Protect Your Vehicle From an EMP with this Simple Strategy

roll of wire
ReadyNutrition Readers, there have been a tremendous number of world happenings that has placed all of us in a precarious situation.  The past several months have seen successive tests of missiles, with a nuclear test as well (Friday 9/9/16) by North Korea.  Iran and North Korea have been exchanging missile technology, supplemented by the Russians with technical advisors and materials.  China, too, has been developing their SLBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile) weaponry at a breakneck pace.

The military doctrine of both North Korea and Iran call for a first-strike against the continental United States using an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) generating warhead.  I wish to pen the caveat that I have been stating in my articles repeatedly for quite some time, now, hoping they will be taken into consideration:

A war would be kicked off with an EMP weapon detonated over the Continental United States, then a nuclear exchange, resulting in a World War.

That being said, there are numerous sites available for study of EMP effects as well as the nuclear threat capabilities of the countries previously mentioned.  Read the briefings of Dr. Peter V. Pry who heads the committee to assess the threat of EMP against the United States.  His writings and testimony before sessions of Congress between 2006 to 2009 are readily available and downloadable from the internet.  He also expounds on the fact that he is certain that North Korea has the capabilities of miniaturizing a warhead to deliver an EMP, and they have already done so.

I recently submitted a piece to that details the effects of an EMP on vehicles, as well as some sites to research.  In the interim, what can we do to reduce those effects?  One of the things is a grounding wire, a simple term that we can “complicate” further by expounding on measures (shoebox, field-expedient measures) that you can do…and that I have already done for myself…to give your vehicle a better chance against an EMP.

Micro Circuitry and Computer Chips in Vehicles Will be Problematic in an EMP

Firstly, the majority of the testing done by the government and private companies conclude that most vehicles will be unaffected by the EMP.  I wrote “most,” and the thing that it doesn’t take into consideration is the amount of complex micro circuitry and computer chips that exist in most cars after 1990.  The engine of the vehicle may remain intact; however, computer ignition systems and sensitive microcircuits that control a great deal of a vehicle’s internal functions could be fried instantaneously.  If the engine is fine, but it won’t start because the chip in the ignition is fried, well, the result would answer the question.

One of the possible solutions would be the grounding wire.  For decades all the way up to the present day, 18-wheelers have all utilized grounding wires attached to their frames both to protect from lightning strike and from static electrical discharge when they are delivering flammable cargoes such as fuel to filling stations or heating oil to homes.  It is this principle that you too can follow after, along with a grounding chain, to help protect your vehicle from the EMP.

How to Attach Grounding Wire to Your Vehicle

The grounding wire can be a 9’ -12’ piece of stranded steel cable attached to your rear axle to permit the cable to drag upon the ground when the vehicle is in motion.  This would permit electricity (that always tries to “find its way” to a grounded source, i.e., go into the earth) to pass along the frame and into the cable, that then passes it along to the ground.  Such a steel cable would have to be replaced periodically, as it would tend to fray and wear down.

For when the vehicle is not moving, you could double your chances and affix a grounding chain around the rear axle of your vehicle.  This chain (1/8” thick links, approximately) you would not drag.  By affixing eyehooks (yes, JJ “ruined” the bumper of his vehicle in this manner) to your rear bumper, you can use D-rings (small carabineers) to attach the chain to the bumper when the car is in motion, effectively lifting it off of the ground.  Then when you park your vehicle, unclasp the D-rings, and coil the chain up, and set it on the ground.  Bare earth is preferable, but macadam will work as well.  Do it at night before you go to bed, and during the workday, to give that added protection in the manner that electricity will pass along the grounding wire.

For the point of attachment around the axle, you can use a link that is “broken” and you can close by a screw-thread that is used to close the gap, or place that on the end of the chain and use the quick-release type clasp that is found on the end of a dog’s leash…the part that affixes to the dog’s collar or choker chain-link.  When you’re in motion you’ll have (hopefully) the grounding wire to assure contact between vehicle and road, and when you’re stationary an even better ground.

