5 Ways An EMP Could Kill Your Car


Most cars created in the last few decades have computers integrated into just about every system in the vehicle. No matter whether you are talking about exhaust systems, fuel systems, or any other part of the car, rest assured there is at least one chip based sensor that leads back to a main computer.

So you can say that just about every vehicle on the road today would stop running during an electromagnetic pulse, aka EMP.

Also, even the best and most EMP proof car is not likely to survive if it is very close to where the EMP starts. For example, even if a relatively small air based nuclear bomb explodes within a mile of a vehicle, it is likely to be demolished.

Many people today believe that hybrid and electric vehicles will be the worst cars to have during and after an EMP. In one sense this is true because once the driving motors, batteries, and battery management systems are damaged by an EMP, the entire vehicle will be rendered useless.

To make matters even worse, it is extremely difficult and dangerous to try and repair hybrid and electric vehicles. Aside from lethal voltages that exist in many parts of these vehicles, the batteries can emit dangerous toxins that will burn your skin or cause serious lung damage.

On the other flip of the coin, if you have the right parts and the right tools, you can achieve about 80 – 85% EMP proofing of conventional vehicles before anything even happens.

The remaining 15 – 20% of your prepping will involve storing away critical parts as well as knowing how to replace them in a time of need. More, in a time of need, you will also find that many more people know how to fix conventional vehicles than hybrids or electric models.

The Computers

Affected by EMP on a 1 to 10 Scale: 10+

Over the last few decades, computers have been increasingly integrated into the functional moving parts of the vehicle. As computers “optimize” these parts for saving gas, reducing the risk of major parts breakdown, and increased accessory options, it has become almost impossible to separate the computer from the pure driving machine.

{adinserter emp}Since computers are the most vulnerable to EMP blasts, it means your vehicle will stop running during an EMP and may even cost your life if you don’t carry the proper tools to escape the situation.

To add insult to injury, where older vehicles allowed for driver override, the computers in modern vehicles can shut the entire vehicle down and prevent you from restarting it because of the redundancy in the way the chips all connect and just how tightly integrated the computers are between systems.

Hybrid vehicles, without exception are built with computer integration in mind. From the rechargeable battery monitoring systems to brake energy recapture technologies, every part of the hybrid is managed and monitored by onboard computers.

Unfortunately, even if you do disable all the computers and electrical parts, you will be left with an under powered engine that will barely run let alone last for very long. Always remember that a weak engine isn’t just slow, it will seize up and burn out if you put too much of a load on it.

On Ground Zero, computer boards and most parts will simply burn up and be destroyed from the heat. Computer are likely to overheat and be destroyed from the inside out. In outer zones, you can expect erratic behavior from just about every part of the vehicle that is integrated with the computer system.

Radios may suddenly turn on and off, windows may roll up and down by themselves, brakes and steering may be extremely erratic. Even the headlights may not work properly after an EMP if there is any kind of integration with a computer circuit.

The Electrical System

Affected by EMP on a 1 to 10 Scale: 10+

The electrical system is usually one of the hardest parts of a vehicle to classify because there are so many sub elements that can differ from one model to another.

For the sake of clarity, the electrical system is being defined as the wire chassis and other electrical wires that deliver power from the battery to a device elsewhere in the vehicle. This can include everything from computers to sensors, fuses, and anything else that forms the basic electrical framework of the vehicle. The electrical system also includes the alternator, battery, and fuse box.

A hybrid vehicle requires a battery management system that is controlled by computers. An electric vehicle also requires a battery management system and additional controller modules that integrate with other computers in the vehicle.

On Ground Zero, wires housed inside the chassis and throughout the vehicle will melt and be ruined. Fuses may also blow from the extreme heat generated by the EMP’s energy blast.

If temperatures are high enough, some wire coatings may melt, which will result in shorts. When combined with zapped computer parts, this can lead to erratic behavior in many systems that will be very difficult to trace.

In outer zones of the EMP blast, it’s similar to computer systems. It should be noted that hybrid and electric vehicles will be far worse off than conventional ones because the battery management system will be heavily affected.

The Ignition Systemmotor-476403_1280

Affected by EMP on a 1 to 10 Scale: 10

Over time, the ignition system has changed a good bit. The first vehicles were started by means of a crank located at the front of the vehicle.

