Mongol Rally Rules – Car Size and Limitations

Written By: The Planet D

With every epic adventure comes epic headaches.

Planning for the Mongol Rally has been one of the most difficult things we have done in recent years. While juggling our travels through New Zealand, Thailand, and finally Rancho La Puerta in Mexico, we have felt that we have really let our teammates down lately when it comes to the finer details.

Sherry has done an amazing job fundraising and getting us information on Visa requirements and Rick has planned our route out almost to the day so that we will be able to put a proper date on our Visas when we do manage to send them in.

Car Limitations in the Mongol Rally

Our fundraising efforts fell flat, something that we are hoping to rectify when we get home from Jordan at the end of this month.

Good News!

However, we were extremely excited when we met with our now good friends All Ways Rentals in New Zealand and they decided to sponsor us. Eran and Merav know cars and we are in great hands.

Lucky for us, they are experts and that is what makes their business in Christchurch so successful. We have never met anyone so passionate about their work and for their love and knowledge of cars.

That is why when we emailed The Adventurists to ask permission about using a 1.5-litre car instead of the 1.2-litre engine, we were happy to have a voice of reason ease our fears.

Why? Because they told us that they cannot approve a 1.5 litre engine for us.

We were under the impression that we could take a larger engine size as long as we donated £ 100 for every .1 litre above the rally limit.

Sherry had already done an incredible job with her end of the fund raising, so we had the funds to donate to charity and we thought that they would be grateful for the extra money.

Apparently, things are not as clear as we thought.

nissan almera mongol rally vehicle

Governments have different rules and apparently Mongolia will not accept a 1.5 litre engine unless it is very clearly an emergency vehicle.

The Adventurists emailed us back to tell us that we cannot take a 1.5 litre car. It can be up to a 1.5 litre engine, but not including 1.5 Litre engine…Okay?

We emailed AllWaysRentals and they put our mind at ease.

Like I said, they know cars and they know rules all around the world.

They assured us that car manufacturers know of taxation rules (it is not just Mongolia with these rules, it is the same all over the world) thus a 1.5L car engine is actually registered as 1497cc or 1499cc.

So it looks like we will still be able to drive our Nissan Almera that is a 2002 model or newer.

We will end up driving slower and using more gas, but we can do it.  We also may have to squeeze into a 3 door vehicle as opposed to a 4 door. Things are going to be cozy on our way to Mongolia!

Diesel or Gas

gas or diesel engine mongol rally

After talking with Merav and Eran, they explained that a gas engine is far superior to a diesel engine, especially when buying a used car.

One never knows the exact history of a car and if the owner missed a service or two with a petrol-driven car, it won’t affect it as much as a diesel engine.

Also, after checking the forums on the Mongol Rally, we learned that a petrol car is the most appropriate car to bring.

There are not many diesel engines that are less than 1.6 litres let alone 1.2 litres and since Mongolia is a cold country, gas is better since diesel freezes at a higher temperature.

So where do we stand with our Rally Car?

Well, AllWaysRentals is keeping a lookout for an appropriate car and we are going to send another request to the Mongol Rally to ask them if we can drive the 1497 cc or 1499 cc engine.

If they don’t approve that, well, I think I will roll up in a ball and cry. (obviously Dave isn’t writing this post)

Gear to Store in our Car

gear and electronics for travel blogging

As travel bloggers we will be carrying more gear than other people. Between our computers, photography and video gear, we are going to be weighed down a lot.

Plus, we are a group of four.

A 1.2 litre engine would be appropriate for a team of two, but the car will have a difficult making it with 4 of us piled in.

Honestly, when planning this trip last year, we never thought about 4 people being a problem.

But as we do more research we realize that we are going to have to be creative to survive the entire 10,000 miles.

No matter what, things always work out in the end and we have faith that we will make it all work. W

e just may have a few nervous breakdowns in the meantime, but hey, what is life without a thrilling adventure?!

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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14 thoughts on “Mongol Rally Rules – Car Size and Limitations”

  1. I thought the 1.2 l cap was absolute? Older/cheaper 1.2 and below are fairly hard to come by in Norway, but you can get plenty of 1.3s. How did you go about getting a larger engine accepted, and was there any sort of penalty?

  2. Kia ora!

    Not sure if you will see this, but I am wondering if you can tell me what kind of sponsorship Allways rentals offered you? Was it a contribution towards your chosen charity, or personal efforts etc?

    I am doing the rally this year so am scouting for potential sponsors ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Wow, sounds way more confusing than you would assume – but with everyone involved being so flexible I have my fingers crossed it’ll work out – love Audrey’s idea of a specialty vehicle…it would be fairly awesome to watch you guys cross the world in an ice cream truck! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Shannon. Luckily we have Allways taking care of us. They have an answer for everything and know everything about cars. We are so lucky. I love the ice cream truck idea too:)

    • We can’t wait to get on the road to start sharing. The planning is the toughest part, but I know that travel is going to be a blast!

  4. Good luck! I know your team will overcome any issues that will surface. ๐Ÿ™‚ I couldn’t imagine how much logistic you guys have to do (on the road nonetheless)!!

    • Thanks Amy, It is really getting close now and feels real. I am starting to get very excited. Now, only the Visas to deal with once we get home. Yikes!

  5. Not sure if this rule still applies, but a few years ago you could use a vehicle in the Mongol Rally above 1.5 liters if it was a “special” type of vehicle – ice cream truck, London cab, etc. Maybe you could spiff up the Nissan into being an ice cream vehicle or a hot dog stand??? Good luck – it will all work out and you’ll be laughing about all of this soon enough.

    • Better yet Audrey- how about the Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile….I could see it now rolling across the Gobi desert in a cloud of dust!

    • Thanks for the info Audrey. The funny vehicles are out the window now I believe. It is only emergency vehicles. However, we did get an email from the Adventurists, that we can go up to 1.5 now. Things changed again:-) this time to our advantage, so we’ll take it! I would love to take an ice cream truck, that would be hilarious.