Emergency events don’t always happen when we’re at home, and some even require us to leave home if we are. Either way, our vehicles are a big part of a family’s emergency response. If the school calls because a son or daughter was hurt, can you rely on your car to get you there, fast, right now? If flash flooding is expected to make your area unsafe, can you use that vehicle to get you out of there, right now? While I’m not suggesting you break traffic laws, will the vehicle hold up to the demand you put on it if you had to drive it in a ‘determined manner’ to handle your emergency location?
Similarly, we may rely on certain equipment, like tractors, generators, chain saws, etc, as part of our preparedness. These all have suggested maintenance schedules as well.
In any event, proper maintenance of our possessions helps ensure its serviceability and saves on repair and replacement costs. Money in pocket is always a good thing when it comes to emergency preparedness. Preserve your stuff so you have more of that money.
Task: Assess your vehicle or equipment maintenance schedule and its current state of repair. Make a list of maintenance or repair items that you would want addressed before you needed the item in an emergency.
Typical maintenance includes oil changes, oil filter changes, air filter changes, and washer fluid refills. More sporadic inspections include drive belt inspection, brake fluid inspection, transmission fluid inspection, tune ups, and greasing certain fittings.
Your equipment comes with a maintenance schedule and log. Let’s look at using it. First, start a spreadsheet like the one found here:
- Enter in all the required maintenance items by mileage or hours (depending on equipment). If your manual is written for natural oil and you’ve switched to synthetic, make sure you use the oil’s schedule and not the equipment’s suggested service intervals.
- Address seasonal changes if your equipment requires different fluids or configurations in hot/cold weather (tractors will generally require thinner oil in the winter).
- Determine your equipment’s current odometer/hour reading and ascertain what maintenance you should have done.
- Determine your equipment’s storage state, if applicable, and determine if it has been properly stored (such as draining the fuel or using fuel stabilizer on a snow thrower put up for the summer).
- Take receipts and invoices of other maintenance and repair items you’ve performed. Enter the odometer and date on the spreadsheet. Note any warranty or replacement guarantees for these items and include it. This is important because if the same repair is required in the future, many places offer free replacement parts for the life of the vehicle.
- Get the maintenance you’ve identified handled. (this does not count towards the weekly cost limit of the ‘100 days to emergency preparedness’ program, it is maintenance items that should have been addressed outside this program.)
- Estimated cost: $0.
- Estimated time: 30 minutes.
- Accomplishment: Vehicle and equipment maintenance records, service required intervals, and maintenance schedule.
- Securing 2 liter water bottles and storing water. (5 min)
- Making notes on alternate daily drive routes. (5 min)