Don’t Let Your Transportation Become a Trap

In a crisis environment, your vehicle’s importance cannot be overstated. When things go south, you’ll have to make a decision about whether to hunker down or get the hell out of dodge. In many instances, it could turn out to be the most important decision of your entire life. It’s not a decision you want your car to make for you.

But that’s what can happen if you neglect proper maintenance in times of plenty. Sure, if everything is hunky-dory for the next six months, you can keep procrastinating on that oil change. You can let your car sit there in the driveway until you “get around” to taking it into the shop. You can turn up the radio until you can’t hear that troubling rattle under the hood.

Then you get the news. A Cat 5 hurricane is bearing down on your city. The Dow Jones just lost 10,000 points. The power grid is malfunctioning. There’s an earthquake. There’s a flood. There’s a volcanic eruption. And now that you’re faced with that important, life-or-death decision, you realize that it’s already been made on your behalf. You’re staying put, like it or not.

That scenario may sound extreme, but it’s only one of countless situations where you may wish you’d kept your car or truck in good running order. If you’ve been letting your maintenance slip, here are some ways to get your vehicle prepped for an uncertain future.

Weekly Checks

You don’t need to have a mechanically-inclined bone in your body to do regular, weekly maintenance checks. Just type up a basic checklist, pick a day, and tick off the boxes one by one. You can easily do this in less than 10 minutes a week, and the piece of mind you buy is well worth the time. During these weekly checks, you can evaluate the battery, check the oil, check the windshield washer fluid, check the coolant, examine the spark plugs, check the air pressure in the tires, check the tread, and make sure all of your lights are working. Simple, basic, and invaluable.

Emergency Planning

No matter how vigorously you take care of your car, you never know when an emergency will strike. For that reason, you should have a plan for breakdowns. If that plan includes using your cell phone, consider adopting a backup plan for a scenario where it isn’t working. Keep a special kit in your car that includes an air compressor, a couple of fix-a-flat canisters, a spare tire, jumper cables, flashlights, and a gas can.

Know Your City

If you need to get out of town in a hurry, you probably won’t be the only one. If the main highways are clogged, do you know how to use the back roads? It might be a good idea to learn the ins and outs of your city and plot emergency routes you can use to avoid the worst of the congestion.