12 Months of Prepping: April

Welcome to my twelve months of prepping! The goal here is to break down how to get started prepping over the course of one year, and get you going on the right foot. Prepping is not only an individualized process specific to you and your situation (home, space, family, age, and more). It can also be very overwhelming because there is so much information out there. 

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My goal is to give you a great starting place, and the tools to decide what works best for you and your family. You’re welcome to leave me comments and ask questions as well. I’m happy to help! 

This process will be broken down over 12 posts, one for each month. In them, I’ll be talking about things to do each week. My advice is to pick a specific day each week to work on your prepping. That way you are committed to staying consistent and making this a habit. 

Week One

This month I want to focus on our vehicles. Spring is an excellent time to review and check your vehicles to make sure you are safe out on the road. There is nothing worse than being stranded and not knowing what to do. I avoid this whenever possible.

Once a month visually inspect all belts and hoses. Look for cracks, leaks, and excess fluid buildup on them. Fluid leaks are a major cause of belts breaking or cracking, and it is pretty easy to spot. This doesn’t mean you need to personally replace them or know how. What it does mean is that you have a basic knowledge to determine when there is a problem. 

Check your tires. Make sure they are at the proper pressure, and don’t appear to be flat or losing air. Also check for any visible issues like nails or screws embedded in the tires. Know how to check fluids like oil and coolant, and how much should be in there. Overfilling any fluids can just cause more problems and nobody wants that. 

Because every vehicle and the specifications differ, I’m not giving specific advice on numbers here. I recommend everyone look up the factory specifications for your specific vehicle and write the numbers down. 

Check basics like lights as well. There is nothing worse than a vehicle that isn’t safe, and the first thing to go is a light. But they are easy to check too. I generally have Nathan check them with me. These are also a great way to be pulled over by the police, and that just wastes time. 

Oil should be changed every 2,500-3,000 miles. Every time I have the oil changed, I rotate my tires as well. It is such an easy way to remember for me. The two things go hand in hand every time. 

Week Two

I check all the tools I keep in my vehicle and make sure that they are in good working order and organized. Nathan is famous for not putting anything back in the same place twice and I have to go hunting for it. I keep this duffel bag in my vehicle at all times for easy organization. 

Some things that every vehicle needs to have in the bag are a tire pressure gauge. These are inexpensive, portable, and easy to use. Know the proper pressure that is needed for your tires as well. It is easy to over inflate them and then the tire explodes. Improperly inflated tires can affect how your vehicle handles and the gas mileage. 

Jumper cables and emergency flares are a must as well. I use my four way flashers when needed. But drivers also ignore those and I worry I’ll be hit by somebody not paying attention. Flares are a great addition to make things more safe in an emergency, especially at night. When I see the flares, I immediately start slowing down and looking for the cause. 

Week Three

In that same duffel bag that I talked about earlier, I keep a stash of food and water. I have purchased snack pouches from Thrive Life that remain in my vehicle at all times. I’m not going to starve to death if I get stuck somewhere. A case of bottled water is not only inexpensive, it is essential. 

Spare blankets and jackets are also essential. I am a big fan of emergency blankets because they are compact and weightless. Keeping warm can become a matter of life and death. 

Week Four

This is the week where I encourage you to take the time to learn. Knowledge is power! Don’t waste it. Learn how to change the tires on your vehicle in case you have a flat. Check the oil, know where all the fluids are. Practice using the tire gauge to check your air pressure. 

It takes a simple YouTube search to find videos specific to your vehicle make and model to find any of these things. I’ve watched some where someone goes through the entire engine from top to bottom, just pointing out where everything is. Take the time to learn. Don’t open the hood and stare blankly at the engine. If you have questions, I’m ninety nine percent certain there will be a video to walk you through a process. 

Not only can you help yourself in an emergency or breakdown, you have the ability to stop and help others if you choose. Making someone else’s day just a little easier is something I not only appreciate when it is me, but I try to pay that forward when I have the opportunity. 

Notes: 

The best advice I can offer here is to write everything down! I take notes in my planner every month when I check my vehicles. I pretty much have to write everything down because I will forget and what seems like “just yesterday” will be a month or two ago. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we will remember something. Every month I have to write down maintenance things for my home, vehicles, and even my blog. I encourage you to do the same. This helps create good habits and important things are not ignored or forgotten. 

What kind of emergency supplies do you keep in your vehicle? Is there anything I’m missing in my list? Tell me your thoughts in the comments! 

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20 thoughts on “12 Months of Prepping: April”

  1. I am happy to say I was all set for month one with the exveption of week three. I do have some bottled water in my car and a hoodie but I don’t have food or rations to that extent. I am a stickler for checking out all my families cars once a month including oil, fluids etc. We are also good with oil changes and make sure that all vehilces are running to the top of their ability. I know my way around a car well enough to know where everything is but major repairs at this point are beyond me. Everything is too technical these days and computer controlled. I leave that to the experts.

  2. This sounds like a great plan to keep everything on track and I agree keeping up with your vehicle is extremely important.

  3. We keep up on our oil changes, and I also have a mini tool box that we keep in both of our vehicles. I will need to go through it, and see if everything still looks good. This was a great prepping list, and I will actually take a few things from this, and add it to our list of things to do.

  4. I’ve never thought about keeping a stash of food and water in my car but it’s such a great idea. You never know when you may be stuck somewhere without facilities.

  5. For us, April marks the start of the camping season, meaning that we’re on the road a lot more. Therefore, we make it a big priority to focus at the start of the month on getting everything in order with our jeep. If we don’t, we risk being stranded on the side of the road somewhere with a vehicle full of camping gear and 2 hyper dogs… that hardly sounds like a good time! Lol

  6. I don’t have a car now, but when I did, I was pretty vigilant in making sure I was checking things were working and in order. Just the idea of being stranded was enough to make sure it was on the top of things to do. So many of us may not even think, or neglect to do a vehicle check – this is a great step-by-step breakdown so that it’s not too time-consuming or overwhelming! My mom is really good at making sure that there are essentials (like emergency blankets, first aid kits, flashlights, etc) in the car – a habit I picked up from her!

  7. Prepping for emergency situations is like paying your insurance premium. The chances of using it low but the risk of not having it is unimaginable.
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips.

  8. What a great post! I love planning and organizing, so this really appealed to me. Writing down everything is so key to getting things done. Love it!

  9. I love the idea of this article series! Prepping is such an in depth thing it is great to see you breaking it down for us laymen folk.

    Prepping for vehicle safety is so important! I try to have an extra set of sweatpants and boots in my car for all of our family members as well as extra blankets, food & water and a candle with matches if we get stranded somewhere. I am not as prepared when it comes to knowing how to change a tire or check the fluids in my vehicle – I usually leave that up to the hubs but I can see how important it is! You’ve inspired me to learn these simple tasks so I don’t run into any real trouble while on the road! Great article!

  10. I drive for a living and it is my second home so i am always sure i take it to the mechanic every 6000 clicks and all the other stuff. I have winter tires but need to do better for planning for emergencies. Thanks for this amazing article and look forward to the remainder of the series.

  11. This was honestly so helpful! As someone who knows almost nothing about how cars work, I really need to start taking more responsibility when it comes to my vehicle. I’ve actually written down your tips and plan on following each one!

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