Spare Parts and Tools

Knowing what to take on a trip must firstly begin with specific requirements to keep your vehicle running and how to conduct roadside service if the vehicle breaks down. If you are driving a 4WD vehicle then this means you need additional gear such as recovery equipment, and since mechanical breakdown in a remote area could mean certain death for the vehicle occupants, you must be able to conduct basic bush maintence and have the tools and spare parts to get the vehicle moving again.


Based on where you're going, how long and with how many passengers you may find that packing space becomes a premium and careful consideration must be given to how and where it will all fit (and to deciding if an item is a "need" or a "want"). Often you will need to consider the convenience of taking a trailer or of at least adding a roof rack to your vehicle setup.

Spare Parts

The point of taking spares is to carry the items that will enable you to keep driving ie. what will stop your vehicle from moving if it breaks due to a mechanical or physical problem eg. bearings, springs, flat tyre.

The list of spare parts you choose to take on a trip will depend on your assessment of risk vs packing space. Start by checking your vehicle service manual (sometimes difficult to obtain if you've purchased second-hand but worth the expense) and look at every spare item listed.

Even if you don't know how to perform the repair, at least if you have the parts with you someone who stops to help you might. Many townships cannot hope to keep stock every spare part for each vehicle type. To order and wait for parts to arrive in remote parts of the country are not only expensive and slow, but a waste of precious travelling time. It could really ruin your trip if you can't move on.

An ideal list would be:

  • Set of springs to suit your vehicle

  • Trailer spares if towing- springs, spring hangers, axle

  • Water pump and fuel pump kits

  • Ignition coil, plugs, condenser, points, rotor button, distributor cap

  • Radiator and heater hoses and clips

  • Spare belts for fan/aircon/alternator/power-steering etc

  • Flexible tubing and spare hose clamps

  • Fuses

  • 4mm and 6mm electrical cable

  • Electrical connectors

  • High-tension leads

  • Fuel filters, oil filters, air filter

  • Lubricants, fluids, oils

  • Wheel bearing kit and packing grease

  • 2 spare tyres (at least one spare wheel)

  • Puncture repair kit and recovery tools

  • At least 2 inner tubes (a tubeless tyre with a hole can hold air if you insert a tube)

  • Related tools from the list above
And it is also wise to carry spares of the following important items:

  • Aerials for UHF, HF

  • Globes for headlights, taillights, blinkers etc

  • Spare car keys[/LH]
  • Shock absorbers - optional. They don't stop the car and are readily available but driving without one shock is not only uncomfortable it can put such undue force on the other shocks that they are all likely to fail. Also fitting a mismatching length shock absorber on one side of the vehicle will do no good. May as well carry one or two if you have the space.


Someone in the vehicle (driver or passenger) should be capable of making basic repairs and performing recoveries but you need to have some tools. This list of tools is far from exhaustive but all vehicles taken into the outback, or anywhere where the Road Service help cannot be reached should have all these items packed into it permanently.

  • Shifting spanners (large and small)

  • Socket wrench set (with extensions and ratchet handle) * check special sizes

  • Vice grips and pipe wrench

  • Plug wrenches for diff, gearbox, sump

  • Standard pliers, long-nose, multigrips

  • Screwdriver set, flat tip and Philips head

  • Side cutters

  • Tinsnips

  • Bow saw, hacksaw and blades

  • Soldering iron (12volt)

  • Sharp knife and sharpening stone

  • Hand drill and bits

  • Rechargeable battery drill

  • Pop-rivet tool

  • Wire brush

  • Grease gun and spare cartridges

  • Sledge hammer

  • Tyre levers and mallet

  • Heavy duty air compressor

  • Tyre pressure gauge

  • Tyre valve tool

  • Wheel brace

  • Safety glasses

Practical Extras

Most experienced travellers will be able to add to this list a heap of other useful and practical items that they have come to find useful.

The following is such a list that works well for the ExplorOz Team - we find the whole lot mandatory, but we tend to opt for bush camps so therefore we must be totally self-reliant. A lot of it depends on how much bush camping and independence you require.

  • Full size or 3/4 axe for chopping wood (chain saw not necessary)

  • Various heads for mattock, pick

  • Jumper leads

  • "Poo" spade (additional to the long handled spade in the recovery gear checklist)

  • Solar panels (optional)

  • Generator (optional). Note, generators require either 2 stroke or petrol which may need to be carried separately and will take up room. Generators are not allowed to be run in the camping area of any National Park. Some, will provide a generator area for running up batteries etc.

  • Laptop computer for digital navigation and associated software

  • Detailed 4WD maps in appropriate scale

  • Related travel guide books and free camping guides

  • First aid kit and knowledge of bush survival

  • Ground sheet for car maintenance (double use as radiator blind)

  • Bucket for oil change

  • Welder (optional) and welding glasses

  • Torch, spare battery, spare globe

  • Old tins, jars with lid

  • Strong wire

  • Ball of twine or string

  • Fishing line

  • Self-tapping screws, nuts, bolts, washers, split pins

  • Duct tape, packing tape, insulation tape

  • Can of degreaser

  • Can of de-watering fluid (eg. WD40)

  • Hand cleaner, rags

  • Clear plastic such as perspex (spare windscreen)

  • Various powerboards, powercords, extensions leads (must have one 15amp lead with 15amp orange for outdoor use/caravan parks)

  • Electric lights, battery or gas lantern

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Created: June 2008
Revised: November 2006
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