Getting Ready . . .

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Many people are deciding they’ll keep the car they have rather than buy a new car equipped with so many “features” they don’t want, including the kill switch “technology” mandated by the Biden Thing that’s coming online in 2026.

The issue then becomes: How to keep the car you have running?

This entails some planning.

A time may come – later this year, possibly – when it is no longer possible to get parts you need to keep what you’ve got running. And rolling.

A sound first step toward keeping the wheels turning is to make sure you’ve got an extra set of tires for them. Wheels without tires being almost as bad as a car without wheels.

Speaking of that. It might be smart to get an extra set of wheels to mount those tires on, so you can install them when the tires on the wheels currently affixed to your vehicle need to be replaced. If you have a set of new tires mounted on a set of spare wheels, you won’t be stymied by lack of a tire machine to remove the tires from the wheels your vehicle is currently riding on and mount/balance the new ones, as you’ll already have done that. Now all you’ll have to do is grab your lug nut wrench and remove/replace the wheels – which almost anyone can do.

The best time to buy a set of new tires (and a set of spare wheels to mount them on) is right now, especially if the tires on your vehicle right now are nearly new. If that sounds counterintuitive, consider: The set of new/nearly new tires you have on the wheels that are on your vehicle right now will keep you rolling for 2-3 years, at least – assuming the usual roughly 12,000 miles of driving most people do annually, normally. In abnormal times, you might only be driving a third that much – for essential reasons. In which case, the tires you have on your vehicle right now would keep you rolling for 5-6 years and possibly, longer. If you have a spare set of tires, already mounted on a spare set of wheels, you have tread for the next decade – maybe longer. Long enough, hopefully, to ride out what might be coming.

And if nothing comes – that’s End Times bad – you won’t have to worry about tires for the next 5-6 years, at least.

You’ll also want to be able to stop rolling, which means keeping your brakes in good working order. An extra set of pads/shoes bought now might be a good idea – along with a couple of bottles of brake fluid (so you can bleed the brakes, which will prevent or at least postpone hydraulic system problems such as master cylinder/wheel cylinder/caliper/piston problems. If you avoid regular hard braking (which creates heat that warps rotors as well as uses up pads) you can get years out of a brake job; a decade-plus if you have the necessary spare parts to do another.

Speaking of overheating . . .

Now is also a fine time to get your vehicle’s cooling system in fighting shape, so to speak. Check the coolant – and replace it with fresh if it’s not new. Get a spare water pump, thermostat, hoses and belts. You’ll be glad you have them when you can’t get them. As with tires, a just-serviced cooling system plus spare parts to do it again equals a decade (or more) of not having to worry about cooling problems, such as overheating and leaking/bursting hoses.

Batteries are a big one – because without one, your car’s engine won’t start (unless you have one with a manual transmission that you can push start). Getting one of the old-style ones that comes with the acid in a separate bottle to have on hand for just-in-case is a good idea and not just because it’s a good idea to have a spare on hand. The old style ones with the acid not yet inside the battery can be shelf-stored for years without worrying about loss of charge capacity (or needing to keep it hooked to a trickle charger). It’s also not a bad idea to have a way to trickle charge a battery in the absence of grid power. Here’s where a small solar rig could become important. Small solar rigs can’t charge an EV battery (at least, not in less than days) but they can distill enough sun juice to charge up a small 12V starter battery.

Other items to consider for your just-in-case inventory of needful spare parts:

Extra fuel injectors (if your car has EFI). These are easy to replace but almost impossible to rebuild (unlike a carburetor). Keeping at least two on hand might just keep you going.

Extra coil packs (if your car’s engine has coil-on-plug ignition).

A set of extra spark plugs.

Enough oil to change the oil twice (plus filters).

You might also want to invest in a spare fuel pump and alternator, too. If your vehicle is only a few years old, you may not need either for the next 15-20 years and maybe never. But if you have spares, you’ll be able to keep your vehicle running for almost forever.

This list is by no means complete; it is meant only to get you thinking. That’s something we all ought to be doing as we head into a year that might well determine the future for many years to come.

. . .

