By Jeremiah Johnson – Ready Nutrition
ReadyNutrition Readers, I’m the last person on earth who would ever advocate going out and buying a brand-new vehicle from a showroom floor. For any of you who may be selling automobiles, this is no insult to you or your products. This article is meant to point out the advantages to “recycling” that older vehicle you have, and making an old thing into something new. This has to do with a preparatory and survival mentality, not about saving dollars. It has to do with things that may help you when you need them after the SHTF.
We have already seen and read a myriad of articles on the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), and the susceptibility of newer-model cars and trucks to the pulse, due to the reliance of the vehicles on complex circuitry and integrated computer systems. OK, so you have an old 1973 Ford pickup truck, and it’s on it’s last legs. It is a five speed and doesn’t utilize any of the ultramodern component parts just mentioned; however, the engine is not what it used to be.
Before you scrap it, I want to bring before you the possibility of doing a complete engine overhaul on the vehicle. Understand if this avenue is pursued, you need the services of a competent mechanic…one who you can totally trust and rely on. What an engine overhaul entails is detailed, but not complicated. You will put out some money on this one, however, it may turn out to be a goldmine for you. The pragmatic, non-preparatory reason is that if the engine is completely fixed and placed into reliable working order, the money you would have sunk into a new vehicle is completely eliminated.
The engine overhaul is just as it sounds: taking your vehicle’s engine completely apart, cleaning the parts that are serviceable, and replacing any parts with new ones as needed. You can spend several thousand dollars on this, and once again, this will vary with your factors of the vehicle’s condition, availability of parts, and what not. A good mechanic will do this and certify your vehicle after completion for an additional hundred thousand miles. Then what?
Well, you’ve eliminated a car payment, as we mentioned. Your older model should be well within the limits of being protected from an EMP, as mentioned, as it does not hold all of the modern hardware. There are some other factors worth considering as well. Remember those “black boxes” installed in the vehicles after 2012/2013 and (some firms) even earlier? Well, that “secret agent” inside of your engine that tracks your every move with the vehicle is then eliminated.
In some states (Montana is one of them) if your vehicle is a certain age, you can apply for a “permanent” tag that will eliminate the yearly fee of their sticker on your license plate. In addition, an older model may not be subject to the same emissions requirements as a new one, eliminating the needs for inspection, compliance, and funds expended. Also, your insurance may even be reduced if you present paperwork showing that your vehicle has been improved in this manner.
Camouflage is another issue. Your “beater” of a pickup truck doesn’t attract as much attention, both pre and post-SHTF. It is less likely to be stolen or interfered with (interior looted, etc.) Another thing is its simplicity. The good mechanic will be able to advise you on what extra parts to obtain, pertaining to those that frequently wear out. If the engine is simple, it is usually simple to repair it. Of course there are other factors to weigh in, such as if it’s a gas guzzler, but here again, the mechanic can help you out in the initial assessment and can tell you whether or not the engine overhaul will significantly improve the gas mileage you’ve been getting.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that you may have “tailor made” this vehicle to serve your needs, such as weapons racks or tool brackets and boxes. You are familiar with it, and know its limitations when you’re driving it…what it can and cannot do. Think of how it was when you picked up the vehicle new. You’ll be taking it back in the direction of that capability. You won’t have to start out on a brand-new slate; it’s almost akin to having a surgery that will extend your life, and in this case it is the life of your vehicle.
Consider the engine overhaul on that early-model vehicle, and you’ll save money in the long run, and keep that anonymity that you so desperately desire as a prepper and survivalist. The key is the good mechanic. When all is finished, you’ll have something that will not look pretty on the outside as a new vehicle but you’ll have restored an asset that you need. You will have invested in something that you know inside and out…capabilities and limits. Then you can capitalize on this, and rely upon it again to suit your needs. Happy motoring, and find that good mechanic! JJ out!
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.