Regular vehicle maintenance is important and getting your car or truck ready for winter is especially important. Here is a summary of the things you should be doing.
-= PODCAST SHOW NOTES =-
Holidays are here, but don’t stop prepping – Here’s what you should be working on
- Food storage
- Stocking up on tangible items that are likely to increase in price:
- food, especially bulk goods, long term foods, and cooking staples (salt, sugar, spices, yeast, etc.)
- clothes, shoes, etc.
- Stock up on sundries and toiletries, as they’re cheap enough now to get, at least, a year’s worth.
- Go through your preps, check your plan, and make sure that you have all the equipment and implements, as well as any supplies, needed to accomplish everything in your plan.
- E.g., if you plan on making bread from wheat berries, which is the whole wheat you store, then you need a grinder, yeast, bread pans, salt, oil, and some way to bake it, even if you have no electricity.
Winterizing Vehicle – Talking Points
- Winterize the vehicle survival kit
- Use Ryan’s kit list as a template.
- Vehicle Winter Check:
- Do an Op Check on your 4WD system.
- Oil change – use thinner oil. Of course, check your vehicle’s manual or a qualified mechanic.
- Make sure radiator has appropriate amount of antifreeze in it.
- Make sure tires are properly inflated. Tires are designed to work best at their designed PSI.
- Inspect belts and hoses.
- Have good wipers and washer fluid is rated for freezing temperatures.
- Check the heater and defroster for proper operation. Check for leaks from heater coil.
- Check battery, either with hydrometeror by voltage. Voltage is easier:
- With car having been off for at least an hour, check battery voltage. 12.6V and higher, good. 12.4V to 12.6V, marginal. Less then 12.4V, might give you problems in cold weather. At 12.2V, your battery is only putting out about 50% of its original power.
- This is because batteries produce less amps when cold, so a battery that starts an engine in the summer might not be able to crank the engine when cold.
- Then start the engine and check the voltage again. You should see a voltage between 13.8 and 14.4 volts. Anything lower and your system isn’t charging; anything higher and your battery is being overcharged, which can lead to a dead battery sooner.
- Specialized winter gear:
- Snow tires or chains if allowed
- Ice scraper
- Snow brush
- Ice melt, salt, cat litter, sand or carpet remnants
- Snow shovel
- winch or come-along
- tow rope / strap
- Lock de-icer. Do not store inside the vehicle. Keep one in your garage or home, but also see about storing one outside your vehicle, where you can get to it if your locks freeze.
- Rain-X. Also good for rain.
- Let vehicle warm up before driving. Let it idle until it reaches normal operating temps.
Car Kit – Winter Mode
Get Home bag
Water – storing water in freezing temps is difficult, at best. I’ve never found a good solution, well, besides moving to the desert. If you don’t fill the water containers all the way, to allow for the expansion during freezing, you won’t be ruining containers. Then, all you need to do is warm them to melt the ice.
- Hat – ball cap for summer/fleece or wool cap for winter
- Sunglasses – its bright out here, especially in the snow.
- Boots – hiking/walking shoes/snow – Will these fit in the pack, or kept in truck?
- Socks – wool
- Gloves – Winter or work depending on season
- Jacket – seasonal, with hood.
- Heavier coat for winter season.
- Bandanas, small and large
If you live and work where it’s cold most times of the year, or are susceptible to freak snow storms, I would keep a set of winter gear in your truck year round. I usually have a jacket in my truck at all times and I’m in the desert. Seasons change too fast and there will be an early snow storm before you remember to pack your winter stuff.
Food – ability to eat on the move with no cooking
- Cliff Bars
- Mainstay bars
- Survival tabs
- Small hard candy (peppermints/butterscotch/jelly beans)
I would mostly pack whichever had the highest calories in the smallest package, and then only keep a little of the others. You’ll burn far more calories in the winter with the cold that you want to be as calorie dense as possible.
- Water bottle
- Filter – iodine tablets would be sufficient and a lot smaller to carry.
- Purification tabs – PA Plus
- Metal cup – should fit around bottle
Shelter – small and light, protect from snow, rain
- Bivy sack
- Sleeping bag
- Headlamp for night walking
- Spare batteries
- Glow sticks. Would be better than burning batteries just to have some light.
- Spotlight – very handy for vehicle repairs and signaling.
Fire – in case of overnight camping
- Bic lighter or Zippo
- Flint and steel – Strike Force or Blast Match or comparable device.
- Cotton balls with vaseline – Given where you are and the likelihood that if you get stuck, it will be in a cold snowstorm, I would include LOTS of tinder stuff. Especially the “enhanced” items like cotton balls and vaseline.
- Also, I would keep a couple of road flares in the truck *specifically* for starting fires.
- Propane torch
- Bug repellent
- First Aid Kit
- OTC meds (pain, allergy, diarrhea, etc.)
- Caffeine (Vivarin, 5 Hour Energy)
- Foot powder
- Hygiene kit ( tp/wipes/sanitizer)
- toothpaste or a small container of salt and baking soda. Though not critical, brushing teeth goes a long way for morale.
- Small AM/FM radio with ear buds.
- Towels – cloth, paper
- Hand lotion
- Pistol & ammo
- Carbine & ammo – Need to get a mag bag.
- Rope/ paracord – Lots and lots of paracord
- Small roll of duct tape
- tools for fixing truck
- jumper cables
- Spare fluids – oil, washer fluid, coolant,
- small bills
- prepaid phone card – I’m questioning the value of these; are there even any pay phones still around?