Survival Skills: Scavenge A Vehicle For Survival

Survival Skills: Scavenge A Vehicle For SurvivalThe Prepper Journal – by Tim MacWelch

But just in case you get caught empty-handed, it doesn’t hurt to know about the useful pieces you can scavenge from a vehicle to help you survive. Now I understand that most people usually don’t feel right about destroying their possessions, especially something as significant as a vehicle.  

But if you end up in an emergency situation, and you need to tear up your ride for the raw materials as a matter of survival, then it’s time to color outside the lines. After all, your vehicle (and the pieces therein) can be replaced. Your life cannot. Here are some of the most useful parts of a vehicle, which would be valuable commodities in a survival scenario.

The rear view mirror is your easiest target, and it can usually be removed from its bracket by sliding it down the windshield. The side mirrors will take more creativity or destruction to remove, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

The mirrors can make a fine, clear signal mirror to flash sunlight to distant targets. The mirrors can also be handy for first aid, especially if you are by yourself. Without a second set of eyes on the problem, wounds, ticks and other problems on your backside are awfully hard to treat without a mirror.

Fabric and Insulation 
No, your insurance won’t cover your wanton destruction. But it could be worth the dissection and removal of upholstery and foam to create warmth in a cold environment. Anything that would pass for dead air space can be used for insulation. Carpet, mats, and seat covers can all be used for bedding, or makeshift blankets.

Plastic and Rubber 
The plastic and rubber on most cars and trucks will burn with a black smoke, which is great for daytime signaling. Floor mats, dashboards and any other plastics can be thrown on a big fire to make the desired dark plume. Tires require more caution. Never roll an entire spare tire onto a fire. The pressure will build and it will explode dangerously. Let the air out of the tire, too, before you start cutting it into pieces to chuck into the bonfire. Caution: Stabbing a pressurized tire has caused blades to blow back on their wielder and do bodily harm.

The Battery 
The vehicle battery and a bit of wire can give you sparks to start a fire. Be extremely careful that the wire doesn’t weld itself into a complete circuit, which could cause the battery to melt down or even explode. If you’re part electrician, or part MacGyver, you can wire up the battery to the vehicle horn and/or a headlight. This rig can be used for a heavy, yet still portable, signal device.

Other Useful Car Parts
Many other useful car parts abound. If the vehicle is old enough to still have a cigarette lighter, you can use this as a safer way to make fire than previously explained. Motor oil and other oils will burn with a black smoke to create a smoke signal. Wires can be used for snare lines.

Older cars can have some magnesium parts, like distributor caps, which can be shaved and used for fire starting. Newer cars may have even more magnesium under the hood. Steering column mounts, tranny covers, engine mounts, exterior cowl (Mustangs), dash frames, seat frames, etc. can be scraped or shaved to make dust which will light with a hot spark.

3 thoughts on “Survival Skills: Scavenge A Vehicle For Survival

  1. If you need footwear, you can make sandals out of the tires. (see “Steal this Book” by Abbie Hoffman for instructions)

  2. Be very careful in burning some car plastics and rubbers as they can produce hydrofluoric acid that once on the skin can require amputation of limbs if in contact with skin and is extremely toxic to breathe in or enter ones body.

    Also consider a glove compartment makes a handy scoop say for making an igloo block in heavy snow or a earth scrape, wiring is excellent for tying bracing corners for an A frame, the PU door inner liners can be made into a solar still, all manners of weapons can be made from various parts, for instance a sock full of wheel nuts will be good enough to fend off most animals hoping for a free lunch on you as would a wheel iron, metal hub caps once cleaned make excellent shallow pots too for cooking and eating from and a tyreless wheel makes an excellent firepit.

  3. Save all wheel and tire balance weights…they are lead.Melt and cast shot with them, (long term survival)

    Also to go with the battery; circuit wires,…and light bulbs, not just the headlamps
    Engine Pushrods can be fashioned into wonderful “Bolts” for crossbows.

    There is just so much in a vehicle than can be useful if you use your imagination.

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