inspect your vehicle’s belts and hoses before embarking on any overlanding adventure. 

Start by inspecting the serpentine belt and timing belt. Check for any signs of wear or damage, such as cracks or fraying. If the belt shows signs of wear, it’s crucial to replace it before heading out on your trip. A broken serpentine or timing belt can cause major engine damage.

A mechanic loosens the engine intake air duct

Photo by Michael Edwards via iStock

Inspect your vehicle’s hoses, including the radiator hoses and heater hoses. Check for any signs of damage, such as cracks or leaks. If you notice any issues, replace the affected hoses. A leaking hose can cause your vehicle to overheat, leading to engine damage and a breakdown.

Check the hose clamps to ensure that they’re tight and secure. Tighten any loose clamps, and replace any damaged ones. Loose clamps can cause a hose to come loose, leading to leaks and overheating – which is the last thing you want when you’re overlanding!

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