Thirty years ago, most of the cars used carburetors, and only a few people believed that electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a real threat. Nowadays, even NASA admits that EMP is one of those events we could not recover from: it would stop all infrastructures that sustain modern society which rely so much on electronics.
So if you are one of those readers who wish to consider EMP-resistance as a factor in selecting a bug-out vehicle, then you should not miss this article. Considering this, I will take a poke at answering some questions about EMP and how it would affect automobiles, which were asked by our readers after our recent article that described some top picks for ideal bugout vehicles.
A large and strong enough EMP could stop the extraction, refinement, distribution and sale of fossil fuels.
By the time you pile in what will surely be everything you own in this world, your spouse, your 2.4 kids, grandma and the golden retriever, you may be looking for ways to increase your vehicle’s carrying capacity. For the best EMP-resistance, choose a vehicle with conductive metal body enclosing the engine and passenger compartment or cab over a vehicle with body panels made of fiberglass, plastic or any other non-conductive material. Park in an EMP-protected garage: I described how to build such a structure in the article How To Turn Your Q-Hut Into an EMP-shielded Home.
Protect cable entry and exit points with surge suppression: This will need to be fast-clamping surge protection faster than one millisecond that will handle high voltages.
They are short on carrying capacity, but can sometimes fit in small planes when disassembled. I have been grateful for them on trips that I have used them and it is plain to see why they figured so prominently into life until the advent of the automobile and how they will again if we lose are large electrical transformers due to EMP or any other reason.
Motopeds and bicycles are quiet and can be carried on the outside or on top of your rig as backup transport.
Similar to the prepper who is all guns and no groceries, every so often, I see someone who owns a car that is worth more than their home or someone who has invested a substantial portion of their net worth in a vehicle while living in an apartment. Find a vehicle that will get you from point A to point B and make sure you have your food storage and other survival priorities in place. I would imagine it would provide substantial protection as long as it was made of all metal, but it could have leaks. I'm aware that EFI was introduced in 1974-1975, but there are plenty of carbureted vehicles. As far as Conex containers as, I spent some time managing an ATF-approved explosives magazine built from one and some of my other EMP articles and comments detail the drawbacks and utility of shipping containers as protection from a HEMP.
Figuring out how to protect against EMP, or electromagnetic pulses, is something that everyone should consider.
In order to know how to protect from an EMP, it is first vital to understand its root causes, and know what the potential consequences may be.
As far as naturally occurring EMPs go, one of the most worrying possibilities is an EMP derived from a solar flare.
The most disconcerting type of EMP which can be created by humans is the NEMP or the nuclear electromagnetic pulse. The problem is that the current state of infrastructure has not been hardened nor given the electromagnetic protection needed to withstand a powerful enough EMP, whether natural or created by humans. One of the first lines of defence against an EMP, which is usually mentioned, is a Faraday cage. Because of the protection that a Faraday cage provides to its contents, it offers the potential to save devices and items stored within, from an EMP.
The advantage though of creating a Faraday cage from scratch is that you can adapt its size to your particular needs.
To a certain extent, most vehicles already have some shielding in place, by virtue of the fact that cars and trucks are essentially metal enclosures. One way to protect a vehicle would be to park it in a Faraday cage large enough to hold it, and shut off the engine.
One of the immediate problems that will need to be dealt with, in the event of an EMP attack, is that the distribution and supply systems that many people take for granted will not be working.
In this example, it is important to protect yourself by being as independent of these distribution and supply systems as possible. The question of EMP damage to automobiles is so complex that it cannot be answered definitely for the reasons discussed below.
For an excellent audio discussion the testing done by the Commission on automobiles and trucks, listen to EMPact America Radio Program number 41, which contains a discussion of this matter between the Chairman of the EMP Commission and a prominent staff member of that Commission.
So, the missile range has subjected computer chips and whole cars to all kinds of electromagnetic radiation in order to prove that such devices will not fire unintentionally.


