HERO 4x4xplore - Exclusive worldwide adventures in your own 4x4
Forthcoming Events
The Grand Tour of India
La Adventura Panamericana
The Great Tour of China 2006
The African Adventure
The Great Tour of China 2004
Arctic Winter Trial


Inca Trail
7 Oct - 24 Nov. 2001

shim London to Capetown 1998
4x4xplore home

Spares and Equipment

It is easy to overload your car with spares and tools. Excessive weight adds a great strain to its suspension and transmission. "Travel light" is always the best motto. So in a small car you may be better off not taking all the items below.

But there are some basic items which everyone should carry. What you actually take depends in part on the carrying capability and power of your car, in part on its known weak spots, and in part on your own ability to work on it!

Here is our suggested checklist for classic cars - 4x4s are hopefully not as vulnerable, but this list is still largely applicable (again, not comprehensive):

1 Water

- 5 litres of drinking water (preferably bottled mineral water) per person (compulsory for all crews)

2 Spare Parts

- two spare wheels (both properly mounted; at least one accessible without major unloading).

- spare fuel container(s): properly designed metal cans (e g 20-litre jerricans) to give you a range of up to 500 km. These should not be filled except when necessary, and must be securely fastened. They must not be carried in the passenger compartment.

- additional spare inner tube(s)

- fanbelt (or 2)

- top & bottom radiator hoses

- extra coil (NB this can be wired in place so it can be connected quickly if required)

- extra fuel pump (NB this can be wired in place so it can be connected quickly if required

- distributor cap (possibly, distributor unit too)

- rotor arm

- set of points

- set of spark plugs

- fuses

- condenser

- voltage regulator

- spare electrical switch(es)

- light bulbs (full set, including interior/map lights!- in some countries, it is a legal requirement to carry a spare set of bulbs)

- wiper blades (fit new ones before the event, too)

- spare radiator cap (and/or wire/chain the cap to the bodywork)

- spare fuel filler cap (and/or wire/chain the cap to the bodywork)

- speedo cable (especially if relying on speedo-driven Halda)

- extra set of wheelnuts (or centre-lock spinners, one for each direction)

- extra set of wheel studs

- gasket set

- temporary windscreen

- if you can spare the weight: bigger items such as dynamo, an alternator, battery, halfshafts, etc., especially if these are weak points on your car

3 Tools etc.

- 2 electric torches, with spare batteries and bulbs

- warning triangle (compulsory - a cheap light one is best, as you’ll probably leave it behind if you have to use it!)

- top quality tow rope: long and strong, and preferably with shackles at each end: (A winch is not essential)

- jump leads

- engine oil: 1 or 2 litres (replenish by buying en route)

- tube of grease

- funnel (cranked, if necessary, or add old rad hose - plastic funnel is lighter than metal)

- top class fuel filter (possibly combined with above)

- heavy duty jack - a trolley or high-lift jack if your car can easily carry it - together with strengthened and accessible jacking points

- strong flat bit of wood, for putting jack on

- axle stands - heavy but desirable if you can carry them (get aluminium ones if possible) (NEVER get under the car when it’s on the jack alone - put the spare wheel under the sill, if that’s all you’ve got)

- reasonably strong plastic sheet or old sack, for lying under the car on

- usual toolbag: spanners, socket set, screwdrivers, pliers, snips, Allen keys, star drives, plug spanner, feeler gauges, adjustable spanners, Mole wrench, sharp knife, hand drill, etc.

- tyre levers (optional - they are heavy) - again consider aluminium ones

- magnet on flexible stalk

- good wheelbrace (not the flimsy standard item - carry that as spare)

- spare nuts, bolts, washers, etc.

- half a dozen bungee straps (the rallyman’s no 1 friend!)

- big roll of genuine, strong canvas tank tape - the real article is VERY expensive, so don’t lend it!

- lots of cable ties (strong nylon ones are the most versatile)

- good lengths of electrical wire, for emergency repairs (including tying things back on)

- insulating tape and/or masking tape

- string

- armoured plastic tubing

- aerosol of puncture mousse

- Jubilee clips, medium and small, for (i) rad hoses; (ii) fuel lines

- WD40

- screen cleaning detergent

- screenwash/antifreeze fluid

- radiator welding fluid

- gasket leak ditto

- tube of Gun Gum

- tube of Swarfega

- leather/cloth for cleaning screen

- Araldite/superglue/JB weld

- de-icing fluid, and scraper

- your vehicle’s owner’s manual, and preferably workshop manual

If you can, go round the vehicle to check what spanners/sockets/drivers you actually need to work on key components, and take just these.

You will note that a lot of the above items are for crudely lashing things back together, when they break or fall off. Well, that’s rallying!

Fit strong bumpers and towing eye; these should be mounted quite high, and not too far under the vehicle, up for easy access.

Paradoxically, exhaust systems which are slightly loose-fitting are less likely to fracture than those which are welded up solid. Steel battery-straps slung from the chassis under the exhaust will keep it from falling off altogether if it does break.


Contact 4x4xplore
About 4x4xplore
How we look after you
rollover test
Useful Links
What 4x4
what 4x4
test 4x4
Sample Roadbook
Hero 4x4 Home
High Road
shim shim