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe off topic,,, maybe not. It’s brrrrrr cold in this global warming age. About 30F,,, in Florida which is probably warm compared to many other places. Went to check my well house, found the 60 watt light bulb I use to keep the pump from freezing had burnt out. Out of spares. Have to use a 600 watt portable heater. Makes sense,,, no. This land of the free is beginning to get on my nerves.

    What the hell are they gonna make ‘illegal’ next? Oh yeah,,, cars, stoves, heaters, water heaters, air conditioners, pretty much anything invented that actually works in the last 20,000 years including spare parts. Yes,,, every night I go to bed I thank God I do not live in a tyrannical dictatorial country.

  2. Another point about replacement parts keep track of what works and the part numbers! My 91 Silverado was a head scratcher for the upper radiator hose recently. What cooling system radiator size? What engine size? AC? I did end up with the correct Delco brand hose and wrote it all in the maintenance log when done. My AC uses a Sanden style compressor 134a conversion and uses a shorter serpentine belt, that’s in the log too since the stock belt size no longer will fit.

    Spend extra get the best quality available. Do research of online reviews. I rebuilt the distributor about 6 years ago, spent extra for either OEM or top rated equivalents haven’t had to touch it since then. Example, distributor cap pay a bit more get one with brass not aluminum contacts. If you’re in a damp climate those aluminum contacts turn into aluminum oxide and you’ll have oxide dust all over the bottom of the distributor. Aluminum is a great conductor until it goes to oxide then “nope”!

  3. If it comes to that I’m going to get myself a strong donkey. I already have my eye on one, name of Sugar, friendly as all get out and built like a tank. I would be in trouble regarding collecting firewood, but that is why I have my own Agenda 2030, which has been successful and is expanding to 2035 (currently have seven years of firewood stored, and growing).

    • Exactly what I’ve been thinking. Even on my 1999 car, there are so many electronical parts and modules and small parts that are critical but which can break easily, that it’s really impossible to stockpile enough parts (except for common consumables) to keep it going. One just can’t anticipate what’s going to break. And even with consumables, like tires and batteries and belts, they have a shelf life even if you don’t use them. It can be a losing battle. We’re dependent upon a supply chain and stores having an old stock, and that’s the way it is and we’re going to have to find other means of transport in the near future (The very near future).
      Parts are already becoming hard to find and anything manufactured recently has a 50/50 chance of being defective right out of the box (So even if you stock some parts, they have a very good chance of not even working when you need them).

  4. Re: trickle chargers, you want a battery maintainer NOT a trickle charger. The maintainers won’t overcharge and are meant to be left going indefinitely. Trickle chargers can cook a battery if left on indefinitely, especially small batteries – motorcycle, lawn tractor.

    The cooling system hoses, get OEM or a name brand equivalent made from the same compound as OEM. The ChiCom rubber and vinyl is garbage, for example pick up an extension cord they don’t cure the vinyl properly it’s always gummy feeling.

  5. I’m thinking of buying the whole vehicle and having two of them.

    Park one and if you need a spare part, you have one. Buy a cover.

    Or you can just go buy the part you need and keep both vehicles running.

    COP 28 took place on Nov. 30, 2023, an estimated 400,000 invitations were sent out to people to attend the conference.

    The carbon footprint is off the charts. Captains of the industries have their fair share of indulgences. Which makes them all great big hypocrites. You’d think they’d get tired of doing the same thing over and over and never getting any results worth something.

    All they do is extract pounds of flesh and it doesn’t bother them one tiny bit.

    Nobody will miss them after they’re gone and that is not soon enough, good riddance.

    You can’t eat steak and it is all your fault.

    I’m buying beef steak and shrimp for a ship and shore evening dining.

  6. What’s the shelf life of a set of tires and a battery? Assume they’re stored in a unheated / cooled garage / shed / attic / whatever.

    • It’s mostly about the sun and ozone. The sun deteriorates tires faster than anything else.
      So, if in the garage away from the sun, I’ll guess 10-15 years no problem, maybe more?
      I personally would not do this with motorcycle tires however. I’ve witnessed 10-15 yr old motorcycle tires, and they get hard. And yet I’ve seen 20yrs old tires look and feel new, go figure. Probably manufacturing differences, but I doubt now.

