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Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:31 pm
by Toekan
Hi all,

I'm driving from Europe to Central Asia and back in May/June/July. Plan is to go through Turkey/Iran/Uzbekistan/Tajikistan/Kyrgysztan and from there back through Kazakhstan and Russia.

I still have to buy a second-hand car for this, which means I can try to choose brand/model/etc smartly. From reading around, a 4wd doesn't seem necessary, even for the Pamir highway, but do people have certain recommendations? As far as I know Toyota is very prevalent in Iran and Central Asia, so that seems a good idea fixing wise? Any other (unexpected) brands that are convenient? Is diesel hard to find in some countries, or it doesn't matter?

Thanks!

Frederik

Re: Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:49 pm
by steven
Toyota is easiest for parts. Diesel is hard to find in Uzbekistan.

Some advice here: http://caravanistan.com/travel-tips/how ... tral-asia/

More advice re fuel etc at http://caravanistan.com/transport/driving/ and then country pages

Re: Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:50 am
by Toekan
Ok, thanks! Will stick to a Toyota on petrol then :)

Re: Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:21 pm
by Toekan
Considering the limited time and the not so big Belgian 2nd hand market, turns out I can't specifically aim at one model or brand. Some of the cars I'm considering (right price range, decent brand, enough horse power to get us up a mountain) are automatic transmission, have driven these before, but no extensive experience with them. Are there strong arguments not to take them? Uphill/downhill driving? Do they have a higher chance of certain expensive/impossible to fix mechanical failures? And maybe not unimportant, do they exist in the car mixture of Iran and the stans? Or will mechanics have no idea what to do with it?

Have googled around but couldn't really find red flags. Nor any information on them in the car market of those countries.

Re: Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:52 am
by steven
Automatic is fine. I drive an automatic car in Central Asia. A 1998 Honda CRV. Seems to work fine.

Toyota is not a must, it's just a preference.

Re: Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:52 am
by Toekan
Bought a 17 yo Ford Mondeo with automatic transmission in the end, not the perfect adventure car I guesss, but should be better than a worn out Citroen C3 of a family member I had in mind first. :D

Re: Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:38 am
by steven
Good luck!!

Re: Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:10 pm
by eurasiaoverland
Toekan wrote:Bought a 17 yo Ford Mondeo with automatic transmission in the end, not the perfect adventure car I guesss, but should be better than a worn out Citroen C3 of a family member I had in mind first. :D
Not a good choice, make sure it is in excellent condition when leaving. There are plenty of used cars in Central Asia, but mostly Japanese. Cheap European marques are not popular.

Automatics are great until they go wrong, then you will find that nobody can fix your transmission.

There are also a few more reasons why automatics are not good for remote or rugged travel:
-If you get a dead battery, you cannot push start them.
-If you break down, you cannot tow them for any distance (e.g. more than 50 km) without risking damaging the transmission, unless you have the driven wheels (i.e. front on a Mondeo) off the ground.
-You have no engine braking, so on long descents (and Central Asia is full of them), you are much more likely to overheat your brakes.
-Automatic transmissions sap power from the engine, so you will be even more down on power climbing hills at high altitude.

Make sure your auto box is in top condition before leaving, consider fitting an oil cooler to it if you will be in lowland Central Asia in summer. Change the fluid and make sure all shifts are smooth and happen at the right speed.

Or better still, get a more suitable car. A 1990s Audi with a manual transmission would be perfect (on a budget) as they are pretty popular in Central Asia. A turbo-diesel will do better at high altitude and be cheaper to run than a petrol car.

Diesel is tough to find in Uzbekistan.. petrol is even tougher as everyone runs on LPG.

Re: Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:12 am
by steven
eurasiaoverland wrote:Diesel is tough to find in Uzbekistan.. petrol is even tougher as everyone runs on LPG.
I disagree with that. I never heard anyone complain about petrol being an issue, while diesel is an oft-discussed pain point.

Re: Car advice Central Asia

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:42 am
by eurasiaoverland
Interesting. I read from biker's blogs that they need to hunt around for petrol, sold from plastic bottles and often smuggled in from Turkmenistan.

There are very few petrol vehicles in Uzbekistan, almost everything is either LPG or diesel.

But I guess petrol is not subject to the same supply issues as diesel in that case?