Is it perfect?  Possibly not, but the point is to give you a fighting chance.  When you buy Drano, it isn’t necessarily because your tub or sink is clogged…yet.  When it does clog, however, the Drano will be there.  Same principle as the one that you Guys and Gals already know, and it’s this one:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Very true, and it’s better to take a swing and not get a hit than to just stand there and let the ball go into the catcher’s mitt.  This is a low-budget method that may just save your car’s electronics and enable you to drive home when the SHTF.  We welcome your questions and comments and look forward to hearing about your experiences in these matters.  Keep fighting that good fight!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published September 20th, 2016
The Ready Nutrition Vegetable Garden In A Can
If you found this article useful, please Vote for Ready Nutrition as a top prepper web site.
share this article with others
related reading
featured today

Leave A Comment...
Ready Nutrition Home Page

  • Mike

    As a semi truck owner/operator for over 25 years, I have never seen a grounding wire hanging down dragging the ground on a big truck or trailer. Now we do ground the truck to load and off load flammable materials, but not driving down the road. There is nothing on a big truck or trailer to protect from lightning strikes. Just like 4 wheelers, just as susceptible to lighting strikes and EMP.

  • Poorman

    In the old days we used to have a grounding strap attached to a bolt on the rear diff that touched the ground to do the same thing. I don’t even remember why anymore but up until a few years ago you cold still buy them in auto parts stores. They may still do them in some stores. used to keep them in what is called the HELP section

  • vocalpatriot

    the ground wire used this manner is useless…the sheer volume of electrons required to burn out electronics would simply overwhelm it…the best strategy is similar to why lightening does not affect cars…isolate spare parts….if you give the electrons a path to flow through they will create a large magnetic pulse which is effectively the same thing…so for my vehicle, i have a spare elec. ign. module stored in an electrically sealed metal container to be swapped when the first one craps out, whether by emp or for any other reason….better to have spares than wish you had spares.

  • Rae

    Your rear axle is ‘insulated’ to a point by rubber bushings and seals. The frame is the best attachment point.

    • walcon

      The axle has a grounding connection unless it is terribly

      • Rae

        Not on any vehicle that I have ever worked on or owned…

  • walcon

    After an EMP, it is best just to stay home. If your not home, I’d bet trying to drive home would be a dangerous trip- you may not make it before being mobbed, robbed, or shot by police who come “to help”.

  • PL C

    During the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl era (1932-36), drivers who could not stay put dragged chains from their axles to dissipate the static electricity build-up from the friction generated by the storm. Without the grounding provided by the chain, electrical components in these basic automotive engines shorted out. The static electricity was so bad that small animals were occasionally electrocuted, and gardens were fried in situ. This was documented in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado.

  • SteveP

    Engineer who devolps cars! “There is no such thing like an EMP weapon”
    your credentials do not back up your statement. You may know something about cars, but just because you don’t know how an EMP works does not mean it does not exist!

  • Roberta McIntire

    So I was wondering if anyone had feedback on this idea: I want to use relfectix insulation to make a car cover when my vehicle is in the garage at night. Do you think that will work?

  • Jean Saffell

    Since it’s not uncommon to have large wildfire started by something as simple as a dragging tow chain tossing sparks, I wouldn’t recommend this practice. Dragging something metal is just a good way to start a wildfire – much bigger annual risk percentage than an EMP. Please don’t do this to your vehicle.

  • Rj

    Bottom line. This is an awareness article it’s procedures and steps for people who aren’t Engineers to read and try to protect their real property, family, and lives. Everybody always makes debate on who’s smarter but the bottom line is if these do exist, and I mean that as I don’t work for the military and do not know for sure in either does anyone of you other people here, it would be nice to at least sit back and go okay it didn’t work but I did try to bury a ground wire 4 feet deep in my yard on the vehicle that sits there as a third or whatever you want to call it vehicle you do not drive on a daily or even monthly basis. Just like to that I have in my garage in front yard. A lot of this information is very interesting. And with everything that’s going around us right now as JJ describes don’t be the neighbor down the street that smells like dog doo. This is the United States of America we’re supposed to be United. Helping our neighbors and family. When people start looting in becoming out of control it’s the people like you reading these articles that most family members and friends are going to depend on. It’s nice to have a fighting chance or at least go to sleep knowing you tried several matters and if they don’t work then at least you know you tried. And by the way. Knowing very many military personnel and a lot of other intelligent friends and family members unless you’re in the specific business of building EMP bombs you really don’t know what’s going on. If you we’re maybe on the assembly line building Sidewinder missiles or anything of the sort at that point I’m sure the readers would want to hear what you have to say. But grounding is important in everyday life mechanics. I lost a ground on my cigarette boat and it caused my exhaust rubber bushings to catch fire. Common sense right there I’m actually contemplating on running a ground wire on my pickup truck that’s sitting outside doing nothing. Which normally if we weren’t dealing with Korea right now I wouldn’t even be thinking about. Good article JJ

  • Kevin Calegari

    Carrying a bicycle may make sense. You can cover 100 mi in 8hrs or less where walking that can take days and a lot more supplies.