Modern cars use a battery which powers the starter when the ignition key is turned. The starter is basically an electrical motor that engages the engine by means of an internal flywheel.

Hybrid vehicles do not use a conventional starter. Instead, the driving motor is powered by the battery pack. Once the engine needed for certain speeds, the main driving motor starts up the engine via computer controls. Electric vehicles do not have an ignition system. They just have an on/off switch to start and stop the main driving motor.

As with just about every other part of the vehicle, the ignition system will not survive an EMP blast at ground zero. The battery is also likely to heat and explode at this proximity to the event.

Computerized ignition switches that utilize keyless ignition systems will fail to operate or work erratically. Batteries may also explode if you are in the bands closer to the pulse zone. It should also be noted that thermal blasts from nuclear explosions can also cause the battery to explode in this zone.

In conventional vehicles, as long as the starter motor was not engaged during the EMP, it may survive the event. For hybrid and electric vehicles, the damage is the same as listed in the engine block section.

The Emission System

Affected by EMP on a 1 to 10 Scale: 10

The emissions system usually has parts that prevents gas fumes from leaking back into the environment and also additional parts that determine what kinds of chemicals are released through the exhaust pipe. Interestingly enough, the gas caps house a filter that is part of the emissions system.

The EGR (exhaust gas regulation) valve – feeds some exhaust back to the intake manifold so that burn temperatures are lower, which reduces the amount of carbon monoxide produced), catalytic converter (uses chemical catalysts to increase oxygen in the exhaust, thus helping to complete the burning of hydrocarbons), EVAP and canister (basically takes gas vapors, runs them through charcoal, and feeds them back into the engine to be burned).

In modern vehicles, the emissions control system is so tightly integrated via sensors into the computer system, that a false report from a sensor can disrupt engine timing and even prevent the car from running at all.

The conventional engine portion of a hybrid vehicle still utilizes emission control devices to improve efficiency and reduce emission of harmful chemicals. As may be expected, the emission controls on the hybrid vehicles are also tightly integrated to the computer system via sensors.

Fully electric vehicles to do not emit gasses or other chemicals controlled by various laws, therefore they do not have an emissions system.

Anyone that has been plagued by false flag check engine lights from the fuel cap or EVAP system may be delighted to learn that most emission control systems will be shorted out and ruined at ground zero.

Even if other parts of the vehicle are mechanically functional, you will still have to remove these parts in order to eliminate obstructions in major exhaust and fuel channels through the vehicle.

Since computers control the opening and closing of valves that cut into fuel lines and exhaust systems, it is entirely possible for the computer to jam up the engine or partially prevent both fuel and exhaust from moving properly. Aside from a serious reduction in power, this situation can also cause the engine to seize up entirely.

The Cooling System

Affected by EMP on a 1 to 10 Scale: 8

The engine cooling system in a modern vehicle is composed of three main parts:

  • The oil system (oil pan, oil pump, and oil filter).
  • The radiator – which utilizes fins to disperse heat brought out of the engine block via antifreeze. The radiator also has a fan on it which is used to draw more cool air into the engine compartment
  • Thermostat – which detects high levels of heat and reports them via the dashboard. In modern cars, the thermostat and computer also work together to speed up the idle, or automatically employ other adjustments so that the engine warms up faster upon startup.

The conventional engine part of a hybrid requires the same type of cooling system as in any other vehicle, however as with the engine itself, the parts are undersized, under powered, and basically not designed to cool the car under a heavy load.

  • The oil pump may melt down or otherwise warp to the point where it will no longer operate. If the oil pump chamber is breached, the oil going through the pump may also catch fire.  Depending on the availability of air in other broken parts of the engine, oil in the oil pan and within the engine may also catch fire.
  • Busted up radiators, hoses, and other parts can leak antifreeze. While this will not necessarily pose a hazard to you, it can be poisonous to animals that drink water contaminated with the antifreeze.
  • The motorized fan located on the radiator will no longer work and internal coils of wire may be fused together.
  • Computerized thermostats will be burned up and cease to function.
  • Battery pack cooling systems for hybrids and electric vehicles will be completely destroyed.

