When disaster strikes, your car can be the easiest and fastest path to safety. Whether you have a brand new car or an older model, keeping your bug-out vehicle in tiptop shape is an important part of any prepper’s survival plan. Unfortunately, no matter how well-maintained your car is, there’s always a sliver of a chance that things could go wrong. If you do experience these problems, would you be ready to deal with them appropriately? (h/t to Survivopedia.com)
It doesn’t matter if you’re just out on a road trip or heading to your bug-out location to escape danger — your vehicle can break down at the most inopportune time, usually when you’re quite far from home. One way to remedy this is by keeping a tool kit in your car with the essentials like wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and a ratchet and sockets. This can give you the ability to do repairs on the go, but this is assuming you have the knowledge to identify vehicular problems and how to repair them. (Related: Planning a road trip? Don’t forget these 5 survival essentials.)
Here is a list of seven common car problems and how to fix them:
A flat tire usually isn’t that much of an issue. If you’ve packed a spare along with all the tools needed to change it, you’re good to go after a few minutes of maintenance. Even if you don’t have any spares, you can still get yourself out of a bind. Coca-cola is a surprisingly decent alternative if you don’t have a can of fix-a-flat available. You can mix the cola with powdered dirt to make a slurry then stuff it into the broken area. Afterward, you can fill it up with air.
If the tire reaches the point where it can’t hold air at all, you can still salvage it by cutting out a few parts of the sidewall and filling it with grass. It may not reach full inflation but it can allow you to drive the car slowly until you can get a replacement tire.
Even veteran preppers can forget a car jack in their vehicles. Some of them can be quite big and heavy, making them more of a hindrance. To change your tires without a car jack, use an old-fashioned lever to get the job done. All you need is a good-sized rock and a sturdy tree branch. Let a couple of people push down on the far end of the branch while you work on changing the tire.
One problem you can potentially face is not being able to get the wheel off. The lug nuts could be too tight or the wheel has rusted to the hub. You can fix this by placing another tire on the already mounted rim of the car. However, this could lead to another problem: not being able to seal the tire to the rim. Most tire shops use a special lubricant for this purpose, but you can easily substitute it with antibacterial hand cleaner. Not only does it make a good lubricant, but it also seals the joint between the tire and the rim as it dries.
Tire rubber won’t last forever. In most cases, tires would be replaced before they even start to go bald, but some people miss the warning signs. One way to solve this is by keeping a roll of duct tape on hand at all times. Just place several layers of tape on the bald spot, then check it every once in a while. If it gets too bad, add more duct tape as necessary.
At one point, your car can overheat. The first thing to do is to open the hood and figure out where the problem is and what you need to fix. The most likely things to go bad are the radiator hoses. A simple temporary fix is to simply cut off the bad part of the hose, then reattach it. If the hose’s length won’t allow it, you can patch it up with duct tape. Be sure to clean the outside of the house thoroughly so the tape can stick.
Problems related to the radiator should generally be nothing more than pinholes, or just one pinhole to be exact. However, that one pinhole could lead to a number of problems in the future. Replacing the radiator core as soon as possible should be a priority. To temporarily seal up pinholes, you can use finely ground black pepper to jam the holes. Another way of fixing this without the use of a store-bought sealer is by cracking open a raw egg inside the radiator. The egg would find its way into the hole and cook in place, sealing it.
The thermostat controls the flow of coolant through the engine and radiator. Most newer cars won’t allow you to take the thermostat out for maintenance without taking out the gasket seal that prevents leakage. If the gasket becomes damaged, you can make a temporary one using a silicone gasket sealer or just chewing gum.
If your car are not properly prepared for a disaster, your time on the road could prove to be dangerous. Repairing common car problems is an essential skill that will help you survive even the toughest situations.