  • nm0b

    Developing cars huh? Guess what Mr Wizard; they’ve already invented something called an automobile. Oh and AIRCRAFT!!! The auto was invented well over 100 years ago. As for the destruction of electronics, You Tube has several DIY projects for home built EMP devices that can do exactly that. I work in an ICU and if people died of electromagnetic fields then MRI machines would just have a disposal chute to the morgue. Go crawl back under your rock before you draw even more ridicule.


    Your kidding right? All Nuclear weapons emit a EMP when they blow up, to have a wide spread EMP or HEMP it has to be in the atmosphere around the same height as the space station which can be reached by most Inter-continental missiles. Did you miss the congressional hearing about how to protect against an EMP? Did out miss that countries like Russia,China, and North Korea have been working on developing a more effective missile to use an EMP attack? I know this post is a year old but this is not new, EMP’s are on Homeland Security’s list of the biggest threat to the US. Now if you missed it north Korea threatened us today with an EMP attack and they now have the long range missile to do it, and guess what we wont be able to shoot it down in time because it will be to far into the atmosphere to knock it out. Its already been said by our own government it could be over the US within 30 minutes. An EMP will fry all electrical devices, all components and modules and we will be without power across all of North America, do a little reading before claiming something false when their is facts its real.

  • BobbyD

    Grounding a vehicle would cause a concentrating of the EMP wave to the metal exterior of the car and fry everything. This is the worse thing possible.