Computerized thermostats and anything motor driven may only work erratically or not at all. Motor oil should not catch fire, however. If your vehicle winds up crashing, there are no guarantees that it will not catch fire because of routine impact related damages.

The Brakes

Affected by EMP on a 1 to 10 Scale: 5 to 7

brake-57361_1280Braking systems essentially use friction from a metal pad that rubs against a disc/rotor or drum. When you apply the brake pedal, fluid presses two calipers together to generate friction between the brake pads and the rotor (or drum in some vehicles).

Brake fluid is housed in the master cylinder, and is then distributed to slave cylinders which push the calipers. When you let up on the pedal, the brake fluid returns back to the cylinder, thus moving the calipers away from the rotor or drum.

Since it can take quite a bit of pressure to push, and then keep the metal pad rubbing against the disc or drum, modern vehicles use motors combined with hydraulic systems to assist with this purpose.

Modern braking systems also include computer based assistance to detect when a skid is occurring, as well as automated overrides that help release the wheels so that the tires grip and increase traction, which in turn reduces skid length.

In hybrid vehicles, even though there is an emergency rotor based braking system, these vehicles are slowed down by simply reversing the direction of the drive motor, which causes the batteries to be charged. This is referred to as a “regenerative braking system”.

If you are on ground zero when EMP hits, rotors, drums, calipers and pads are likely to be warped and even melted from extreme heat or parts of tires gluing them together.

Brake fluid which is housed in the engine and in the brake lines may also ignite if the conditions are right. Rotors and drums may wind up being stuck together. Any computer parts and sensors will be ruined, as will power assist motors.

If you have functional tires, it is still possible to get the brakes to work again. Just remember that without power assist, the brakes may respond more slowly and the brake pedal may also be harder to push. The further away from ground zero, the more quirky your brakes will be.

These are only five important systems that any car relies on, and an EMP would kill in seconds. You remember the days when vehicles were equipped with manual safety belts, roll down window handles, and a door that required a key for entrance. You would miss these days, as other parts—as safety system or fuel system—are not mentioned for now, but would also suffer from an EMP strike.

Have a look at the basic automobile systems, how they work, and how they will be affected by an EMP. You can use this guide to determine just how EMP sensitive your own vehicle is, as well as during the process of searching for viable models to rebuild.

Learn as much as you can, because chances are that you would need all these knowledge one day to survive.

Interested in EMP proofing? CLICK HERE to find out how! 

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Written by

Carmela Tyrrell is committed to off gridding for survival and every day life. She is currently working on combining vertical container gardening with hydroponics. Tyrrell is also exploring ways to integrate magnetic and solar power generation methods. On any given day, her husband and six cats give thanks that she has not yet blown up the house. You can send Carmela a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • I thought Camellia Tyrell’s artical on EMP’s and killing your car was well delivered, but I find it extremely frustrating when an authour uses abbreviations and such throughout the entire-in this case, very lengthy-article, such as EMP. I ask, “WTF?” What’s an EMP? Does the average person have a clue? I don’t. Is it an everyday acronym? No. Does she use the full term in her article? I don’t know because I abandoned the article out of frustration. Why should I read an article that isn’t well informing?
    So I went off to find the definition and became disinterested in finishing the read.
    Im sorry if seems like an unfair rant, but please dont assume your audience knows what you know, and dont make us leave to source information on our own.
    Thank you, G.

    • Apparently you’re not a very good reader . . . electromagnetic pulse (EMP) was identified in her 2nd paragraph. Maybe you should stick to books with just pictures.

    • Second paragraph, “So you can say that just about every vehicle on the road today would stop running during an electromagnetic pulse, aka EMP.”

  • Good article, written in language that laypersons could understand. The best way I can EMP proof my transportation is this: a 1929 Ford car and 1947 Chevy pickup, both in better condition than when they rolled off the assembly line. I would advise anyone able to pick up a “points and condenser” clunker cheaply and make it ready to go.

    • Yup. I’ve got a 1970 F-250 with 79,000 original miles. Keep spare ignition parts in a Faraday cage. However, I’d like to know the source of this info. It’s quite different then what I’ve read from electrical engineers.

