Vehicle Prep & Maintenance

Vehicle Prepping:

Maintain your vehicles so that they are ready for long-distance travel at any given time. Keep your tires properly inflated (including the spare), and change your oil and other fluids per the schedule in your car’s operating manual.

Keep maps of your state and any nearby states that you may travel through should you have to bugout. Have preplanned escape routes and rally points (RPs) throughout those routes. Have more than one way out planned just in case your primary route is wiped out or jammed with traffic. Make sure that each driver in your convoy knows which route to take. Maintain the convoy and do not split up, however make sure that each driver knows the location of the preplanned RPs should your accidentally get split.

Keep spare parts and basic tools in each vehicle. Further down on this page is a suggested list of items to keep in your Car Box.

Make sure that anyone old enough to drive knows basic auto maintenance and repairs, such as checking fluids, and how to change a tire.

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Vehicle Maintenance:


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Vehicle Trouble Shooting Guide:

Most Four-Stroke Engine Problems Fall Into One Of These Two Categories:

Engine Won’t Start:

  • Fuel line problems.
  • Carburetor problems.
  • Ignition problems.
  • Compression problems.

Engine Runs Poorly:

  • Engine smokes.
  • Engine overheats.
  • Engine knocks.
  • Engine misses under load.


Engine Problem Diagnosis:

Engine Smokes:

  • Blue or white smoke = engine burning oil.
  • Engine producing black smoke = mixture is too rich.  Adjust the mixture on the carburetor.
  • Air filter may be plugged.

Engine Overheats:

  • Engine is dirty.  Especially important with air-cooled engines.  Clean the engine.
  • Oil level is low.  Add the appropriate amount of oil.
  • Shrouds or cooling fins are missing on an air-cooled engine.  Repair or replace.
  • Fuel mixture is too lean.  Adjust the mixture.
  • The fuel tank vent, fuel tank screen, or fuel filter may be plugged.

Engine Knocks:

  • Combustion chamber contains excess carbon.  Pour small sips of Seafoam into the carburetor while the engine is running.  You will know that it is cleaning the engine when it is producing thick, white smoky exhaust.
  • Sparkplug wire is faulty.  Replace the wire(s).

Sparkplug Misses Under Load:

  • Sparkplug is fouled.
  • Sparkplug is faulty or the gap is incorrect.
  • Carburator is set incorrectly.
  • Valve springs are weak.
  • Valve clearance is set incorrectly.

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Tire Markings And How To Tell The Manufacturing Date Of A Tire:


How To Analyze Tire Wear:

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How To Plug A Tire:

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How To Patch a Radiator:

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Car Box Checklist:

  • Knife
  • Road flares
  • Fix-a-Flat
  • Tire plugs
  • Duct tape
  • Electric tape
  • Tool set
  • Oil
  • Spare fuses
  • Flashlight / batteries
  • Chem-lights (glow sticks)
  • Road Flare(s)
  • Work gloves
  • Poncho
  • Bottled water (especially if you will be driving through the desert or similar hot area)
  • Blanket(s) or poncho liner(s) (especially if you will be driving through cold area)
  • First-aid kit
  • Toilet seat covers (especially if you have children)

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