How to Prepare Your Car for Storms and Hurricanes

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With severe weather approaching, it’s important to have a plan ready that keeps you and your valuable possessions safe. Your vehicle is likely your second most expensive possession after your home, so you’ll want to make sure it’s ready to withstand severe weather.

The 2022 hurricane season saw fourteen named storms during the season, with eight strengthening into a hurricane and two reaching high levels of intensity. It was also one of the most costly hurricane seasons on record due to the damage caused by Hurricane Ian, with costs racking up to $165 billion.

In September and October 2022, hurricanes resulted in approximately 358,000 flood-damaged vehicles in the South and Southeastern US alone. Additionally, CarFax estimates there were already 400,000 flood-damaged cars on the road before Hurricane Ian first made landfall. 

Continue reading to learn how to prepare your car for hurricane season and get some tips on how to stay safe in the event of a weather emergency. 

Review your insurance policy

Before storms roll through your area, review your car insurance policy so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered. If anything happens to your car you’ll be able to quickly start the claims process. Take pictures of the interior and exterior of your car to document its condition before and after the storm. 

Perform routine maintenance

Having up-to-date vehicle maintenance is important throughout the year, so if you’re not caught up, now is the time to do it. You’ll want your car to be in top condition before you experience severe weather. Inspect each of the following to make sure your vehicle is properly maintained:

  • Battery
  • Brakes
  • Windshield wipers
  • Defroster
  • Fluid levels (oil, coolant, transmission fluid, windshield wiper fluid, antifreeze)
  • Power steering
  • Radiator
  • Tire pressure and tread level

Prepare an emergency kit

It’s wise to assemble an emergency kit with first aid materials, clothing, tools and other essential items. These supplies can prove to be essential if you need to drive during storms or take shelter in your car. Pack the following in preparation for storms and hurricanes:

  • First aid kit
  • Extra clothes and blankets
  • Raincoat
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra gasoline
  • Tool kit
  • Tire jack
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Motor oil
  • Nonperishable foods
  • Drinking water
  • Phone and phone charger

Fill up the gas tank or charge your battery

In an emergency, you may need to evacuate quickly and not have access to a gas station for some time. In situations where severe weather forces many people to evacuate, gas stations may also be inoperable or crowded with long lines. It’s best to fill up in advance and keep your gas tank as full as possible in an emergency situation. A good rule of thumb during hurricane season is to fill up your tank whenever it’s half full. Don’t put off your trip to the gas station when storms could sweep through your area.

If you drive an electric vehicle, be sure to give it a full charge before the storm reaches you. If the weather causes power outages you could be left without any operable charging stations for an extended period of time. 

Park in a safe area

Consider how wind, water and debris can affect your surroundings and move your car to a safe place. Seek elevated areas with weatherproof covering if you can.

Garages and elevated parking structures can provide shelter if you have access. Avoid trees, power lines, light poles or other objects that could fall over. Back into your parking space so it’s easier to get out fast.

If you’re not able to drive your car to safety prior to hurricane season, there are professional transportation companies that can help. Learn more about the convenience of shipping your car. 

Stay informed with news and weather updates

Having up-to-date information is key to keeping you and your vehicle safe during a storm or hurricane. You can tune into local radio stations or visit the sites below for timely alerts and updates. 

In the event that your car is flooded or has water damage, don’t worry. There are measures you can take to reduce the damage and restore your vehicle to like-new condition. Find out what to do if your vehicle is flooded

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