Cars are not perfect and designing a rental car for Mongolia is not on top of the mind of most car designers and engineers.

What you should know and how you can avoid any disappointment:

Check engine light turns on due to dust

A very common cause for this in Mongolia is dust on the air flow sensor. To avoid such issues keep your distance on unpaved roads from the car ahead of you.

Avoid that the car breathes dust and sand, especially in the Gobi desert!

Broken differential due to driving on 4WD mode too long

Driving longer distances on 4WD mode will cause excessive wear and tear on the differential system and eventually cause a breakdown within several hundred kilometers.

Only use 4WD for short periods, when you really really need it (e.g.: when stuck in sand). Otherwise keep it switched off. Several car parts will overheat when you drive long in 4WD and break eventually.

Broken fuel pump due to overheating caused by low fuel tank

Driving on nearly empty fuel tank stops the cooling function of the circulating gasoline. The small amount of the remaining gasoline will heat up and the fuel pump can break. Therefore the rule of thumb is to never drive in the Gobi desert with less than 1/3 full tank. Keep the tank full and the fuel pump will work properly. Ideally you can add Injection Cleaner fuel additives to enhance the fuel pump lubrication and reduce the risks caused by bad/old fuel from gas stations.

Do not race on gravel roads

Do not race on gravel roads and especially in the Gobi or other rough terrain. A sudden turn can cause the car to tip and roll over.

Do not cross deep water

Crossing a river with the car might look like a tempting adventure and is done by many Mongolians but be aware that this can quickly go wrong (and is not allowed in your rental contract – you loose any insurance coverage for your entire rental).

Any water deeper than half a tire can be dangerous. Currents can be stronger than expected and water entering the engine quickly can end your trip and leave an unpleasant repair bill.

Do not attempt to drive onto a sand dune, you WILL GET STUCK!

It might be a fun idea to drive a 4×4 onto a sand dune until it isn’t. It is guaranteed that you will get stuck. Far away from a spot where another vehicle can drive close to you and pull you out.

Digging endless sand around the tires usually results in the vehicle just sinking in and sitting right in the middle of the chassis on sand. Temperatures are hot and a recovery will take a long time. So to avoid this headaches, just park the vehicle before the sun and run onto the sand dunes 🙂

Hitting potholes with or without water or mud

Be gentle on your rental. It’s not a rally car with race suspensions. Potholes in Mongolia can be unforgiving, deeper and harder than expected. Therefore please avoid them.

Overtaking a truck or any vehicle in Mongolia is dangerous

Overtaking a vehicle in Mongolia is different than overtaking a vehicle in most other countries. Roads are rough and the vehicle you are overtaking might sheer to the left quickly due to a pothole or a crossing animal, squeezing you to the edge of the road. The same applies for yourself and you might need to maneuver away from a pothole or an animal. The majority of cars have the steering wheel on the wrong side in Mongolia, the drivers in these vehicles have no visibility past a truck in front of them and their overtaking is often without any prior view into the opposite traffic. Therefore watch out for these vehicles on both sides of the road.

An extraordinary amount of animals are crossing roads at night -driving at night is dangerous!

Horses, goats, sheep, cows, yaks, foxes and many other animals like to cross roads at night. They often sit on the side of the road in the sinks where there is water or a wind protected area.

Driving at night has a very high risk of animal crossings. Therefore we suggest to not plan any driving longer than 4pm. Instead of driving you should enjoy a relaxed evening around a camp fire and watch the stars.

Make sure to tighten the nuts after exchanging a tire

Changing a wheel due to a tire puncture can happen on a trip around Mongolia. Make sure the bolts are tight and recheck them regularly. Loose nuts can risk loosing a wheel while driving. Inform MyCar.Rent and get the broken wheel repaired at the next tire shop. Please inform about the wheel change at the vehicle return again to our staff to ensure the car gets checked and will be in perfect condition for the next rental.

When keeping these aspects in mind, you can have a safe and stress free drive around Mongolia!

It’s much easier than you think as long you follow “No risk, more fun!”

Bon voyage!