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
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  • 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.

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