What To Scavenge From Cars After SHTF


after SHTFWe all know how useful our cars are to us now, but have you thought about how useful they’ll be after SHTF?

Even if it’s a broken down hunk of junk, cars of all makes and models will be a huge asset to us down the road (no pun intended).

When a major emergency happens and the world is in panic, people are going to need every asset they can get their hands on that will help them survive. And that will include their vehicles.

It’s likely most automobiles will be abandoned or broken down within months of this enormous crisis, and, unless you know what to grab for yourself (and snag it early), most vehicles will be picked apart by the time you get there.

Note: Want some tips on how to prepare your car for SHTF so this doesn’t happen to yours? Learn how here.

You need your very best shot at survival when a major emergency happens, and sometimes that means taking parts out of/off vehicles to use for other purposes. That’s why you’ve GOT to keep reading this article on…

What To Scavenge From Cars After SHTF

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about when I talk about “scavenging survival tools/parts from cars,” here’s a short clip of National Geographic’s Dirty Rotten Survival as they take apart a car to salvage camping supplies.

1 – Airbag

One of the first things you can snag from an abandoned automobile is the airbag. Found in newer cars, these useful inventions have a multitude of survival uses, such as bartering and carrying supplies.However, make sure to detonate it correctly (like you saw in the above video) beforehand.

I’ve also supplied a couple videos for you to watch – one on how to remove the airbag from a car (top) and one about how to detonate the airbag once it’s removed (bottom). Enjoy.

2 – Abandoned Goodies

After the major crisis hits people are going to be fending for themselves and searching abandoned vehicles for leftover supplies. Be sure to check in the glove box, center console, and trunk for survival supplies that someone may have left behind.

Be sure to also look under the floor in the trunk, as well as underneath/around the seats for extra survival gear you can use.

Who knows – you might even find some awesome survival tools like the ones below!:

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3 – Gasoline

Gasoline is one of the most precious resources you can get from a vehicle, as you can use it to keep your own car running or to start a fire. It’s also one of the parts most people will go for first.

Now most people are familiar with how to get it out; they siphon the gas with a tube and suck on the other end like a straw until the gasoline comes out. Then they put the end in the container and let it pour out. You can accomplish this method using a rubber tube and a 2.5 gal container.

However, this is often an unfavorable option since you wind up getting gasoline in your mouth (gross). Here’s an easier way:

4 – The Hood & Doors

Though tricky to remove, these valuable car parts can be used to help you build a bug out shelter. They can also be used as sleds to carry supplies in the wintertime.

It just takes some basic tools to remove a car door and hood. Here’s a couple videos showing you how:


5 – Battery

Few preppers know you can actually use a car battery to charge your electronic devices (which is why it’s so important to snag it from a deserted vehicle). However, there’s a process to be able to make this work.

Here’s a video explaining the process:

Alternators can also be taken from the vehicle along with the battery to help produce electrical energy for a charge – just be be sure to add the diode bridge to make it work with the battery.

However, if you want a FAR simpler way to charge your electronic devices, look no further than these incredible must-have survival tools:

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6 – Upholstery

This includes seat coverings, carpet, roof lining and removable floor mats. These soft materials can help provide survival blankets and essential insulation to your bug out shelter.

However, we find our survival blanket to be WAY more warm and comfy…

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It’s important to know that you shouldn’t attempt to use these upholstery materials as kindling, as they produce toxic fumes from the chemicals inside them which can be harmful to your health.

We recommend using this kindling instead:

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Use a razor blade or sharp knife to snag these survival tools out of the car.

7 – Tubes & Wires

All those tubes and wires under the hood can be used for a ton of survival uses, such as strapping things together, tourniquets, tying up a shelter, etc. Plus, you can cut them into whatever sizes you need.

However, I want to point out that paracord can be used for the exact same things, and it’s way stronger than those tubes and wires. Stock up on it here.

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Pull or cut these out to snag them for yourself.

8 – Seat Belts

Like the tubes and wires in #7, you can use seat belts as cordage to tie up survival tools or help construct a shelter. The nice thing about these is you can cut them into strips for various uses. If you cut them thin enough, you could even use a strand as fishing line.

Get them out of the automobile by pulling on them and using a sharp knife to cut them at the ends where they attach.

OR if you want a survival tool that was made for cutting seat belts (as well as for shattering glass)  look no further than our Auto Emergency Knife.

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9 – Nuts & Bolts

These can be used for a multitude of things; use your socket wrench to unscrew them and add them to your collection.

10 – Rear Axle

These can be used as tactical survival weapons against your enemies.

Don’t know how to remove a rear axle? Here’s a video that will show you how:

However, if you can’t get to an abandoned automobile to grab an axle (or just need more defensive survival gear) we can help you out with our tactical survival tools below:

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11 – Tires

If you can get them off the car, tires can be a surprisingly useful survival tool to have on-hand.

For example, you could set them on fire and roll them downhill to ward off enemies, you can cut them in half and add soil on the inside to make planters (or food instead for animal feeding), and you could even use them with their axles to create a wheelbarrow.

Now most of us know how to change a tire, but do you know how to remove the tire from the rim itself? And can you do it in less than 5 minutes?

This guy can accomplish this task in about 3.5 minutes. Watch and learn:

12 – Lights

This category includes both headlights and interior lights. Not only can you cut out the glass of the headlight to make a survival knife (just make sure to tape up the end so you don’t cut your hand), but you can also wire these to a 12V battery for instant light for your bug out shelter.

You’ll need wrenches and needle-nose pliers to get the lights out, and in older models you can often unclip/twist the bulbs.

However, if it’s lights you need, we can stock you up so that you don’t need to break into a car to get some. Click on the images below to see:

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13 – Transmission Fluid

Transmission fluid has some surprising survival uses; for one, it can be applied to your survival tools to prevent rust build-up.

Transmission can also be used a cheap gun lubricant. Here’s a video describing which one to use:

14 – Motor Oil

Draining your motor oil could not only help you start a fire but it could also help aid you in getting your enemies to slip and fall on the ground. It’s also a great lubricant for your firearms.

Use a wrench to remove the oil drain bolt, and then let it drain into large containers.

15 – Mirrors

Car mirrors (both rearview and external) can double as effective signal mirrors, and can also be used as normal mirrors to help you get dirt and debris out of your eyes. You can also break the car mirrors to use as a weapon against your enemies.

However, if you’re looking for an awesome pre-made signal mirror that’s completely unbreakable we highly recommend this one:

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Use a screwdriver and/or knife to get these unhooked from the car.


Now keep in mind that once SHTF, you’ll likely find yourself with all these heavy car parts with no way to carry them by yourself. Never fear! Where there’s a will there’s way.

Watch the videos below and you’ll gain inspiration for moving extremely heavy things – even if there’s nobody around to help.

With the right tools, you can accomplish anything. I, in particular, was impressed with the last video at the bottom:

Once SHTF it won’t be long until your car starts to run out of gas and/or break down – and it won’t be long before everybody else’s does too, as well.

As such, it should be your mission to keep your car alive for as long as possible, and to be as successful as possible when scavenging deserted, broken-down automobiles for survival supplies.

We here at Survival Frog want to help you in all your post-SHTF endeavors. That’s why we’ve got all this great survival gear (pictured below) to help keep your car in shape for as long as possible (and to help you…er…secure what you can from someone else’s).

Click on the images below to snag these super useful survival tools now before SHTF!

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