      • Chris, I’ve been observing this for 30 years. I don’t have a reason but I have seen and noticed that I can pull a car out of the field with 50 year old American made tires and they will hold air. And you can drive on them at modest speeds. I had a 1949 Ford 8N tractor with original 28 inch tires on it, the rims rusted out but the rubber still worked.

        I’ve also had 5 year old Chinese tires go bad, apparently leaking right through the sidewall and even though they have good tread and few or no weather cracks, the only reliable cure is to put inner tubes in them. It also squares with other Chinese rubber products I’ve seen, often the first thing to fail on a Harbor Freight tool.

        I could make a joke about the huge Chinese population as a consequence of bad rubber but who’s laughing now?

    • Hi Mike,

      If you keep tires in a garage – ideally, one that’s at least connected to a house and so partially heated even if it isn’t directly heated and keep the tires out of the sun, they will often last 20 years or more. Ten easy. I would not do track days on ten year old tires. But driving down to the store? Absolutely.

    • Hi Mike:

      From what I’ve read make sure you store those tires far away from sunlight and ozone generating motors (like a compressor) to insure longer life. Intermittently put the battery (if it has acid in it) on a float charger, desulfators are also available and might be worth looking into. I don’t know about AGM batteries (or the ASS battery if applicable) though.

      As for motor oil shake it up really well so that any additives that have settled out are back into suspension and pour it into a hot engine and wait 15 minutes or so before starting the engine (aerated oil- probably not a problem but why take the chance).

      Remember to rotate shop supplies and consumables and date tag their best before and purchase dates.

  7. I can foresee the Feds simply shutting off the gasoline/oil supply. So what if you have all the extra parts for the future? No one is going anywhere if you cannot fill the gas tank. And even if you have extra gas (or diesel) stored, you will eventually run out. The government is beyond insane, and they are willing to go to any lengths to force us out of our vehicles. Stop short of just trying to shoot us all, which they feel would solve many of their supposed “problems” they think they have with us “little people”, who simply will not cooperate.

    • This is a far out thought, but I think it at least has some merit, something to think about.
      When the SHTF, (and it will), the “powers that be” don’t want any way for the “proles” (us) to fight back.
      Gasoline and other petroleum-based products are not only sources of massive amounts of energy in a small package, but can be used for other purposes, such as political and social revolution.
      One can easily cause much havoc with even a gallon of gasoline. Potassium nitrate, fuel oil and many other products derived from hydrocarbons are other ways in which to cause havoc and to “get the point across”.
      The “powers that be” are bent on eliminating any products that could successfully be used against them, hence the rush to eliminate hydrocarbon products as fuels for transportation by the masses.
      I have no propensity for violence, but am throwing this out there for others to think about.
      Get my point?

      • You are right but don’t go far enough. Your car/truck/bike/plane is a part of your personal arsenal, like the destriers of old. Which is why I’ve said in this forum many times before that driving is a right protected by the second amendment.

    • Storing extra fuel is a problem too…the new gas with ethanol doesn’t keep/store very well…it goes bad…..maybe after 2 or 3 months….

      the new low sulfur diesel has a similar problem…might last 6 month….but diesel fuel can be scrubbed/reconditioned, so has an advantage over gas….and an old diesel engine will run on multiple fuels…notice diesels were banned first…part of the no mobility for slaves agenda….

      • It’s a fairly easy process to remove ethanol from gasoline. Not very practical for large amounts, but it can be done. Stock up gasoline stabilizer, you should be good to go for a while.

  8. Where you store everything is important too. For the most part, keep it all away from direct sunlight, especially tires.

  9. I’m already doing that but mainly because of inflation. I’m stocking oil and filters for all my vehicles. I order my motorcycle tires about 6 months before I need them (oddball size) just to be sure I have it when I need it.

    My advice is make sure you have the tools you need to fix your stuff so you won’t have to pay a lot more later. Needless to say don’t forget to stock your pantry.

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