If you’re like most storm chasers, you cannot wait to get out into the field and begin the year’s storm chasing season. But even if you’re locked and loaded, you need to make sure your vehicle is ready to go as well.
Storm chasers are typically conscious of safety precautions and follow the right guidelines and take the right measures to ensure the well-being of themselves and others on the road. But many ignore basic car maintenance and end up regretting it when things go wrong.
Things can go wrong
Unless being stranded out in the middle of nowhere sounds appealing to you, take the time every so often to be certain that your vehicle is in top form. Take it from someone who has had over 20 years of chasing experience, and has things go awry with their car too many times to count.
While out in the field, I have experienced problems with my transmission, radiator, fuel pump, cooling fan, tires, serpentine belt and transfer case. One of these things breaking down is not fun when you’re halfway between Wakita and Enid, Oklahoma, I’ll tell you that much.
Get a tune-up annually
Now that I’m smarter, I try my best to minimize any potential trouble while on the road chasing storms. I take my car into the dealership once a year and have them inspect my radiator, alternator, fuel system, battery, tires, hoes, belts and water pump. They also service my transmission and provide a general tune-up.
If you drive an SUV or a vehicle with four-wheel drive, you should have a mechanic inspect your transfer case as well, just to be safe.
Keep an emergency kit in your car
You should also start keeping an emergency kit in your storm chasing vehicle. You should have a first aid kit, a toolbox, jumper cables and tire sealant, at the very least. It is recommended to carry a 12-volt air compressor as well, just in case it is ever needed.
Prepping your vehicle doesn’t take much time and can save a world of heartache when it matters the most.