      • Marty,

        This information is compiled from many sources; including personal experience with taking 1 conventional vehicles apart (basically brake systems, exhaust, under the hood, and a little bit of welding), build my own radios/solar generators/ etc, and a very healthy long term interest in both auto mechanics and electronics. I am not a certified mechanic or an electrical engineer; however you could say I know my way around a tool box and circuit board. As I said at the start of this article, I did not define car parts and systems in accordance with a text book or a repair manual – I lined them up based on how to best show what parts will be affected by an EMP. For example, I can say “computers” in general; however if I don’t include at least a tiny discussion of how sensors affect the brake system, it is not always clear why this particular system (and its parts) will fail during an EMP.

  • Answer to most of the problems above. Get a pre-1984 car with points and condenser and have a total rebuild done.

    • Most all of the non electrical components of a car should survive an EMP as there’s no wiring or semiconductors to burn from voltage spikes. Even if anti lock brake modules or wheel speed sensors and EGR sensors do get blitzed, brakes will still work. Brake boosters will continue to assist in braking as well. Power steering pumps with computer assist would be compromised. If any EGR components die it isn’t hard to bypass these systems by fabricating blocking gaskets from a thin piece of sheet metal to block EGR valves (done this to bypass an EGR before). It would be better to have a stick shift car as they don’t rely on solenoids for controlling the engagement of clutch bands nor use speed sensors as auto transmissions do. The only compromise one may have is if they have a later model truck that still uses a newer version of an older engine. GM trucks come to mind that use the vortec small block Chevy 5.0/305 or 5.7/350 V8 or 4.3 v6. While these engines have all the modern hardware they can be deconverted to old school status. I took a 5.0 vortec and swapped out the EFI for a standard 4bbl intake and swapped the modern distributor with an older HEI distributor. Spare ignition modules and coils are small enough to store in an ammo can. Older fords from the 90s that still used the Windsor V8s (302/351) can be deconverted in the same way with older hardware. This would at least allow one to get a vehicle to set up without having to find a super classic. Even if you get a late model ford or chevy truck and just drop a ready to go old school power train, you’re still ahead of the curve. An old small block chevy with a 700r4 auto tyranny will swap out with a 5.0 vortec/4L60 powertrain thats in GM trucks up to 99. Ford trucks up to 96 that still use the 5.0/302 and 5.8/351 can be swapped out for an old school version, preferably with a 5spd manual. Installinga C6or an AOD is also doable with a driveshaft conversion which isn’t too horrifying in price. If you’re really foggy you can buy conversion kits to drop a small block chevy or small block Ford V8 powertrain into an S10 or ranger truck (hot rudders do it all the time) and build an EMP truck from a newer donor vehicle. There are plenty of options for acquiring a vehicle for post EMP duty and have it be a stealth EMP proof vehicle by being a newer shell versus having something from the 70s and back that everyone will be looking for after an EMP.

  • It’s time to stop being scared and do something about these horrible possibilities.

    • Exactly – Karen! Part of getting out of the fear thinking is to start looking at the real and tangible facts coming out of places like Japan; especially when it comes to a nuclear based EMP. If you can be prepared for that, then you also already have the keys to being prepared for a solar flare based EMP.

      • PS – again with the understanding that Nagasaki and Hiroshima weren’t EMP generating events; however with multiple bombs going off at different altitudes; you will still be dealing with ground (radiation, heat waves etc) and air based problems (including the electromagnetic pulses that fry out computer parts which can cause shorts, etc, which in turn can lead to catastrophic fires, etc based on the vehicle type, etc).

  • When your article makes statements like “wires housed inside the chassis and throughout the vehicle will melt and be ruined. Fuses may also blow from the extreme heat generated by the EMP’s energy blast” and “If you are on ground zero when EMP hits, rotors, drums, calipers and pads are likely to be warped and even melted from extreme heat or parts of tires gluing them together”, you are venturing into the absurd. Simply put, if you are on ground zero you wouldn’t care about the rest of the destruction, since you would be killed along with your car. The amount of energy you are discussing would boil your blood and make you skull explode. It is far more practical to discuss how to survive an EMP event at some distance where electronics would, for the most part be destroyed, but other damage would be limited. Keeping a car or jeep from the period before the electronics age could save your life. Old fashioned non-electronic ignitions, with points and condensers, and non-electronically controlled generators and starters, can usually survive quite well if not at ground zero. Yes, your radio would probably be fried, but there would most likely be nothing to listen to anyway. But at least you would be mobile (provided you’d laid in a reasonable supply of fuel, since the pumps would not be working at your local gas station.

