The one piece of survival gear that’s with you just about all the time is your truck. No matter how much you prepare at home or your bug out spot, if you can’t get to it safely when the SHTF you’re out of luck. Since you rely on a truck so much for safety in survival times, it only makes sense to get it ready for survival just like you. Here are seven tips to get your truck ready for survival and whatever TEOTWAWKI can throw its way.
1. Upgrade Tires
Standard all-season tires won’t cut it when you’re having to off-road to get around traffic jams or roads that are missing all together. You don’t need monster truck tires here, just something that will keep you moving in mud, snow, and loose roads. You should look at getting 31-33” tires rather than 40” or larger; you don’t want to have to upgrade everything else around them or be unsafe.
2. Locking Differential
Unless you have a locking differential you’re going to experience slippage when you’re in mud and snow. A standard differential, even one on a 4WD truck, allows a wheel that is spinning to take all the power.
A locking differential however will keep the same power going to both wheels on that axle. This means that if one tire is in the mud the one out of it will keep moving you along. You can learn more about differentials here.
3. Suspension Lift
If for nothing else, a decent suspension lift should be added to give you more ground clearance, which is great for running over rocks, road debris, and the occasional zombie.
You only need 2-3 inches of lift on your truck to make it ideal for getting out of dodge. Remember, you’re just adding additional ground clearance and not making a rock climber.
There are a few reasons for not building a huge monster truck. For starters, every inch of lift you give add gives your truck about 3% more drag, which means a 6” lift would add about 18% to your drag, which can really hurt fuel economy. With gas a definite concern, you want to be as fuel-efficient as possible.
4. Skid Plates
Since you’re planning on running a few things over with your new lifted suspension, it’s a good idea to install some skid plates over the most important parts of the undercarriage.
A good skid plate on the front will guard steering, front axle, and the bottom of the engine/oil pan. Mid-section plates will guard fuel lines, brake lines, and the passenger compartment. Rear plates will keep your gas tank from getting up-close and personal with a rock as well as keep your rear axle right where it should be.
5. Truck Snorkel
When you drive through water that is higher than the air intake for your engine something bad happens. The engine gets water inside it and since water can’t be compressed, the engine tends to blow up. Even a little water is all it takes to hydro lock your engine and really ruin your day.
Install a snorkel that pulls air from the same level as the roof and you should be pretty safe, as long as you don’t try driving totally submerged that is.
6. Brush Guard
Brush guards keep the things that you hit with your truck from crumpling the front end up and ruining your radiator. One of the quickest ways to disable a vehicle is to trash the radiator. You also need to protect your headlights and hood as well.
By installing a brush guard you protect all the vitals up front on your truck so if you hit a deer, crash through a fence, or mow down a zombie your truck will be no worse for the wear.
7. Communications Equipment
In a true survival situation you have to assume that cell phones and Internet access will be history, so person-to-person communication equipment will be the only way to stay in touch with your fellow survivors.
A good, high-quality CB radio is a perfect place to start. Mount one in your truck and you’ll be prepared in case of an emergency. Another great piece of technology to install is a police scanner (if they’re legal in your area). This can help direct you away from bad situations and to hear what the police are dealing with; both great things for SHTF-type situations.
Most truck survival upgrades are standard off-road upgrades as well. This is a great because you don’t want people knowing you’re preparing your truck for the end of the world, as you’ll be the first place they go when something bad happens.