EMP Proof Vehicle For Bugging Out When Things Go Dark

Modern cars and trucks are highly dependent on an array of computers, control modules, and other electronics making them lousy EMP proof vehicles.

This trend started to develop in the late 1970s, and vehicles have become increasingly computerized over the intervening decades.

Computerization has led to benefits like increased fuel efficiency, but it has also created a massive vulnerability in our transportation system – the lack of EMP proof bug out vehicles.

In the event of a large-scale EMP attack, it’s highly likely that the roads will be clogged with broken down vehicles.

If you want to circumvent that issue, you need to make sure that your family owns one of those rare EMP proof vehicles that will survive an electromagnetic pulse attack.

What is an EMP?

EMP stands for electromagnetic pulse, and in terms of SHTF scenarios this type of attack is one of the most frightening.

A high-altitude nuclear detonation over our country would send intense magnetic fields screaming into our atmosphere with enough charge to melt power lines, and fry basically anything with a computer chip.

Try to name one single electronic device these days that is without a chip. Imagine all the things that would fail immediately – cars, planes, computers, cell phones, pacemakers, power grids…the list goes on and on.

One of the ways to protect against the effects of EMP is to store your devices in a Faraday bag.

While it is impossible to be completely EMP-proof, or to harden all of your devices against an attack, there is one important step you can take with regard to protecting your ability to move about after an EMP:  Find a EMP proof vehicles for your family.

Solid State Electronics

Any vehicle that uses solid state electronics is vulnerable to an EMP attack. Transistors, microchips, and integrated circuits are all examples of solid state electronics.

Modern vehicles use these components in complicated computer units and control modules, but they are also found in voltage regulators, ignition modules, and other components.

In the best case scenario, these components will be temporarily shorted out by an EMP attack.

Heavier exposure to an EMP will fry the components altogether, which will leave many vehicles unable to run.

Finding EMP Proof Vehicles

When it comes to bug out vehicles that are resistant to EMP attacks, old is better than new. The major vehicle manufacturers didn’t all introduce computerized control modules at the same time, so there is no single cutoff year.

You should focus on models that were built prior to 1980, but it’s crucial to verify that your bug out vehicle isn’t computerized.

If you need help locating a vehicle I highly recommend a service such as Vroom.

Engine, transmission, and body control modules are all vulnerable to EMP attacks, but many other components also use solid state electronics.

If you can find a bug out vehicle that was built during the 1960s or early 1970s, the alternator will typically be less vulnerable to EMP attacks.

That’s because most vehicles from that era used mechanical voltage regulators that can’t be damaged by an EMP.

You should also look for EMP proof vehicles that have a mechanical ignition system, because electronic ignition systems rely on vulnerable ignition control modules.

Gasoline or Diesel

There are differing opinions on whether to choose a bug out vehicle with a gas or diesel engine.

Diesel vehicles can run on a wider range of fuels, but gasoline may be easier to find and siphon from broken down cars and trucks.

Newer diesel vehicles have to be modified if you want to run anything but petrodiesel in them, but that won’t be an issue if you buy an older model.

The choice ultimately comes down to whether you’re more comfortable with a gas vehicle or a diesel vehicle.

Price Ranges

The best thing about buying EMP proof vehicles is that they probably won’t break the bank.

Since you’ll be looking at older vehicles, most of your potential choices will have depreciated in value long ago.

According to NADA, the average retail price for a 1980 Ford F-350 is less than $4,000. The low-end retail price for that same vehicle is less than $2,000.

The exact price of EMP proof vehicles will depend on the model you choose, the condition it’s in, and where you live, but there are a lot of older cars and trucks out there that are priced to sell.

Maintaining an Older Bug Out Vehicle

The maintenance needs of your bug out vehicle will depend on whether or not you drive it regularly.

If you just leave it parked next to your house, you’ll need to start it up and run it every few weeks.

It’s also a good idea to drain the fuel tank or add a stabilizer, because varnished gas can clog up a carburetor.

You should also consider purchasing a carburetor rebuild kit, points for your distributor, and other small components that can wear out over time.

Converting Existing Vehicles to EMP Proof Vehicles

If you just can’t fit dedicated EMP proof vehicles into your budget, you may be able to prepare your existing car or truck for an attack. The key is to identify all of the vulnerable electronics and then purchase replacements. Many of these components can be bought from wrecking yards, which can keep the costs down.

You’ll then have to build or purchase a Faraday bag to hold the components. If your vehicle fails to start after an EMP attack, you can simply swap out the control modules and other electronics.


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  1. DieHardPatriot

    A simple galvanized garbage can will do the trick if tightly sealed where the lid meets the can.

    • If storing stuff in a galvanized garbage can (or similar) make sure that what you store is not in contact with the can. So don’t just drop a new coil, relays and the like directly into the can.

  2. I used a trash can but lined it with cardboard and grounded it to my incoming water line

  3. I put styrofoam around the inside of s Galvanized trashcan and inserted everything I wanted to protect. Then I used aluminum tape to seal it. Then I attached a copper ground wire and ran it out of my shop and attached it to a grounding rod that I drove into the ground. I read that you can attach a cable under your car and drag it on the ground to save your car’s electronics in the event of a EMP. Does anyone know if that would work?

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