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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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