    • Dr. Redmond –

      Actually… you can survive an EMP at ground zero even if you are inside a vehicle that is completely destroyed. The chances are rare, however it did, in fact happen during the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. In addition, if you are inside a building or underground at the time of the blast, there is also a chance you will survive.



      Remember, also – that a nuclear based EMP will not necessarily create a pit on the ground because the explosion that causes an EMP happens higher up. A MIRV (Multiple indpendently targeted re-entry vehicle – basically one rocket carries a warhead with multiple smaller bombs that spread out all over the place instead of just one large bomb) with a few upper exploding bombs and then a few ground ones would create both the EMP and a much more pronounced ground effect.

      Sorry this is not clear in the article – all of the comments give me some thoughts about how to better present this information – so I thankyou for bringing your questions and comments to light.

      • PS – I also add that nuclear based EMPs are of major concern these days as opposed to ones generated by solar flares. So – as I write in comments and in the articles, you will notice a slant towards the nuclear.

  • Question: can an EMP affect a car that is not running?

    • It depends on the way the vehicle is built and what it is built from.

      Most people would say “yes” or “no” based on the proximity to the pulse. Personally, I think it has to do more with the way a car is built and if it will act as a Faraday Cage. If there are no conductors between the outer shell and the inner chassis – then, to my thinking, there is a chance the vehicle will survive a weak EMP. It just depends on how the energy dissipates over the vehicle and how the doors and hood assemblies will dissipate the energy; and also how many sensors, wires, etc are exposed that conduct the energy into the main areas of the vehicle.

  • At first I couldn’t tell if she was telling us that the heat from induced current from the EMP was the source of the damage at ground zero. From her comments in the break section it became apparent that she is talking about the thermal radiation and heat damaging the vehicle. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but the reality is, if you are close enough to the blast center that your vehicle is damaged in the manner she relates, your body and shelter will also be vaporized. You won’t have to worry about having a functional car. You will be atoms floating in what’s left of the atmosphere. Sorry to be hard here, but this was useless information and a waste of electrons. This author needs to bone up on what she’s going to pontificate on before wasting the time of the reading audience. EMP is one thing. Induced electrical currents from a high energy electromagnetic field passing through the conductors. Electronics are damaged from high voltages or currents developed at nodes not designed to withstand those potentials. What this woman describes is the typical destruction from any high energy blast. Thermonuclear is just a lot bigger. A car in a garage filled with natural gas and set off would suffer the same damage. You guys can do better than this.

    • Thank you. I was very confused while reading this article because the title indicated this was about an EMP…which it is clearly not. I’ve been in the communication field for a long time, mainly dealing with EMI and the effects that the author describe are NOT related to an EMP but are related to the proximity of the blast. There is zero chance of an EMP warping your brake disks or causing your fuse box or wires to melt or catch fire (unless connected to a power source that malfunctions). This article should be taken with a grain of salt and should only influence other preppers to trust but verify…..DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and come up with your own conclusions. This artilce should be rename “What Happens to Any Car During Nuclear Strike.”

      • John – the key to your statement is ” (unless connected to a power source that malfunctions)”. In modern vehicles, if you analyze the parts system by system and look for motorized and computer parts – you will see just how many fire hazards there at ground zero for an EMP blast – ones that will, in fact, melt rotors and other parts.

    • Bill,

      Again – as I put in another post – it IS in fact, possible for humans to survive at ground zero of a nuclear blast, and some people did just that in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. You also forget that a number of US soldiers survived the atomic bomb testing and were, in fact, trained to enter ground zero – albeit after the blast – and conduct combat operations. Some were… very close to ground zero at time of detonation, and had nothing more than trenches and something like plastic raincoats to protect themselves. Somehow, I don’t think the military would do these kinds of drills unless they expected survivors in the territory or something worth taking over and controlling.



      Insofar as the EMP and how many explosions it can create, I think this is my comment that you are referring to?