Some additional suggestions for making vehicles more resistant to EMP can be found on pages 118 and 119 of EMP - Protect Family, Homes & Community, 3rd edition by Don White and Jerry Emanuelson. On automobiles made since about 2009, there are so many microprocessors that, even though the car might be driveable, the dashboard would likely be entirely blank (or blinking) and non-functional. Modern cars and trucks are highly dependent on an array of computers, control modules, and other electronics.
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 vehicles.
In the event of a large-scale EMP attack, it’s highly likely that the roads will be clogged with broken down vehicles.
EMP stands for electromagnetic pulse, and in terms of SHTF scenarios this type of attack is one of the most frightening. In the best case scenario, these components will be temporarily shorted out by an EMP attack. When it comes to bug out vehicles that are resistant to EMP attacks, old is better than new. 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. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from a professional for serious financial matters. And I am not a mechanic or car salesman by trade, but I do have a solid background in technology and understanding of EMP as well what most people would term as vast experience as a self-reliant consumer.
They sense and control virtually every function of the vehicle and are very sensitive to EMP.
Sure, car manufacturers take reasonable precautions to shield them, but not against such great field strengths or over the entire frequency range EMP covers. If you can find a 4×4 with the solid front axle and a carbureted 22R motor, you have a good starting point.
Space is limited on boats and must be carefully planned out, but many vessels have miniature versions of all the comforts of home. I haven't seen what electronics they do or don't have, but the are neat little bikes for sure.
Current thinking is that a geomagnetic EMP (CME or solar event) would not affect most vehicles as long as they are not connected to he grid or other long conductors, but it would affect the extraction, refinement and distribution of fossil fuels. My friend had to drive from San Fernando to Wallace Island (Northern Philippines) right past a Voice of America station that was transmitting stuff across the South China Sea.
In tiny little no-budget sliver of EMP testing done on vehicles that is not classified, many minor glitches were reported. That starts by understanding what an EMP is and what potentially hazardous or dangerous effects it might have. What happens is that the sun suddenly ejects a huge amount energy away from itself in the form of a cloud of protons and electrons.
While conducting a nuclear test in the Pacific Ocean back in the 1960’s, researchers were surprised to note than an EMP had been generated which was powerful enough to cause havoc with electricity, the telephone system and radios in Hawaii. While it is possible and may be advisable to create a Faraday cage from scratch, there are also existing items which already act as Faraday cages.
It cannot be assumed that emergency responders are going to be able to go to you, in case of a serious injury, cardiac arrest or other medical emergency. In order to protect yourself and your way of life, it is important to do what is possible to ensure that electronic devices survive the EMP. This can derive power from clusters of solar panels, as well as wind power based generators, or water based ones.
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.
Transistors, microchips, and integrated circuits are all examples of solid state electronics. Heavier exposure to an EMP will fry the components altogether, which will leave many vehicles unable to run. 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.
If your vehicle fails to start after an EMP attack, you can simply swap out the control modules and other electronics.


As previously stated, there is no one standard followed by manufacturers even for EMP shielding.
They are not so great for keeping a low profile, but they are the go to choice for many preppers looking for a vehicle with plenty of cargo space and can be had starting at under $10K.
Cache is a volunteer emergency responder in a small town without any paid services and holds numerous instructor and student certifications in everything from emergency management to less-lethal munitions and high explosive breaching.
An EMP is usually described as a short burst of electromagnetic energy, which travels along many frequencies.
If this cloud were to make contact with the Earth, there would be a huge mass of electrons entering and moving quickly through the atmosphere, causing serious damage to electronic devices. In fact, a Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack was created, and in 2008, it released its findings. It can be imagined as a kind of box which is created from material that can conduct electricity. Being able to get from place to place could also allow people to seek new sources of food and clean water, in case existing stores run out. However, newer cars are also heavily dependent on electronic systems, and tests have found that exposure to electromagnetic energy still has the potential to seriously compromise a car.
Even if you have a vehicle that is working properly after the EMP strikes, it will not be of much use if there is no way to refuel it. Pharmacies may no longer be able to function in the event of an EMP, and an EMP will also tend to damage the refrigeration systems that many medicines rely on. David's responsibility was to protect people in case of any disaster or cataclysm that might occur. 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. It’s also a good idea to drain the fuel tank or add a stabilizer, because varnished gas can clog up a carburetor.
But the take away from this is to be sure to try to restart and fix you vehicle after an EMP and diagnose it if circumstances allow as opposed to assuming it's toast. One major problem is that experiments have shown that an EMP blast can damage a vehicle’s electronics, cause a car engine to stop, damage the ignition system and cause other malfunctions. This has the benefit of a vehicle which does not make use of an ignition system at all, so there is one less thing to get damaged by an EMP.
An EMP may very well damage electronic pumps used to bring fuel to the surface, as well as the other systems on which gas stations depend. Also stay up to date regarding nuclear threats from various countries, especially countries where the state apparatus is not very strong.
You should also consider purchasing a carburetor rebuild kit, points for your distributor, and other small components that can wear out over time. Food in refrigerators gets spoiled, and after enough days without power, large groups begin to suffer from lack of access to food. At the same time, some of the most potentially destructive forms of EMPs are brought about by humans, through the use of nuclear weapons. Given enough time, gas stations will run out of fuel, particularly if they are not able to resupply from the main depot.
Practice your response to an EMP regularly, so that you have greater confidence that it will be followed through.
They have also come to depend on the various electronic features of their vehicles, such as power steering and cruise control.
As long as the nuclear device detonates high above its target area, the resulting EMP would already be enough to cause widespread damage and more. If an EMP were to damage the electronics used by gas stations and other fuel depots, a diesel engine can offer additional and useful flexibility. Something similar could very well happen again, making it important to know how to survive an EMP. To increase the protection, you can double or triple line the box, as well as use boxes within boxes.



Mitigate risk example
Assessing the risks of commercial-off-the-shelf (cots) applications


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