Civilization has fallen and there is no authority left to institute order. Martial law is in place and all chaos breaks loose. Humans are on their own now.


You can only rely on the resources you have stored, but these are running out and it’s time to hit the road in search of vital provisions.

You won’t risk entering buildings because you could become prisoner or who knows what other ordeals await. You realize that closed spaces are likely to have been cleared out of any vital resources by now.

You carry on near the highway and stare at the hundreds of trucks and cars left abandoned on the streets.

There used to be more than 300 million vehicles in the U.S. alone” you think aloud, and head determined to strip them off of whatever resources they may be storing.

Since you’re a prepper, you know all too well what a goldmine a car could become during such times of utmost need.

  1. Gasoline

This is the most sought resource. Needless to talk about the various use cases of fuel, so let’s get to the point where we learn how to collect it.

First you will need a rubber hose with a tiny diameter, a water jug of about 2.5 gallons or more, and a penetrating instrument.

Then it’s important to know the car’s model, as newer vehicles have a screen obstructing the use of a hose for dredging from within the gas reservoir. If this is the case, you should look underneath and simply locate and stab the gas tank with a knife until it breaks.

Remember to take it easy, as any spark could become lethal. If time is of the essence, pierce an additional hole while placing the jug strategically underneath.

If you encounter older models, you’ll be able to remove the metal seal on top of the tank. Then simply place the rubber hose and use your mouth to create pressure. Now let the fuel drain out.

You have now acquired a very precious resource. You leave the jug with gasoline aside and stride for another car.

  1. Seatbelts

These are extremely useful if SHTF, so you’ll want to collect as many as possible. Due to their quality nylon content they will make for the perfect cord.

Stretch the seatbelt to a maximum point before cutting its ends using a knife.

  1. Mirrors

While you’re at it, don’t forget about the mirrors.

For the exterior ones you’ll only require a knife or other pointy instrument such as a screwdriver. Work along the housing and carefully remove the mirror intact.

Aim for the interior one and apply the same technique. If you have a screwdriver at hand, simply unscrew the mirror from the roof.

Now you have collected a perfect long range signaling instrument and can also start a fire using only the Sun’s energy. Additionally, the mirror can be used to inspect wounds or for personal hygiene.

  1. Jack and tools

It’s no rocket science to scavenge for tools. In fact, cars would be the most obvious place to look for them. You only have to know where to find them.

Most cars have special compartments underneath the visible layer of the trunk’s floor. If that’s not the case, look behind the car’s seats or underneath. It’s likely that you’ll find a jack lying next to the tools.

Besides the practical use of tools when consolidating your shelter, the bigger items like the steel lug could become your weapon of choice in face of danger.

  1. Tires

Now that you have collected the tools, it’s time to aim for the tires.

Check if there’s a spare tire in the trunk. If it’s missing, then you’ll have to disassemble the wheels.

If you’re on your own, the task of removing the wheels would be far too difficult, so your best bet would be the spare tire. If it’s not available in the first vehicle, then aim for another.

So why would I want to go through the hassle of removing and transporting a car’s wheels?

Well, you could start a very noticeable signal fire, and can even build a durable, insulated shelter out of them.

You can use tires to consolidate a raft, or even cut them in two to make the perfect animal feeder.

Get some fertile soil and you’ll be able to grow potatoes, onions, and even tomatoes.

There are numerous other use cases. You only need to use your imagination.

  1. Battery

This overlooked piece will provide 12-volt electrical power for an extended period of time. Use it to start a fire, charge your electronics (you’ll also need a power inverter) or provide the engine spark for another vehicle.

Car batteries are a core part of the engine. Most vehicles have it in front of the car, so just lift the hood and there you have it.

Come equipped with a wrench or pliers to dislodge the battery safely. Just cut the tie-down bar’s holdings and terminal wires and you should be able to remove the battery safely.

  1. Motor Oil

Oil is the perfect lubricant for mechanical parts and firearms. It can also be used as fuel for your oil burning furnace to generate heat inside your shelter.

When looking for motor oil, you should first target pickup trucks. Lower yourself beneath the car and seek the oil drain bolt. Place the water jugs or other container underneath and remove the bolt using a wrench.

  1. Carpets and covers

The bulky, soft fabrics inside a vehicle can provide extremely good insulation for your shelter. Use them either as a shield for nature’s elements, or as bedding covers and blankets.

Floor covers are great for patching them on the interior walls of your shelter. Seat covers are easily removable and are soft enough to sleep on them.

If these were already scavenged, then your last resort will be the upholstery.

Notice: Avoid using these to start or fuel a fire because they release dangerous chemicals in fumes when burned.

  1. Lights

You’ll enjoy these correlated with your 12-vot battery. Automotive lights provide excellent lighting for your shelter.

You can remove an entire headlight set with housing if you can rely on your knowledge and skillset. Otherwise it would just be wise to remove the light bulbs alone.

Discarding the lights could prove a finical process, but if you have the appropriate wrenches and a pair of needle-nose pliers you should be successful.

Headlights of old models can be removed by unclipping or twisting the bulbs from behind. This will get them out of their housing.

Don’t forget to collect two wire pieces while you’re at it. Get this either from the engine or other electronic gear. Use these to connect to the salvaged car battery and you’ll gain precious light to tend to your needs.

These were all the important parts you can salvage from a vehicle. You may also stumble upon various other goodies, but those will come as bonuses.

Remember that if the socio-economic infrastructure fails for some reason, scavenging cars may be one of your best alternatives of finding precious, useful resources.

If you haven’t headed inside buildings in the first week after SHTF, then chances are those places have already been cleared out. Venturing inside buildings for resources might not be the wisest idea because you’ll risk falling prey to others, stepping into a trap or ambush, and even being surprised by a group of wrongdoers.

Scavenging abandoned vehicles will offer great overall visibility and will give you the upper hand if something or someone is heading your way, unlike buildings where visibility is minimum.

Cars will also be scattered all across the country, making them less likely to have been scavenged by others. A treasure-trove might be awaiting inside the next trunk you’ll come across.

In a world where resources are running scarce by the day, you’ll learn to treasure any crappy item you will encounter and rejoice for any vital resources.

If such troubled times arrive, I hope you will be prepared to face them. After all, that’s what prepping is for.

Do you feel you would stand out to the challenge of a civilization breakdown? Would you venture outside to salvage car parts to enhance your positions? Or would you rather seek alternative options?

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