You can pack the most comprehensive bug-out bag in the world, but if your vehicle won’t start, you’re not going anywhere at that crucial moment. Being prepared is more than just stockpiling supplies to get you through an emergency. The experience of the thousands of people stuck without transportation during the Hurricane Katrina tragedy shows how important a well-running vehicle is. A surprising number of small tasks can make the difference at the last minute. Being a complete well-rounded prepper means getting ready to stay as well as go and having the ability to do either at a moment’s notice.
Your Car’s Bug-Out Bag
You’ve got your own supplies packed and ready to go when needed, but your vehicle needs its own collection of supplies. Get a waterproof bin that fits in the trunk or near the back door of the van and keep it stocked at all times. Fill it with spare spark plugs, fuses, oil, power steering and other fluids, a roll of paper towels and a funnel. Add wipes to clean the windows, emergency blankets, battery-free flashlights, a gallon of water and some small snacks.
If it’s not rolling, you’re not moving. Your tires need to be maintained on a regular basis to give you confidence they’ll run during an emergency. Do a tire inspection at least once a month when the tires are cold. Check the wear on the treads by sticking a penny between the treads with the head facing down. If you can see any of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tire. Check the tire pressure with a good pressure gauge and keep the tires rotated. Always keep a full-sized spare in the trunk in addition to the donut that came with the vehicle.
Always keep oil and other fluids topped off. If an emergency hits and you have to run, there is no way to predict how long you’ll have to go before you maintain your car’s engine once again. Keeping everything in fresh order will guarantee your longest available running time. Make sure to check the differential and transmission fluids, as well as the oil and power steering fluid. Keep supplies of each fluid in the trunk or the back of the vehicle, but a fresh supply in the engine is your best insurance.
Stockpiling spark plugs and various car accessories is a great idea, but if you run out of gas 10 miles down the road, the rest of your prep was for nothing. Fill your tank on the return trip every time you leave your home. Keep two large gas cans filled and ready to go in a safe place. Stock up on gasoline additives in case you come across an open supply of questionable quality, and always make sure to use the octane gas recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Alex is freelance journalist who contributes to a number of blogs