Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vehicle Preparedness: Basic and Advanced Preparedness Topics

Our vehicle is the single most expensive thing most of us will ever by with the exception of our home.  It is a complex machine mass produced for a worldwide market, and can carry us hundreds of miles at a time.   In fact, we sometimes lose our perspective of just how far from our homes we travel every day.  If you commute 45 miles one way every day like I do, you realize pretty quickly that what takes you less than an hour to drive could take days to walk.

We’re going to take a look at some of the basics of vehicle preparedness and how you can minimize your risk of a breakdown, maximize your preparedness for adverse events, and prep your primary vehicle as a bugout ride.

The Basics

Let’s start with the first concept:  a vehicle is going to either break down or require ongoing repairs at some point.

Keep your vehicle in good repair.  
  • Minimum Capabilities:
    • Keep all vehicles in good repair
    • Four wheel drive on main vehicle, or traction-enhanced (locking differentials, etc.)
    • Main vehicle needs to be able to carry everyone in family, including a minimum of gear and supplies for 1 week
    • Main vehicle needs to run on standardized fuel (gasoline, diesel), not specialized fuel (high octane, bio-mix, propane,etc.)
    • Stored fuel for one full tank (e.g., if your vehicle’s tank holds 20 gallons, store 20 gallons) in man-portable containers
    • ‘Fix a flat’ or Slime
    • Self-vulcanizing plug kit
    • Air compressor (12 VDC)
    • Hose clamps, various sizes (or hose wrap or duct tape)
    • Siphon hose
    • Funnels (keep in mind that a funnel for your fuel tank will probably be different from the ones that you use under the hood)
    • Full-sized spare tire
    • Emergency road equipment (flares, warning reflectors, etc.)
    • Navigation (maps, GPS, etc.), stored in vehicle
    • Basic spare parts (hoses, belts, sparks plugs, fasteners, etc.)
    • Extra fluids (oil, coolant, transmission fluid, washer fluid, etc.)
    • Tool kit, stored in vehicle
    • Fire extinguisher
    • Jumper cables
    • Recovery strap/tow rope
  • Extended Capabilities:
    • Extended fuel storage
    • Additional spare parts for vehicle

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