Basic Vehicle Maintenance & Preparing it for an Emergency

For many of us, our personal vehicle is not just a convenience but a necessity. When something happens to put it out of commission, our lives are affected dramatically. Chances are, if you are not at home when an emergency strikes, you will be in, or near, your vehicle. So, for the majority of us, our everyday car or pickup truck will need to be ready to serve us in nearly any emergency big or small, while driving to the local grocery store or taking a cross-country trip, while changing a flat tire or surviving a serious accident, blizzard, hurricane, tornado or whatever else in the middle of nowhere. Consider these maintenance activities and supply items to keep a vehicle running efficiently and prepare it for an unexpected emergency.

BASIC TIPS:


KEEP VEHICLE IN GOOD CONDITION:


ITEMS TO CARRY IN VEHICLE:


SEASONAL REDINESS:


VEHICLE SECURITY:


WHAT TO DO IF A BREAK DOWN HAPPENS:

It's always best to keep vehicles properly and regularly maintained and stocked with emergency supplies but there are things that just can't be avoided that can bring a vehicle to a grinding halt, like electronics. If the unfortunate happens, consider these things to stay safe and get you back on the road. In general: [On the highway (video 1)]    [On the highway (video 2)]
In the middle of nowhere
Top 5 ways your car is telling you it will break down

SCAVENGING A VEHICLE FOR SURVIVAL:

No post-apocalyptic movie is complete without the stripped hulks of a few cars lying around. But modern everyday life is no different. Useful things can come from any abandoned vehicle such as tools, wiring, tires, battery, fuels, mirrors, and the body itself (for shelter and projects). In a serious emergency, your car may become the victim and life saver. Just for safety's sake, make very sure a vehicle is truly abandoned before you get your pliers out and start ripping bits off. Bicycles and motorcycles are also up for grabs. Once you're certain nobody's coming back for it, though, start scavenging.
[Article 1]    [Article 2]    [Article 3]    [Video]

COPING WITH FUEL SHORTAGES:

Often, there is actually no shortage of fuel, only the means by which suppliers control its distribution. Nevertheless we are affected by their greed, control and lack of forethought. So, here are some things to consider to cope with their games and deficiencies:
- Work From Home
- Stockpile home supplies (buy in bulk) to reduce trips to get them - also helps with price hikes.
- Combine trips to the store, doctor, work, etc.
- Work with neighbors to pickup your supplies when they shop and pickup their supplies when you shop.
- Have purchases delivered to your home/work instead of going to the store
- Carpool
- Use the most fuel-efficient vehicle (motorcycle, moped, etc.) available to you
- Use alternative transportation - Improve driving habits - Consider making your own fuel or use less expensive fuel alternatives (see the section below).
- Shop for best prices. In a "crisis" gas stations may compete for your business. Report "price gouging" to your state's Attorney General office.
- Top off your gas tank when you can
- Don't panic and stockpile gas. Save some for someone else.
- Use alternative power and heat sources (solar, wind, hydro, wood, coal) to replace home/house fuel (propane, oil, etc.)
- When this "crisis" is over, stockpile reserves for the next one
Resources:
Fuel Shortage? What to Do When Gas Stations are Depleted
How to Prepare for a Fuel Shortage
Tips for better fuel economy

ALTERNATIVE VEHICLE FUELS:

Go to This Link for converting vehicles or making alternative fuels.

BUG-OUT VEHICLE CONSIDERATIONS:

When Traffic Grinds to a Halt, What Will You Drive? Generally, every vehicle should be in good mechanical condition, fueled-up and ready for bugging out because we never know where we will be when a "get outta Dodge" situation happens. Here are a few things to consider when selecting and preparing a vehicle: A 4-Wheel Drive or All-Wheel Drive vehicle is recommended with plenty of space for the family and emergency supplies. Consider that the vehicle could be your "living quarters" for a while. If using a vehicle to evacuate, make sure the vehicle is bug-out-ready with its own bug-out bag, printed map and compass. Keep in mind that Global Positioning Systems (GPS) may be off-line or slow to respond so it's always good to have a compass and printed detailed map (Road Atlas) available, even if it's out of date (current is preferred). Pre-plan multiple backroad routes to avoid civil unrest and traffic backups.

