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Things To Scavenge Off Of Old & Abandoned Vehicles In A SHTF Survival Situation

Cars can increase chances of survival significantly if you know what to look for. This guide will show you what you need to look for.

It is estimated that there are 800 motor vehicles per 1000 people in the United States.

If you ever face a survival situation where the SHTF, you will be grateful if there are many cars around you.

The Car Body

A car does not turn into a useless piece of junk if it does not run anymore. Most people overlook the car itself when looking for useful items.

The car can be seen as a ready to use shelter that will protect you from the cold, storms, and wild animals.

If it does run, then you are even better off if you stick with it. You now have a portable shelter that can take you to a secure place where your chances of survival are bigger.

The Trunk & Glove Box

The most obvious places to look are the trunk and glove box. Most people keep tools such as starter cables, first aid kits, blankets and flashlights in their trunk.

In their glove box you will usually find food, lighters, and even maps.

If you find a lighter you can use it to start a fire, purify water and cook food. A map can help with navigation.


Mirrors are extremely valuable in a survival situation. Cars offer a lot of mirrors to use, so finding one shouldn’t be hard at all. The rear view mirror will most likely still be in the car, Mirrors can be used for signaling and are very easy to use.

Although a fire can be used for signaling as well, but could be too inconvenient since it attracts unwanted visitors. Mirrors, on the other hand, can signal more precise and will only alert people in a direct line of sight.

Mirrors can also be used to check hard to see areas (such as snake dens).


Seats could offer a lot of different uses, depending on the material. With leather seats, you can create shoes and bags.

Seats made of fabric can be used for warmth and clothing, and if the seats happen to have seat covers, you can use those as covers for the ground or a blanket.


If the broken glass shards happen to be long enough, you can create a handle using duct tape to make a nifty cutting tool. The headlight contains a case and a lamp that can help you start a fire.

You can use the reflector of the headlights to start a fire quite easily, if you have tinder and some sunlight. Due to the reflective qualities of the housing, you can use it to magnify the power of the sun and create an ember in the tinder.

You can even use the glass found in the headlights the same way you would use a magnifying glass to start a fire.


A rope is one of the most essential items in a survival kit. You may not always carry rope with you, but luckily cars offer a lot of wire that can be used as makeshift rope.

Wires found in the car can be used in numerous ways. You can construct shelters with them, build traps and hold gear together.


A creative mind instantly sees a makeshift sled when looking at an old, rusty car door. Door panels are very lightweight and can be used to either create a shelter or even use as a shield.

It may be quite difficult to take apart a door panel, so having a multi-tool might come in handy.

Seat Belts

Seat belts are a great addition to the list of items to look for. Seat belts can be used as a thick or a thin cord. If you prefer a thin cord, you can cut the seat belt into smaller strands.

When removing the seat belts from the car, make sure to pull them out as far as they can – you really don’t want to waste resources in a survival situation.


A car really can be your best friend in a survival situation. Remember that a car offers even more tools than listed.

But keep in mind that if you carry all the items in a backpack, every pound will count so decide what really is needed when scavenging items from a car.

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Sergeant Survival

I spread the news of disaster preparedness and homesteading skills to the masses. My mission is to teach the keyboard commandos out there some real life skills.

1 Comment

  1. Battery? Alternator?

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