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?
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.
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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