Vehicle Preparedness

Vehicle Preparedness

Your vehicle is more than just transportation to and from work or the kids’ soccer game.  It’s shelter, your security, your way out of Dodge when things go way wrong.  You must perform routine maintenance on your vehicle, keep it in solid operating condition and ensure your emergency supplies are adequate for the coming season and accommodate the number of routine travelers who ride with you.  It is also a good idea to keep at least a half a tank of gas in your car at all times.  When you’re in a bug-out situation you don’t want to be the car waiting in line at the gas station while everyone else is driving by on their way to safety.

Everyone should keep a few basic supplies or purchase an emergency vehicle kit.  Keep your emergency supplies in a durable duffle bag, something that has shoulder straps works best.  You want the ability to easily carry your bag should you need to abandon your vehicle.

Here is a list of items you should carry in your vehicle at all times.  Tailor it to your weather conditions.


In the Passenger Compartment

Car Escape Tool – Life Hammer is a good brand.  Purchase one for each passenger and store in the door panel.   You may want to be mindful with small children in the back seat; they tend to get curious when they’re bored and this device has a blade.

Maps – Detailed Street maps, and mark them up!  Use different colors for different routes.

  1. Routes from home to the nearest emergency shelter.
  2. Routes from home to the nearest emergency medical facility.
  3. Routes from home to your bug out location.  Minimum of three routes.
  4. Routes from the office to the nearest emergency shelter.
  5. Routes from the office to the nearest emergency medical facility.
  6. Routes from the office to your bug out location. Minimum of three routes.
  7. Routes from where the children play; friends/grandmas/parks to the nearest emergency shelter.
  8. Routes from where the children play; friends/grandmas/parks to the nearest emergency medical facility.
  9. Routes from where the children play; friends/grandmas/parks to your bug out location.  Minimum of three routes.

Cell Phone Charger for the Car – Buy multiple cell phone chargers and keep one in each vehicle.  If you and your spouse have different phones and they use different chargers and you drive different cars you will need additional chargers.  Yes its more money but you will never remember to grab the right charger in a bug out situation; you’ll have other things on your mind.  You’ve seen the movies; the only time your cell phone battery is going to die is when you need it most.

Flashlight – Keep a small flashlight in the glove box for when you have to look under the seat for something you dropped or to help you find a larger flashlight that is stored in the trunk.

Disposable Camera – Keep one in your glove box or if you have a smart phone use that.  It a great tool for photographic evidence gathering after an accident.   Remember that your cell phone battery is going to be dead because you need to use it.

Tire Pressure Gauge – Get used to using it often.

In the Trunk

Spare Tire – A full sized spare tire and the tools required to change the tire (Jack and lug nut wrench) .  Make a plan to remove one tire each month and put on the spare tire.  It takes about 15 minutes.  When you’re done, remove the spare and put the original tire back on the car.  It will be some good practice.  Don’t assume because you can change the front tire that you can change the back just as well.  There are different locations in the front and rear of the car to place the jack to safely complete a lift.  Get the kids involved and when the time comes you’ll know they know how to change a tire.

Basic Fluids – Washer fluid, oil and coolant (antifreeze).  Keep these handy.  You will never need them until you don’t have them.  Check your vehicles fluid levels and your reserves when fill up your car with gas, and check the tire pressure, and check the flashlight batteries.  Do you see a pattern developing?

Fire Extinguisher

 Snow Chains


Vehicle Safety Bag – Build your own or purchase a ready made bag.

Bag – Gym style bag.  Something with a shoulder strap.

Jumper Cables – Know how to use them.  Make sure you separate both ends, and then separate the red lead from the black lead.  Connect one red lead to the dead battery’s positive connection, usually under some sort of rubber or marked with a + sign.  Connect one black lead to the dead battery’s negative connection.  Do the same on the car with a good battery.

Flashlights – Carry multiple.  Keep a larger flashlight in the trunk for when you need to check under the hood.  Keep a head flash light in your get home bag for when you need to change a tire in the dark.  Keep spare batteries for each.  Every time you fill up the gas tank and check your tire pressure, check the flashlights too.  This should always be part of doing your routine vehicle maintenance.

Collapsible Shovel – Keep a small shovel in your car.  If you get stuck in the snow or mud, a shovel is an invaluable tool.  Keep a piece of carpet in the trunk too, great for extra traction when needed.  If you don’t keep a spare piece of carpet you can always use your floor mats in an emergency.

Matches and Candles – Should you get stranded in a winter storm, light a small candle and it will keep you warm inside your car.  Yes, that small tiny little flame will heat the entire inside of your car.  You may not be as snug as a bug, but you won’t die from hypothermia or freeze to death.

Wool Blanket – A foil emergency blanket wouldn’t hurt either.

Tow Rope – A good one is about 20 feet long, has hooks on both ends and cost about $20.

First Aid Kit – This one is good because its small and rolls up.

Heavy Work Gloves


Triangle Reflectors

Extra Fuses for your vehicle type

Spare Fan Belt – For your vehicle type.  This will probably be expensive.  Make sure you have the tools in your car required to replace a broken fan belt.  Spend an afternoon and practice once.



Bug Out Bag

See our article on Bug-Out-Bags.


Prepare Strong.

Prepare.  Survive.  Live.

One comment

  1. Trey Reed

    Car stuff:

    Shouldn’t advise people put escape tools in the door panels since if you are in a crash or upside down, the contents of your door panels will almost be gauranteed not to be there anymore. Attach with velcro or carry on your person. Fire extinguisher should be in the cabin of the vehicle not in the trunk. Fixed blade knife should also be added to the list of things to have in the trunk.

    I like the site though, products look good.

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