Driving to Baja – Preparing for the Trip
Many miles of good road can be offset greatly by just a few miles of bad road! (It WILL happen).
Many Baja visitors will want to venture off of the main roads…this is where you must really be prepared.
We have prepared a list of suggested vehicle maintenance and precautions to take when preparing to drive into Baja. Most are just common sense, but it is easy to overlook, or forget small things that can make a big difference in how easy your trip will be. A small bit of preparedness can save hours, or even days of waiting to have a breakdown repaired, which is never nice during a vacation. These suggestions come from years of experience, and advice from others who know much more than we do about preparing a vehicle for a long journey. The list of items is not that difficult to achieve and can end up saving you a lot of headaches.
Our list is pretty general, but it applies to most vehicles. If you are not planning to leave the main highways, you can probably get by with a thorough routine service (read the list anyway). If you are planning to leave the highway, and enjoy some of the more remote regions – follow our suggestions! There are probably some items you may want to add to the list…a second spare tire and a high lift jack, for example.
We also have created the list in a PDF file that you can easily print. Print the list and use it as a checklist. Click Here for the PDF version, the file will open in a new window. You may have to allow pop ups in your browser.
Our list is for reference only, there will likely be other items that you will need, or want to take with you, depending on your particular situation and the type of vehicle that you will be driving. This list you see below is only a portion of the list we prepared for printing.
Frequent Baja Vehicle Failures Include:
Roof Rack Mounts – Off Road Lighting/Mounts – Battery Tray/Hold-Down – Shock Absorbers – Radiator/Hoses – Exhaust System – Tires – Jack – Spare Tire Carrier – Fuel Tank – Aftermarket Accessories
Have your vehicle serviced and inspected, even if it is not time for a scheduled service. This service should include the inspection or replacement of the following items:
Engine Oil & Filter – Fuel Filters (some vehicles have more than one) – Air Filter – Spark Plugs (& points, if applicable) – Gear Box, Transfer Case & Differential Oils – Drive Shafts – Wheel Bearings & Hubs – Brakes (Hand-Brake also) – Belts (Fan Belts, A/C Belt, etc.) – Air Conditioner – Hoses & Coolant – Lights & Battery – Tires (they should have at least 50% tread left) – Carefully Check the Installation of any Aftermarket Accessories
Spare Parts List:
(Many items can be bought locally, but that doesn’t mean a thing if you are stuck in the middle of the desert.)
Fuel Filters – Belts – Fuses – Oil – Transmission Fluid – Keys – Coolant
Other Items To Take:
Duct Tape – Wire – Bungee Cords – Rope – HD Cord – Tow Rope/Cable – Tire Repair Kit (for tubeless tires, or a spare tube) – Slime – Good 12-volt Compressor – Good Jack (and something to stabilize it in soft sand) – Miscellaneous Tools – Drinking Water – First Aid Kit – Good Baja Map – Portable GPS Unit (optional)
Click Here for the PDF version, the file will open in a new window. You may have to allow pop ups in your browser.