Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to prepare your car for a hurricane

I Have never felt more insignificant than I have this week. Nature is reminding us who is in charge as she rocks the East coast with an earthquake and a hurricane only a few days apart. Based on the current projected trajectory of Irene, I picked a really crappy time to be a resident of the South Shore of Long Island. As a native upstate NY’er, I have never had to worry about a hurricane, but now with the storm barreling down on us, we all should take some time to research how to prepare. A little bit of preparation can make a total disaster a lot better then it could have been, Even though she might not even hit us. But that’s a big gamble that I am going to make the safe bet on.

While your first priority needs to be the safety of you and your family, you need to think secondary about the safety and integrity of your house and automobile. In high winds with flying debris, possible storm swells, extreme rain and flooding, there are a lot of risks posed to automobiles. Below is some information I have collected on the topic that will be useful for anyone in the northeast:

  • First and foremost, keep your gas tank full. Gas pumps can get knocked out of commission by flooding and power loss. Be ready.

  • Know the height of your cars air intake. This is the weakest point for a car when it comes to flooding. The car will run in a foot or two of water, but once water gets sucked into the motor via the intake, the motor will seize and you will be SOL.

  • It seems obvious, but try and garage your car. While it won’t help in extreme flooding or if a tree falls on your garage, it will help protect the finish from the debris.

  • DON'T elevate your car on jacks or jackstands. Hurricane force winds have the ability to blow a car off this minimal support, causing extreme damage. the extra few inches isn't worth it.

  • Be wary of you can see water - don't park near streams or lakes that will rise.

  • You also might need to reinforce your garage door. Because they are wider and lighter, they are susceptible to high winds and can blow inward. A couple of 2x4’s on the weak points should do the trick.

  • If you don’t have a garage, try and relocate your car to higher ground, and definitely away from trees, power lines, etc.  Google a Topographic map of your area to find highground.

  • Secure all of your cars important paperwork to somewhere safe, not the glove box

  • Keep an emergency kit in your car

  • Flooding happens and deep puddles happen. Don’t drive through them.

  • If you have multiple cars, try and get one to an elevated parking garage. They are solid structures that rarely flood on the upper levels

  • If you need to park on a hill, face the front of the car upwards, and turns your wheels toward the curb.

  • Make sure you have insurance coverage.

  • Avoid downed power lines

  • 4 wheel drive won’t help you unless you are climbing over objects. When selecting a vehicle for moving to a safer location, ground clearance should be the deciding factor.


It’s easy to brush off a storm like this and not be ready for it. Long Island hasn’t been hit by a major storm since Gloria in 85, which did a lot of damage. A little preparedness goes a long way.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="568" caption="Your car cannot go faster than this."][/caption]