      PS – again with the understanding that Nagasaki and Hiroshima weren’t EMP generating events; however with multiple bombs going off at different altitudes; you will still be dealing with ground (radiation, heat waves etc) and air based problems (including the electromagnetic pulses that fry out computer parts which can cause shorts, etc, which in turn can lead to catastrophic fires, etc based on the vehicle type, etc).

      *****At no time did I imply here that explosions and fires will not be caused by a pure EMP. In fact, I am saying just the opposite because of the way the vehicles these days are built. While it may seeem obvious, in-tank fuel pumps are a perfect example of a motor, sensor, and computer assembly in uncomfortably close proximity to a large source of fuel. The EMP itself will not set the fuel on fire, however if the current doesn’t dissipate over the vehicle and conducts through the wiring, etc. – the fuel pump will either heat up and transmit that heat to the fuel, or one of the sensors may spark near the gasoline or its vapors and… well… BOOM!!

      There are definitely two schools of thought on this; with most saying a pure EMP isn’t going to look like a nuclear ground zero – so I wanted in my comments to make that clear.

      Personally … I am still of the notion that some cars will be operable and some won’t depending on if the car is properly shielded and whether there are ground elements in the blast site. I am also of the notion that stronger EMPs will generate something like nuclear style explosions because of the way modern cars are designed.

      For some vehicles, such as hybrids and electric vehicles – those explosions are certainly more likely, regardless of the EMP source because the pulse will, in fact, overpower the battery management system, and that, in turn will melt down the motor, which in turn will generate enough heat to warp or do even worse to the engine block (for hybrid vehicles). Modern vehicles with conventional engines – again – it is possible (but admittedly less probable) because of all the motors and sensors – especially the emission and “engine optimization” sensors. Current flows through them, therefore an EMP can overpower them and turn them into little “spark plugs” in the fuel tank, etc. Remember, also – the EMP can melt power transformers, so any place that current flows can also be melted out or burned up.

      I tend to be on the side that argues a nuclear blast will do more physical damage than an energy pulse; however I wanted readers to be aware that an EMP at ground zeo can cause a lot of fires and do a lot of damage to more than computers; yet people can still survive and be thinking that if they survived the blast, then their vehicle may also have done so. And yes – if you are in a car at ground zero – it will still shield you – so you may survive but the car won’t.

      Originally I had all of this material in tables that made a distinction between ground zero, the center bands, and outer limits. I should probably have also added a section on the different sources of an EMP and explained that if you are ready for a nuclear type MIRV situation (ie. multiple bombs with both air and close-to-ground detonations), then you are ready for an EMP from any source.

      Thankyou again for your feedback. I can see from the comments that a lot more work needs to be done on this topic!

      • Carmela,
        Have you ever done any training on arc flash protection? The kinds of damage you are referring to would take multiple tens of kilocalories of radiant energy to accomplish. For instance you mention the brake fluid boiling. The boiling point of DOT 4 brakefluid is 230C. That’s over 400 degrees F. Your body would have literally exploded and vaporized before the brake fluid will boil. Another point. You mention the the possibility of a spark ignitjng the gasoline in the tank. That is HIGHLY unlikely, UNLESS the cap is off the tank, and the vapor over the liquid is diluted to the point it can ignite. While I wouldn’t chose to do it, you can throw a lit match in a container of gasoline as it will drown out. The vapor/ O2 moisture is that burns. And it has to be within certain limits for this to happen. Too rich or too lean, and no ignition. The vapor and liquid in a gas tank that has not been vented to the atmosphere is simply too rich to ignite. There are multiple flaws in your article that several have pointed out. The point that an EMP will stop your vehicle from operating is well accepted. Whether it will cause a new hybrid vehicle to burst into flames is questionable, but theoretically possible. As for a standard vehicle, an EMP alone is not going to cause it to explode. The things that you described will be caused by the proximity to a low altitude air blast. And lastly, the weapons we have now are hundreds of times more powerful than the original devices you cite that people survived from.

        • Bill,

          You can throw a lit match into or onto just about anything, and if there is no O2, it will fail to burn. That being said, fuel pumps after an EMP may continue to pump gasoline because the computers and sensors are messed up – including ones in the emissions system. Any of those points in the system can still open up from the heat caused by shorts in the electrical system; and from there admit enough Oxygen in to start a fire. Have you ever seen a capacitor, resistor or microchip explode? If they are small ones, they may not carry enough punch to rival other explosives, however they can still generate sparks and cause a good bit of mischief if other factors line up right.

