Things are slowly taking a turn towards the positive. We can exercise, we can explore more, and it’s time to swop the tar for the dirt roads. Get some mud on your windscreen, maybe even get stuck without a map. Here are some tips when it comes to going off-road.
Ensure that all your fluids have been checked and topped up – coolant, oil, windshield washer, power steering fluid, brake fluid, etc. Check that nothing is leaking and that your air filter is clear.
Make sure the condition of your tyres is good as well as the spare. They ned to inflated to proper highway speed pressures and have good tread.
Check your ball joints, tie rod ends and wheel bearings by jacking up your car. Check for any excess movement on your tyres by rocking the wheel in and out.
Ensure your shocks don’t have leakage, damage, or are just worn out.
Plan and inform others
Let family and close friends know you’ll be heading out, and when you plan on returning. Let them know when they need to start worrying about you.
Check the weather
Check what the weather is going to be like where you’re going. Prepare yourself with the necessary clothing and protective gear (rain jackets, hats, sunblock, etc). It doesn’t hurt to pack a little extra clothing either.
Toilet paper! Pack it in a zip-lock bag.
Make sure your cellphone is full charged before leaving. You can even pack in a power bank.
Hand-held GPS units are easy to handle and can be a valuable tool. Should an emergency arise, you’ll quickly learn why it’s vital to pack.
Food & Water
You can’t pack enough food and water. Even on the short trips. Think bottled water, energy bars and dried fruit. Items that don’t need to be in the fridge and are easy to eat. Avoid salty food like chips and biltong unless you have plenty to drink.
Make sure your petrol tank is full, and fill up again when reaching your destination, even if you think you have more than enough.
The last thing you want it to be stuck without jumper cables where no one else has as well.
Make sure your jack is working and that you know how to use it.
Spare for a spare
If you have the capacity, carry an extra spare tyre just in case. If you can only fit one spare, carry a repair kit, just in case.
Cold weather warning
If there is even a slightly chance of snow, carry tyre chains for all four wheels and know how to use them.
Carry a tool kit that helps with the basics of your car.
First aid kit
A well-equipped first aid kit is key when going off road.
Lights and markers
Make sure all your lights work, and that you have a reflective triangle in your car.