Mini First Aid & Some Top Travel Tips

Howdy once again to all Pork Pie 2019 teams. Not many sleeps now until kick off so all very exciting!


Hopefully you will have any last minute niggles with your cars sorted and have had a chance to cover some miles to settle the car, and yourselves in, for a great trip.


We got Sparky back from the painters after his unscheduled rust repairs, fitted a new screen, which was cracked from the 2017 run, and gave him a good buff up so the sides and rear match the shiny new front . Over the last week he’s been used for commuting, a trip to the Auckland Mini Club and a Sunday blast to Caffeine & Classics, so a good mix of motorway and A road driving.


For my last blog I thought I would focus on a few useful items to take in order to carry out any minor repairs on the run should the need arise. Also a couple of top tips that we have found useful on past events to make the days go a little more smoothly.


So, lets start with Mini first aid.


  • Spare wheel – make sure you have one, that it has good tread and that it’s not flat! If your car has mags with some kind of funky wheel nut and the spare is a steel wheel make sure to have suitable nuts for the spare. Also, if you have lock nuts make sure to pack the key for them!
  • Jack and wheel brace or suitable tools for wheel removal
  • Spare engine oil. I check our car every day on the run. As we all know minis can be prone to either burning or leaking oil, so wise to check.
  • Water – I chuck a 1.5lt fizzy drink bottle of water in the boot just in case.
  • Jerry can – not essential but I like to have one. I find the first day can be a bit frantic and as we cover a huge distance I like to have 10lt in the boot so I can do a quick splash and dash if required. Also useful on the South Island where gas stations can be a bit more spread out. If you do bring one keep it in the boot for safety.
  • Wire, electrical connectors and spare fuses – wire can also be used for lashing stuff together if required.
  • Points, condenser and spark plugs – good idea to bring a spare set. Condensers are not made to the same quality as back in the day so can fail which will then burn out the points. If your car has a Halls effect style electronic ignition kit such as Powerspark etc. take a set of suitable points & condenser for your model of distributor. Although these ignition kits are usually very reliable the odd one does fail.
  • Fan belt
  • Assorted spanners, sockets, screwdrivers and general tool set
  • For all new MINI owners, please ignore the above….you’ll be fine!!


So that’s it for a very basic first aid kit. I’m sure many of you will have other ideas of items you think you may need, coil, wheel bearings etc. If you think of an item that seems important and you have space then take it. Generally there are enough people with other random parts to keep cars going in nearly all situations.


Top Tips


Over the last few runs Tracey and I have refined a few little pointers that we find help our days go a bit smoother and reduce the possibility of getting scratchy with each other!


  • Set your GPS for the destination before leaving our hotel each morning. There are still areas we travel through, particularly on the South Island, that have patchy or no cell phone coverage. By setting the destination your GPS will be hooked to a satellite and give uninterrupted directions all day.
  • Day bag – we like to have what we term a “day bag” in the front of the car. This contains items required during the day such as money, sun glasses, route book, phones, water etc. It’s easy to biff everything in your suitcase then get 10km down the road, realise you need an item in the case and have to go through the hassle of finding said item in the back of a cramped mini. We find the day bag negates this issue for us.
  • Stop often for fuel – Best not to let your gas tank run too low as you never know where the next gas station might be. If we need the bathroom we will usually stop at a gas station and do a top up at the same time, even if the tank is still half full. Just takes the stress out of running low.
  • Fill up each night at our destination town and check oil and water. The mornings can be a bit frantic so I like to have the car ready to go the night before. Then all we have to do in the morning is have breakfast, pack our bags and we are good to go.
  • Take regular breaks. We will be covering some big distances so 8-10 hours on the road on some days is likely. We like to stop every couple of hours, even if it’s just for 10 minutes to stretch our legs, get some air and swap drivers if one of us is getting tired.
  • Most importantly have fun and look out for each other!


See you in Kaitaia.



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