Nowadays, we see cars everywhere. Cities are filled with cars fighting for space. Even in the countryside there are plenty of automotives around. Odds are, when disaster strikes, you will come across abandoned vehicles. Depending on the crisis and your strategy, there are plenty of survival items that can be scavenged from an abandoned car.


Of course, you’re not going to go around breaking into people’s cars casually. Only in a survival situation, where your own or your family’s survival depends on it, should you consider this. This could also be very useful if your own car breaks down while you are traveling and you need spare parts.

Here are some scavenging ideas that could help you make the best out of an abandoned vehicle.

#1 Check the trunk.

People often keep tools, jumper cables, blankets or extra clothing in the trunk. If a vehicle was abandoned in a hurry, the owner probably didn’t bother to take everything with him.

#2 Check the glove box and center console.

Depending on how long it has been since the owner left, you might find food, lighters, first aid supplies and other useful things.

#3 Scavenge the mirrors.

Start by detaching the central mirror, and then take down the ones on the sides. You can use mirrors for signaling or starting fires, among other things.

#4 Scavenge the seats.

You can use the fabric for insulation in cold environments. If you come across leather seats, you could make other pieces of clothing from them, such as shoes or leggings.

#5 Scavenge the seat belt.

Seat belts are great as cordage. Make sure that you extend them as much as you can before cutting them. You can tie them together or split them to get smaller strands. You could even make a fishing line from them.

#6 The hood, doors and lid can be used for building a shelter.

You will probably need some tools to remove them. However, if you manage to do so, they might prove very useful in building some basic shelter. The doors could be sued as sleds during winter.

#7 Try taking the top side of the windows.

The edge can be used to sharpen knives if you manage to cut it without the window crumbling to pieces.

#8 Take out the car battery if you want to charge any of your devices.

This will take some 12V receptacles and a power inverter. All you have to do is connect the battery to the inverter using the receptacles. Then connect the inverter to your device.

#9 Scavenge the wiring.

The wires can be used as cordage for a number of things, such as shelters or snares. You can wrap them up in a ball for better storage.

#10 The glass from headlights can be used to cut many things.

You can fashion a handle out of duct tape so you don’t cut yourself when you use it. You could also build a fire with the lamp and case from a headlight. Just make sure the reflector lens has been polished properly. All you have to do is put some tinder in the reflector and place it under the sun. Heat will be directed to the tinder from all sides and you’ll soon have a small ember.

#11 Tires can be burned for signaling purposes.

They make a lot of black smoke that can be seen in the distance. The smoke is toxic so make sure that you keep clear of it. Also, be very cautious as burning tires is illegal in many states. Depending on how bad the crisis is, there might not be any kind of legal enforcement anymore, so it might be worth your while to consider it.

#12 Gasoline can be scavenged with a siphon or something similar.

ep_33.3You could use the gasoline to fuel your own vehicle or start a fire more easily. If you consider scavenging some gasoline, never puncture the tank. The smallest spark can cause an explosion. Even if there’s no fuel in it, it will still explode from the vapors that have set in the walls.

In a SHTF situation, if you have to bug out, you are very likely to come across many cars. Depending on the type of crisis and how long it has been since it struck, the usable supplies you’ll find will vary. In any case, you could use the car to build a shelter or to scavenge some goods. It could save your life.

What else would you scavenge from a car? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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