Want To Prep But Not Sure Where To Begin?

Sign Up for Our Newsletter and Get Your FREE One Year Urban Survival Plan!

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Would Your Vehicle Survive An EMP?

    This post may contain affiliate links.* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to read our affiliate policy.
    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    Would Your Vehicle Survive An EMP?

    Most preppers and even non-preppers have heard of the term EMP. An EMP is one of the by-products of a nuclear detonation. It’s an invisible pulse that spreads out at the speed of light and is highly disruptive or even lethal to electronic components.

    EMPs have become a very popular and debated topic due to its potential effects on our highly technological world. Every aspect of our lives is now dependent on technology and one item that is easily overlooked in our everyday lives, is your vehicle sitting in the driveway.

    Want to save this post for later? Click Here to Pin It On Pinterest!

    The Vulnerability Of Modern Vehicles

    There is a lot of speculation surrounding the specific effects of an EMP but what we do know is that it has the potential of shutting electronics down or even frying the components. Why does this matter in terms of your vehicle?

    Prior to about 1980, vehicles were mainly mechanical machines paired with electrical systems (wires). After 1980, vehicles started to have computers and electronic components added to them. Computers and their components are more sensitive to an EMPs’ effects than just an electrical wire.

    As time went on, computers and their components became more and more integrated into a vehicle and those components continued to become smaller, making them even more sensitive.

    So the assumption is that if an EMP happens and your vehicle is in its crosshairs, a modern vehicle will be instantly shut down. Possibly permanently.

    What Can You Do About It?

    The most obvious solution is to get the oldest vehicle you can find. The older the vehicle, the less electronic components it will have. However, depending on the type and year of the vehicle, it may still be susceptible to the effects of an EMP, just not to the same degree that a newer vehicle would be.

    For example, a vehicle from 1980 might only have a few components that would need to be replaced after an EMP versus a vehicle from 2018 which might need a whole bunch of components replaced. Another thing to keep in mind is that older vehicles are much easier to work on than newer vehicles, which brings us to the next point.

    Having a vehicle from the right decade isn’t enough. If you are truly concerned about an EMP, then you are also going to need to stockpile spare parts, fluids, tools, and fuel. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to invest your time and money in finding a vehicle that can survive an EMP if you can’t keep it going after the first tank of fuel is gone or a maintenance issue arises (which they always do)

    The vehicle and spare parts should also be shielded as best as possible by using the principles of a faraday cage. Above all, You will also need to learn how to maintain and repair that vehicle because you don’t want to be driving around town with the only working vehicle asking for a mechanic. This may seem intimidating at first but, most common maintenance issues really aren’t all that difficult to learn about or remedy. 

    What Type Of Vehicle Should I Get?

    The overall goal is to get a vehicle with the least amount of electrical components as possible. This means you don’t want electrical components and computers controlling primary functions like pumps, ignition systems, and fuel injection. It would also be best to keep other functions as simple as well, such as windows, lights, and locks.

    As to the specific types of vehicle you should get, you should first break them down into two very broad categories; utility vehicles and non-utility vehicles or passenger vehicles.

    Examples of utility vehicles would be trucks and jeeps. These types of vehicles are meant for driving off road, hauling supplies, and towing. They are not meant for comfort, speed, or transporting a lot of passengers, and they may possibly consume more fuel than a passenger car. 

    Examples of non-utility vehicles or passenger cars include pretty much everything else; cars, station wagons, and sports cars. Non-utility vehicles are meant for comfort, transporting more passengers, or speed, and they tend to have better fuel mileage.

    The only way a non-utility vehicle makes sense during and after an EMP event, is if you know (which you kind of can’t) without a shadow of a doubt that your vehicle will always be driven on smooth, even, or paved roadways.

    Many people will probably disagree with this but in the times of SHTF, the comfort and speed offered by non-utility vehicles shouldn’t be much of a consideration. Things are going to be uncomfortable and bumpy, sorry, but it is what it is.

    The speed or the acceleration of a vehicle is something to consider, especially when trying to escape a danger or threat, but lack of speed is something that can be compensated for in other ways. 

    While there isn’t a right type of vehicle to choose, because it depends on your circumstances and what the vehicle would be used for, most people would probably agree on getting a utility vehicle over a non-utility vehicle.

    A utility vehicle may not be as fast or it may not transport as many people comfortably, but what it lacks in those areas, it more than makes up for with its ability to drive on and over a variety of surfaces.

    If an EMP is ever used on a large scale and it does what we all fear it could do, it will most likely be used during a time when most people are at work, away from home, and on the road. This would have the potential of leaving millions of vehicles stranded and blocking the roadways.

    This means you will most likely have to go off road, even just for a bit. This doesn’t mean your vehicle has to be able to scale the side of a mountain, but it should at least be able to cross some small ditches in order to get around other vehicles, cross shallow waterways, handle steeper than normal inclines and declines, have 4×4 capability, and be able to handle small rocks and obstacles without worrying too much about damaging the undercarriage.  

    Honestly, exactly which  model to get doesn’t matter all that much unless you have a specific purpose or need in mind. For example, if you plan on spending the majority of your time driving across rugged terrain, then a station wagon isn’t going to be a great choice.

    The bottom line is that any vehicle that will work after an EMP event, will be better than no vehicle at all, but a utility type of vehicle will provide more driving surface options.

    When trying to decide on what vehicle to get, keep the following things in mind:

    • What year is it?
    • Are parts still reasonably available?
    • How easy is it to work on?
    • Will it serve my purposes?
    • Where do I plan on primarily driving it?

    A Few Quick Alternatives

    When the EMP topic is brought up in terms of transportation, everyone’s main focus is to always find ways to keep that car going.  This is understandable because cars are what we are used to, most of us already have them,  and they are very useful for a variety of reasons. However, here are three transportation alternatives that are NOT affected in the least by an EMP.

    Horses, Mules, and Wagons

    Yep, horse and buggy time. Now would be a great time to start putting some consideration into “old school” and traditional modes of transportation. This won’t work for everyone’s current situation, it can be a lot of work, and this option will require a substantial investment but it is very dependable.

    Push Carts

    Recommending that you get a push cart instead of a car may seem like a ridiculous thing to bring up but, if  you are only concerned with transporting supplies or even a person, short distances then a cart is handy to have. Of course, other than the limiting space and power, the biggest downfall with this option is that there needs to be at least one person who is physically capable of working it.


    Bicycles are a fantastic alternative mode of transportation that are often overlooked, but they really shouldn’t be and for a variety of reasons.

    • Bicycles are pretty darn affordable, in fact you could certainly buy one for everyone in your family for less than what a car or truck would cost.
    • Spare parts for bikes are relatively cheap and don’t take up much space which means a ton of spare parts can be stockpiled.
    • They are also much easier to work on and repair, especially when on the move.
    • They never run out of fuel as long as there is a rider.
    • They can pull carts behind them, and have various ways of attaching supplies to them.
    • They can be ridden over different terrains, both in urban environments and more rural settings.
    • And probably one of their best features, they are silent.

    Like this post? Don't Forget to Pin It On Pinterest!

    Want To Prep But Not Sure Where To Begin?

    Sign Up for Our Newsletter and Get Your FREE One Year Urban Survival Plan!

      We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Are You Ready For The Collapse? Visit Collapse Survival Site
      Notify of
      1 Comment
      Oldest Most Voted
      Inline Feedbacks
      View all comments