          Yes – brake fluid has a very high boiling temperature, however it can still happen; which is why I said “if the conditions are right”. In no way did I say or imply that it was a common event or one that can be easily achieved.

          When you start looking at information from really bad car accidents – it becomes readily apparent that very high temperatures are reached – however people still survive because the heat does not get into the cabin as fast as you might expect. So… from that perspective – don’t expect to be dead at ground zero if you are stuck in a car that has been hit by an EMP and “against all odds” it catches fire. Again – I am not saying the EMP generates heat, however I am saying that electrical equipment damaged by the blast WILL generate a signfiicant amount of heat…. and given the current ideas about how a nuclear blast will go down (ie. it won’t be just one bomb and one altitude) you still need to be prepared for a near-ground blast nuclear explosion as well as one in the EMP range. Now – you don’t need to worry about ground blast with a solar based EMP; however, if you are going to go for a “worst case scenario that covers all the bases” – then you prepare for nuclear EMP with ground involvement from a seperate bomb.

          As for stronger bombs = more dead and vaporized people at ground zero… at face value I’d agree with you. On the other hand, I think there is a lot of hype out there to keep people afraid of MAD (mutually assured destruction) and thus try to keep everyone under control – everything from “radiation kills period and you can’t shield your cells” – which we now find out is to some degree false because in Fukushima they did and continue to shield people with Vitamin C.

          Even though an adversary MAY use a large yield thermonuclear weapon, remember they must also have the missile to do the job AND evade missile defense systems (well…ok… so China can probably jam the systems by now – but topic for another day). Some say that an adversary isn’t going to try and launch just one big mega bomb that will be destroyed way up in the atmosphere (as in outside of the range where it could generate an EMP) when they can use one smaller rocket to deploy a bunch of smaller smart bombs that spread out and have the potential to evade the anti-missile system. This means, for us on the ground, the bombs will be much smaller and probably within range of the ones our nuclear soldiers were exposed to in the 50’s and 60’s. It also means an EMP arising from an adversarial nuke is also going to include one or more ground level explosions teamed with the air level one. I’m not saying ground zero EMP from any source will be a picnic, I’m only saying it is possible to live; and it is time to start thinking about how to do that instead of just repeating “resistance is futile” or saying that some things cannot happen.

  • Invest in a pre-1980 car, wrap a spare distributor,in a cardboard box, in aluminum foil, and store it in the trunk. The windings in the starter are heavy enough to withstand all but a direct overhead burst. There is nothing magical about an emp. The things that will be destroyed are the electronics that have an antenna effective wire (spell that power cord, phone line, circuit lead going to an integrated circuit, etc.) A non computerized alternator will be ok if it is unplugged from the wiring harness.
    Manufacturing EMP processes use a very concentrated, very directed pulse at a very close range. A nuclear EMP will not cause damage to the internals of an engine.
    HEMP pulses are generated above70 miles, where the Compton effect comes into play. If a HEMP specific weapon is detonated at that altitude, there will no direct damage from the blast.

  • When I saw this title, I was hoping there would be some solutions listed along with descriptions of each problem. Sounds like only solution I see is having a pre-80’s auto. What, if any operating systems would be affected and what are the solutions for that???

  • what would the emp do to an atv.

