A reliable vehicle can be your lifeline. Without it, you are very limited in how far you can travel.
I’ve read plenty of posts about bug out vehicles… but not many on keeping your bug out vehicle running for extended amounts of time.
Personally, I don’t have a garage with enough space to store an entire set of parts, including engine, for my vehicle. Some people don’t even have garages. I do however have tools to remove or replace just about any part on my vehicle. I’ve also performed many part replacements myself. I have the know-how, but don’t have the funding or space to store an entire set of parts.
In fact, I have a rather large collection of automotive tools. Every time I buy parts online, I normally add on an extra tool which I don’t have, such as a socket set or a sparkplug gap tool, and use a coupon code which ends up discounting enough that the tool is free, and I even get some money off the cost of the parts.
I highly recommend if you do your own automotive work, look into what coupon codes are available to you on the web, and use those codes to help grow your collection of tools. It will take time, but you’ll be surprised how quickly your tool collection will grow. While you’re at it, try to pickup a repair manual for your vehicle. Normally these manuals can be found on Amazon, or you can buy them from the auto parts store.
If you don’t know how to work on your own vehicle, now would be a good time to start learning. There are many wonderful how-to guides and videos for everything from changing your oil to restoring an engine block. If you have a mechanic friend, see if they’ll help you. Chances are if you offer some cash or a nice homecooked meal for their troubles, they’ll help teach you how to do basic stuff.
So, how do I plan to keep my vehicles running? Since ordering parts from the auto parts store will be out of the question, I’ll have to find (or barter for) interchangeable parts from compatible vehicles. Fortunately for us, auto manufacturers will use specific parts in multiple vehicles. This reduces costs by being able to mass-produce fewer types of the same part.
For some people, it’s easy. For example, my Jeep Comanche is 100% compatible in the engine compartment with Jeep Cherokees from similar years. For others, it might not be so easy. For example, what’s compatible with a Ford Escape? Or a DATSUN? That’s where the Hollander Interchange Manual comes into play. This wonderful guide is commonly used by junk yard or used auto parts dealers to identify compatible parts.
While the new guide is rather pricey, you can find used copies on Amazon or eBay for relatively cheap. You could possibly also find one at your local library, so that you can write down the information relevant to your vehicle. Keep in mind, this is for the person with limited space like myself. If you have the space, storing brand new parts is much more ideal.
So with that said, what should you stock up on to keep your vehicle running, if you have limited space? My recommendations: oil filters, motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and if you can, gasoline (make sure you use stabilizer, and even then try to use your stores and refill what you have stocked up). Next on my list would be wiper blades, brake pads and shoes, rotors, and headlights. All other parts have much longer life on vehicles, and could most likely be used after a disaster with long-term effects.
Learning to work on your own vehicle can not only help you in the future, but it will save you money today. Take that extra money and use it wisely…buy other supplies, such as food or ammo.