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How to Get an Older Car Ready for Survival

You never know when you need to go into survival mode. It could be a sudden zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, meteorite explosion or something else. Don’t wait for the unthinkable to happen — prep your old car today. 

Stock Essential Supplies 

We all need some essential supplies to survive. While you can go weeks without food, you will only last around three days without water. If it’s hot outside and you’re sweating, you’ll need a drink sooner. 

Your survival vehicle should be ready to hop in and go — don’t wait to add supplies. Try to pack at least 4 gallons of water, or more if you have room. When it comes to food, choose nonperishable items like peanut butter, dried fruit, canned soup, beef jerky and granola bars. 

Think About First Aid

Nobody wants to get injured, but it can be unavoidable in emergencies. Prepare for a worst-case scenario by stocking your vehicle with a first-aid kit. Be sure to include items like:

  • Gauze 
  • Bandages
  • Painkillers
  • Sticky tape
  • Cleansing wipes
  • Antibiotic cream

Think about adding practical tools, like tweezers, scissors and safety pins. Plus, don’t forget about prescribed medications. If possible, get an extra refill from your doctor to store in your kit. 

Perform Routine Maintenance

You never know when disaster will strike. It could be tomorrow or 10 years from now. In the meantime, stay on top of your older vehicle’s maintenance with routine inspections, including:

  • Daily: Do a quick walk around and look for anything out of the ordinary.
  • Monthly: Check your gas levels, transmission fluid, oil and tire pressure. 
  • Yearly: Take your vehicle in for inspection by a trusted, certified mechanic. 

Every few months, take your car out of the garage and drive around the block. When you change the oil, choose a brand that uses zinc additives. Zinc bonds to the metal components of the engine, creating an anti-wear coat that withstands high pressure and keeps everything running smoothly. 

A maintenance schedule, coupled with the right accessories, ensures your vehicle won’t break down as soon as you hit the road. 

Add Renewable Power

You can use your car battery to power your cellphone or another device, but remember it’s a limited resource. If you use it too much, you won’t be able to get around. Plus, what will you do when the vehicle is parked and turned off? 

Bring along batteries in a variety of sizes, from AAA to D. Stock up on portable power packs with built-in solar panels. If you have enough room, you should also store a generator, which will give you enough power to light your camp and use a few devices. A solar option is best, as you can juice it up again and again. 

Install a Two-Way Radio

In a survival situation, you’ll need to think old-school. Citizen-band (CB) radios are low-cost and widespread. They offer 40 different channels and have a range of up to 15 miles. However, they’re line-of-sight sensitive, meaning conversations often cut in and out. 

Another option is a general mobile radio service (GMRS) radio. Instead of operating on AM channels, like CBs, these devices use FM channels. They have a range of up to 25 miles but require a license — and a $70 fee — to operate. 

If you don’t mind taking a 50-question test, you can apply to operate a ham radio. You can interface this device with a computer or tablet to send texts, images and Morse code. Plus, it has a farther range than both CB and GMRS radios. 

Be Ready for Anything

Don’t wait until disaster strikes to prepare your survival vehicle. If you follow the advice above, you’ll be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. 


About the Author: Scott Huntington is a writer who lives in Vermont. Check out his blog Off The Grid or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

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