When it comes to getting out of dodge, there are many schools of thought regarding "the best" vehicle to have. Ultimately, the best vehicle is the one that gets the job done for you. Make sure it's capable of getting you to your intended destination, keep it in good condition, keep it fueled up and keep it stocked with the necessary emergency supplies. And, when it's time to bug out, it's the last thing you'll need to think about.
What is the Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle?
You're Bug-Out Vehicle: Preparing and Packing
Terrain-Conquering Transportation

LEARN TO DRIVE A STICK (MANUAL) SHIFT VEHICLE:

I taught two teen friends of mine to drive my stick-shift car. After those training sessions, I had to replace the clutch and transmission. But it was worth it when one of my friends, later in life, took a trip to Iceland where only manual transmission vehicles could be rented. When he returned to the States, he thanked me for teaching him how to drive a stick. He said the only challenge he had was driving the SUV from the other (passenger [USA]) side.

When SHTF, transportation is going to be at an all time demand. The odds of getting away from danger and to a safer location may be greater with access to a vehicle.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the number of United States drivers that can drive a stick (manual) shift vehicle, in some states, is as low as just 18%! Many millenials may have never even seen a stick shift and car manufacturers are eliminating the production of manual/stick passenger vehicles.

If you want to increase your odds of being able to find some kind of transportation when you need it, learn to drive a stick shift vehicle. Those people who can't drive a stick shift will bypass those cars, trucks, and tractors, leaving them available for you. This also means if you have a stick shift vehicle as your Bug Out Vehicle, there will be a great number of people who won't steal it, simply because they don't know how to shift it!

Additionally, older stick vehicles can be easier to maintain because of less electronics.

THE UNIQUENESS OF AN RV & BOX TRAILER:

For those who already own a recreational vehicle (RV) such as a motorhome, trailer, or even a pop up camper, you may find yourself wondering exactly how to bug out in an RV. Actually, they can be covertly equipped far in advance even under the prying eyes of neighbors and passersby. Aside from the comforts of home (yeah, I still bring my pillow with me), safety is also a concern. There are lots of things needed to have in a safety kit. That’s all the more true if an RV doubles as a bug out vehicle. Here are essential items to survive an emergency in an RV or Camper. Here are other things to consider:
RV Safety & Security Discussion Forum
Smart & Simple Tips to Increase RV Security
How to Bug Out in an RV
How to Prep Your Trailer to Be Bug Out Ready
Survival Trailers – The Best Rigs We Can Learn From
Prepping Tips For an RV Bug Out Vehicle
Using Your RV As A Bug Out Vehicle For Survival

BUG OUT BICYCLES:

In an evacuation (bug-out) situation, a bicycle, motorcycle or scooter is ideal to maneuver through congested traffic and around areas where other vehicles may be challenged. In the case of a bicycle, its lightweight frame, handlebars and easy-remove front wheel are excellent to create a makeshift shelter by placing a tarp over the bicycle components. If you are so inclined, small pop-up tent trailers are available to pull behind a bicycle. Equipping your 2-wheeled, or ATV, vehicle prepared for an emergency is a great backup alternative to have in place.
Micro Camping Trailers for Bicycles

SURVIVAL WATERCRAFT:

Lost in the wilderness, near bodies of water, stumbling upon a canoe, rowboat or kayak, along the shore, might not be too farfetched. But, when that kind of find doesn't present itself, and getting back to civilization is best done by water, making a survival watercraft may be the best option.
Building a Survival Raft (lots of Cordage is needed)    [Video 1]
Building a Reed/Bundle Boat
How to Build a Coracle (animal skins stretched over a light frame of wooden poles)

SEE ALSO:
How to Build a Wood-Burning (Gasifier) Vehicle
Best Gear for a Roadside Emergency
SurvivorMan Stranded in his car in the snow in Norway
Top 10 Tips for Safe Car Travel With Your Pet
Being Prepared to Live in Your Car Successfully