4-Wheel-Driving Safety Tips

Assemble the following items in a storage container to keep on-board. Be sure to tie down and secure all items in your vehicle. Loose tools and spare parts can become dangerous projectiles if the vehicle stops suddenly or encounters large bumps along the way. While chances are slim that you'd actually need them, you should pack enough food and camping equipment to be able to stay alive and relatively comfortable for several days in adverse conditions.

Other items to include:
-spare tire
-a good hydraulic jack (and a piece of thick plywood for a jack base)
-first aid kit (suntan lotion, insect spray, burn ointment, ace bandage, iodine, bandages)
-packable foods - Army surplus stores carry them
-compass (or GPS if you can afford one)
-regional guidebooks to help you located off-road trails
-flashlight or lantern (check the batteries before you go)
-waterproof matches
-2 boards (about 2-feet long)
-aerial or road flares
-duct tape
-electrical tape
-tarp or ground cover
-at least 1 gallon of water per person
-mobile phone (but remember that mobiles have limited coverage)
-maps, trail guides
-fire extinguisher
-air compressor (aerosol "fix-a-flat" works well in a pinch)
-2 gallons of water for the radiator (not antifreeze).
-1 gallon of engine oil
-2-quarts 80/90w gear oil for diff's and transfer
-5 gallons of spare gas/diesel
-1-pint brake fluid & funnel for all fluids
-an axe
-if you'll be riding in dunes, take along a flag so people can see you
-washer fluid
-garbage bags
-towels, rags
-bungee cords
-snow chains with tensions (correct sizes with rubber or spring straps, not cable-chains!)
-2 D-ring shackles
-a recovery strap
-tow hooks properly mounted to your 4x4
-basic tool kit
-spark-plug socket
-jump leads
-tire pressure gauge
-some key spare parts
-8000-lbs winch and winch kit
-appropriate manuals for your vehicle for quick repairs
-rain suit
-spare warm clothing (even in summer; temperatures fall dramatically after dark)

When the fun is over and done, the work has yet to begun. You need to take care of your vehicle so it will take care of you on your next off-road adventure.

Some important things to do:
When returning to the road, first disengage the diff lock (if applied). Then stop and take the time to check your vehicle for any minor damage. Check for cuts to the tires, bent steering rods and debris that might have become lodged in the underside of the vehicle. Check for body damage that will rub against tires or be a hazard to others, and remove mud stuck to the wheels (which causes tire imbalance).

After you return home, service your 4x4. Fluids and filters need to be changed more often when you drive on rough terrain. Transmissions, transfer gearboxes, differentials, hubs and brakes can be contaminated with mud and water. These parts need to be cleaned and serviced when used under such conditions.