Prep Your Bug Out Vehicle
Dr. John Woods 02.15.16
When is the last time you looked under the hood of your primary bug out vehicle? Truth is, when have you checked things around any vehicle you use? They certainly don’t do it at the gas station like in the old days, and I wonder what is really checked at the local repair shop or car dealership service department. Ultimately your vehicle’s maintenance is up to you.
So, crack that hood and take a look. Like private pilots do before they take every flight, conduct a pre-trip inspection of your chosen bug out vehicle. Under the hood, start by orienting yourself to where and what everything is. Check the battery terminals for corrosion. Brush them off with a wire brush and spray some Liquid Wrench on each terminal. Tighten them up.
Next, look at everything rubber. Check the belts for wear, cracks, and edge abrasions. Inspect the radiator hoses, heater hoses, fuel lines, and all electrical connections. Fill up all the fluid reservoirs, including antifreeze for the radiator and windshield washer fluid. Check the brake fluid reservoir to be full. Look to see if anything is loose, hanging, or out of place.
Outside, first inspect the tires. Do they need to be replaced or rotated? Put a penny down into the tire tread. If you can see Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. If not, check the tires for proper inflation according to the PSI rating on the tire. Check the lug nuts. Next time at the garage, have the brakes inspected. Review the owner’s maintenance manual for other suggested preventative maintenance issues based on the vehicle miles.
If it has been a long time since you replaced the wiper blades, do that now. Are all the headlights and taillights burning? Brake lights? Do the turn signals work? Change out the battery in the key fob door opener so it is fresh. While you’re at it, have an extra car key or two made or purchased from a dealer. Keep an extra in your bug out bag.
If your vehicle has a towing hitch, inspect all the frame attachment bolts, trailer wiring, and light connections. What else? Naturally all regular maintenance should be conducted, especially timely oil changes with a new filter, air filter, and cabin filter. Keep the fuel tank filled up. Never let it get below half a tank. You never know when you might have to bug out. Be ready.