  • There’s a lot of confusing/wrong info is this essay.
    First, a nuclear explosion intended to create electromagnetic failures will not be detonated at “ground zero” –it will me a HIGH altitude device detonated as much at a hundred miles above the earths surface to cause widespread damage -and is called a HEMP . A HEMP bomb is constructed somewhat differently than a nuclear bomb meant for maximum destruction.
    A nuclear bomb that is detonated at ground level would basically create a big hole and not maximum destruction. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs had altitude sensing radar on board and went off at somewhat around 1000 feet.
    A nuclear bomb detonating 70 to a hundred miles above the earth would appear as a flash of light if one was looking at it — but likely would go unnoticed to those below, and wouldn’t thermally fry anything below.
    Second– if you want a have a vehicle with minimal electronics on board you have to get one built in 1974 or before (for a car), or a few tears later for a light truck. Emission regulations went into effect with the 1975 models and all cars had to have a basic computer onboard to satisfy the requirement.
    But some cars had solid state (transistorized ignitions) as early as the late 60’s. So looking for points in the distributor isn’t enough — as some early transistor ignitions used points for activating. You need to check carefully..
    Also, there at are two other “solid state” devices in a 1974 (or earlier) vehicle to consider–
    The radio — not that important for the vehicles function, but all car radios had some level of transistorized component by the late 50’s. A HEMP will make them unfunctional
    More importantly are the alternator and voltage regulator.
    Alternators started replacing generators in the early 60’s, and by the 70’s all cars used alternators.
    All alternators have 3 (or 6) diodes ( a solid state device ) inside of them to rectify the AC current they generate into usable DC.
    Voltage regulators were converted to all solid state by the early 70’s. (note — some vehicles in those transition years had the voltage regulator inside the alternator, and some continued to have the regulator as a separate component.)
    So one needs to also have the correct extra charging system “spares” on hand and HEMP protected to keep the stored vehicle viable

  • Brainiacks stop arguing. The point is it might be wise to have a vehicle that is not dependent on modern electronics. Also consider an older motor cycle which can weave in and out of the millions of abandoned cars that likely will be on the roads. Keep in mind the local police, having more fire power, will confiscate any functioning vehicle as soon as it appears, and you will be back to walking with the unprepared masses.

    • ALLRIGHT WILLY BOY!!! You blew away, (nuked if you like) ALL the bullshit about HEMPS that so much has been said about. I have a neighbor who is as smug as a bug in your cooking pot thinking he’s cool with his 70s Jeep and a couple hundred gallons of fuel, stored and he even has a basic two stroke bike motor on his 10 speed he brags gets 70 miles to the gallon just for making solo trips in the aftermath.
      I asked him what he’s going to do when local first responders and police ‘authorities simply take it from him for the greater community good? He started to stutter and said no way! local police will do what the people say?

      I then had a conversation with the Chief of police of the closest town while admiring his new loaded Dodge Sport Utility appropriated with his share of unconstitutional area Asset Forfeiture seizures and was teasing him about how useless his new pride and joy ride would be after an EMP, and guess what he said? Oh, I don’t worry too much about that, There’s plenty of old people around here that have older vehicles we’ll use. Hell, ,we can even take their farm tractors if we have to! Hahahahah!

      The reality is that EMP weaponry is a big hot survival button now mainly just because of profit marketing. It’s nowhere near the problems that will take much more priority effort. if a real bad ass SHTF scenario happened. Where most of the time most of the people wouldn’t be going anywhere too much anyway. Because there would be no sane reason to if everything is looted out and you’d be an instant target?

      Here’s an old aphorism that could apply to the current state of ‘prepperism’. “…It’s not that people don’t know so much…it’s just that what people think they know…just ain’t SO!” Mark Twain.

  • We know it will kill cars. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT???????????????

    • Basically if your vehicle was built with an OBD (On Board Disgonistic) or with ABS (antilock brake system) if an EMP happens of a magnitude to damage microcircuit electronics, you are SOL. You need to do what onenof the other guys said. Find a vehicle that has a carburetor, as opposed to fuel injection, find and store in a fariday cage the guts to the distributor, an alternator, and the voltage regulator if its a Ford. GM has the regulator built into the alternator. ANY gasoline fuel injected engine is controlled by electronics. If you go diesel, then it.can have absolutely no electronic fuel control systems. The problem is the brains may get fried. Many of the sensors are switches or rehostats, and hopefully will not be damaged. However there are some sensors that have components onboard that are sensitive to over voltage or over current which could be damaged. They are so pervasive it would be nearly impossible to change them quickly. The possibility of the wiring harnesses being toasted are slim. Vehicles are made to withstand catastrophic collisions, damage components due to shorts, and still not send over current flows to the harness to melt insulation. If you are close enough to have damage from thermal exposure, you’re least worry will be getting a vehicle running. In that case, its best that you have saved a round for yourself.

  • How about locking/unlocking car with remote key entry? Will this be disabled in an EMP?

  • Could a 800 pound metal safe act as a faraday cage??