Source: Divina Ramirez

People are likely to drive out of town in an SHTF scenario. Many of them will eventually realize that it’s better to evacuate on foot and abandon their cars. If you come across an abandoned car in a survival situation, checking it for useful items and supplies is highly recommended.

On that note, here are 10 items you can salvage from abandoned cars: (h/t to

1. Gasoline

Gasoline will come in handy for powering generators and stoves. In a post-SHTF world, people will likely abandon their cars when they inevitably run out of fuel. But don’t assume that that’s the case for every abandoned vehicle you find. Some may have been abandoned after the batteries died or the oil leaked out.

Unless the vehicle has a siphon prevention system, you shouldn’t have any problem siphoning some fuel. Give the rear of the car a push and listen carefully for any sloshing inside. This will tell you whether there’s any fuel left inside the car in the first place.

2. Batteries

A vehicle’s battery would be useful if it had a charge. You can easily start a fire by attaching the battery clamps to their respective posts and tapping the ends together to create a spark away from the battery.

The only problem with car batteries is their weight. It would be easier to bring them back to camp on a wagon, garden cart or hand truck.

3. Wires

Wiring can be used as cordage for building shelters or making animal snares. Stripped copper wiring can also be used with a car battery to start a fire. When scavenging wires, avoid electric or hybrid cars. Electrical wiring may carry a potentially fatal charge.

4. Seat belts

The robust material used to make seat belts makes them suitable for securing heavy loads or even improvising a stretcher. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to remove seat belts.

5. Mirrors

You can use car mirrors for grooming tasks and for signaling. You can also place mirrors inside your shelter to reflect light from small light sources.

For mirrors that are glued in place, use a blow dryer or a heat gun to melt the glue. For mirrors that have been screwed into place, use a wrench or a screwdriver to loosen and remove the screws.

6. Headlights

The shards from broken car headlights can be used to cut things if they are long enough. You can also use them to make animal snares. The headlight case and lamp can also be used as a parabolic reflector to start a fire. Since the lens reflector is well polished, it can be used as a signal mirror as well.

The entire headlight unit is typically clipped or bolted to the front end’s metal radiator support. At the back of the unit are the wiring-harness connections, which need to be removed.

7. Hubcaps

Old car models usually have removable metal hubcaps. A hubcap is a small cover placed over the center of the wheel. It was meant to protect the wheel from all sorts of dirt and debris while driving. Metal hubcaps can be used as bowls, plates or frying pans. (Related: Survival essentials: 9 Stealthy ways to cook after SHTF.)

8. Upholstery

The foam inside car seats, as well as the fabric covering the center console and the interior roof, can be used to make pillows or a mattress. It can also be used to insulate a makeshift shelter. As for the carpet, that can be used for roofing or as a ground cover in your shelter.

9. Tires

If you have the right cutting tools, you can cut car tires to make soles for shoes. You can also use them to make roof shingles for your makeshift shelter. Whatever you do, don’t burn tires to create a smoke signal as the smoke that comes from burning tires is highly toxic.

10. Car body parts

If you have the right tools and the time to spare, you could salvage a car’s hood, trunk, windows and doors and use them to reinforce your makeshift shelter. You can even improvise a sled using the hood with the seatbelts as straps and use it to haul the resources you find. In a pinch, you can also use the hood as a stretcher.

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