Ultimate vehicles? Really?

Most of us have seen the various top tier BOV’s (Bug Out Vehicles) that are being advertised, or for that matter created by some terrific builders out there. Extremely capable vehicles, for sure. Often a bit over the top too. High profile, with that being a bad thing during an evacuation.

Major problem that I regularly see is the capability of the operator to keep those advanced vehicles running properly. Or, for that matter, running at all. When it comes down to having a bug out vehicle, simplicity is often the key. Something that you can fix on the side of the road is ideal, and preferably something mechanical that you can diagnose easily.

Even with the modern OBD (On Board Diagnostics) readers that are available, you’ll get some fairly cryptic codes. If you haven’t played around with them a bit, or at least have a code chart to tell you what the damned thing is telling you, you’ll be in a very frustrating situation. Hopefully one were no one’s shooting at you either.

The good thing about modern systems is that they’re actually pretty reliable, versus the older systems that just didn’t last as long, and in the meantime took quite a bit more maintenance. Often times they were more finicky as far as altitude response – anyone remember having to re-jet your carb? Advance and retard the timing? Well, if not, things like that had to be done. The good part was that things like that could be done. Usually easily, once you had the experience.

So with that being said, there’s a definite advantage to having an older vehicle – if not necessarily pre-electronics, then at least with very basic electronics, and not something that’s loaded with data bus cables running all over the place.

Yet another factor is what happens after the successful bugout. Can you put that vehicle to work at the new site? How efficient will it be? How easily can it be modified? Can it be used as an alternate power source, either for electricity or to run a PTO shaft? (PTO meaning Power Take Off – shafts that run from a transmission into a separate power unit or tool head. Think of something like a pump, winch, or welder hooked into a driveshaft and you get the idea.)

Before you go diving headlong into grabbing those cool new wheels, think twice. Hell, think three times about what you’re going to need it to do.

-Greg

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