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.
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