  • Howard

    You’ll have to excuse me for dismissing YOUR reply out of hand, Sir, as your CLAIMED expertise seems to be so dated as to border on the ludicrous!
    EMP effects are a well-known phenomenon that has been discussed ad nauseum for years, if not decades, and is a PROVEN FACT. One only need do a modicum of research to learn this is not a wild-eyed scheme or BS factoid written about just to take up electrons in cyberspace or even printed articles.
    And while your assertion that EMP isn’t a concern MAY have BEEN accurate as they relate to automobiles designed and built prior to the age of electronic ignition and such, MANY instances of EMP-like events have proven you wrong on MANY levels.
    One only need to look at electric or electronic equipment such as a home stereo, refrigerator or home AC units which have been in CLOSE proximity to a bolt of lightning being “fried” without so much as a physical STRIKE to know of this potential problem. A lightning bolt carries with it and creates its OWN EMP by virtue of physics, so that is just one small instance of a naturally occurring phenomenon.
    And now that so many more electronic and electric devices we surround ourselves with in this day and age are FAR more sophisticated (meaning efficient) to know that they are FAR more susceptible to damage by a variety of electronic impulses to see the fallacy of your comments.
    As a result, even the most crude EMP strike/burst has the potential to render such tender devices useless unless properly protected. Automobile electronics are not immune to this phenomenon, either, as they are designed and built using the best materials which will give good service for an indeterminate period of time offset by building cost. They need not last forever as the typical car won’t last forever, either, but for a reasonable time period, they do the trick.
    However, because they aren’t “hardened” or expected to be extraordinarily robust, they can, AND WILL suffer from an EMP burst. Maybe not all electronics but surely some just because of situations beyond our control. Using the car (for the sake of argument), if it is close to the origin of a burst, chances are it will be “taken out”. However (and this is not a hard and fast fact) if the car is clear across the country and “shielded” by a very tall hill or inside a cave (not to be flippant but just an extreme example) the EMP burst “may” be too weak to short circuit the goodies that make it go Hummmmm.
    The whole idea of an EMP burst crippling any and ALL electronic components is an unknown for the most part because we’ve never experienced it on purpose and outside of some inadvertent instances where electrical grids, for example, WERE disabled due to nuclear weapons explosion tests, the entire concept, while theoretical for the most part, ARE based on SCIENCE with the bulk of the “potential” severity is speculation but HIGHLY touted as accurate, cannot be dismissed out of hand.
    And your claim that any nuclear explosion which would/could put off an EMP burst or strike would also kill everyone within proximity is a false assumption, too. Now if you were discussing what was known as a “clean” nuclear explosion, one with is designed to irradiate humans but NOT destroy equipment or render large areas uninhabitable, the so-called “Neutron Bomb,” then, yes, that IS a consideration although an unlikely one for the purposes of this discussion.
    North Korea (NK) claims to want to destroy the USA for their own malicious and political gains, but I ratherdoubt they intend to want to complete a wholesale PHYSICALdestruction of the United States. Removable of our military infrastructure and ability to harm them is their stated goals, all for the reasons of our placing economic sanctions against that nation.
    It would make little sense (but we ARE talking about a mindless and egomaniac in Kim Jung ) to destroy one of the few nations that can sell NK the foods and products for their OWN survival after all, but we are talking about an inbred idiot who doesn’t seem to care about cutting off his nose to spite his face, aren’t we?
    Besides, while it is common knowledge that he “may”have been able to create a missile that can (almost) reliably strike the USA, and he has closed in on manufacturing a device small enough to be placed atop such a delivery device, and even though he, supposedly, also now possesses the technology to build a HYDROGEN bomb, it doesn’t appear (for now, anyway) that his scientists have the knowledge to construct a Neutron bomb, much less the means to ACCURATELY deliver it to a location above this nation to create the most harm and deal us a serious blow to retaliate against him and NK anyway.
    But I digress somewhat.
    Your claim that any EMP burst would have to be at a specific wavelength or wavelengths to affect such and such items, such is NOT the factual. An EMP burst sends out a PHENOMENAL amount of electons across the entire electron spectrum, theoretically covering most, if not all, objects by “flooding” the airwaves with a HUGE number of charged particles that will, again theoretically, cause a surge and resultant burnout of said devices to include, but not limited to, just home appliances but also potentially automotive electronics and associated parts.
    So while the author, JJ, may have painted his article with a broad brush of possibilities, it would be foolish to claim “it ain’t possible” at all.
    If you take the time to research the topic thoroughly you’ll find that some “experts” will say that some vehicles (since that is the target audience of this discussion) may (will?) be affected, it is also possible that two identical autos sitting side by side may not BOTH be affected identically. Why, is an unknown but it is my understanding that components used in each vehicles electronic components construction may differ is just enough inconsistencies compared to its twin to survive for unknown reasons. Call it a crap shoot or the luck of the draw. Who knows?
    I, for one, DO believe the potential for great and grave destruction is possible from an EMP attack. What I can do to mitigate the potential may be beyond my means or ability to thwart the effects, but I’ll not sit on my thumbs and just wait to see if “I” will be a victim of an EMP burst or attack. WHAT I can do is beyond the scope of this article and who’s to say that IF I could purchase whatever parts would be needed to effect repairs, would just a computer module “fix” my problem and get me back on the road or would I need to replace any and ALL electrical components that work off the module like the wiring that channel the signals from computer to component(s) being operated or the injectors, fuel pump, speedometer, AC or heater, wipers, head and tail lights, etc.?
    That is purely a case of “you pay your money and you take your chances” and could be an exercise in futility anyway as I might also need a fuel pump, etc. One might find that buying any and everything required, or thought to be needed, could be cost prohibitive, especially if the automobile is an older version which is almost on its last legs anyway.
    And that doesn’t even take into account if you’d have the fuel, oil, grease, tires, bearings, seals, etc., to sustain its operation for an unknown duration. Also, WHERE would you even FIND gasoline (outside of your own stored fuels, and that opens yet another topic for discussion) to make your efforts worthwhile over the long haul?
    Sure, it’s possible to suck gas put of a gas station underground storage container IF you can access it (the lids are kept locked to prevent theft), then have a fuel compatible hose AND a pump AND a generator to operate it all). And then there is the concern of being able to KEEP the vehicle when marauders might be willing to fight you for possession or even the GOVERNMENT who might (would?) seize it (and your stockpile) for the greater good!
    In closing, as others have said, your comments and observations hold little to no relevance and your suppositions that the subject matter is 100% wrong is without (much) merit.

    • Barefoot in MN

      where to find gasoline? thereare ways to convert waste plastic into petroleum products. And it need not be a fancy computer-operated setup, either. Search Youtibe for “turing plastic into oil”, you will see some pretty ingenious setups. The first product that is made, when doing this, is basically No. 2 home heating oil… refine it (send it thru the system again & you get gasoline, IIRC, (or maybe it’s first diesel & then gasoline) — the next time you refine it you get kerosene. Pretty nifty.

  • Ron Brantley

    Oh my gosh…If I were you I wouldnt “brag” about being an engineer. As a lot of engineers Ive seen dont have enough common sense to get out of the rain Engineer = Clueless…EMP’S ARE REAL and you better get someone with some sense to teach you about them so you can prepare for one in case it hits. You must of have been living in a cave or something if you dont think EMP’s are real…DUH Mr. “Engineer” !!!

Ready Nutrition Articles By Category
Looking for something specific on our site? Start your search in our list of articles by main category topic.