Aug 24, 2023

Preparing Your Car for a Hurricane: An Emergency Checklist

Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause extensive damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles. If you live near the coast, you may already have emergency preparedness plans for your family and house, but is your car ready? While protecting your home is always a high priority, there are also ways to prep and safeguard your vehicle before the storm hits. Check out our comprehensive guide for advice on preparing your car for a hurricane. These tips and safety reminders are relevant whether you plan to hunker down at home or evacuate from the path of a dangerous storm.

TIP: Download a PDF of this guide to have on hand and share with others.

Being on top of auto maintenance is essential ahead of hurricane season. Have a professional inspect your vehicle and perform scheduled maintenance before the season begins and storms approach. Service your car now to be ready for driving long distances or idling for extended periods, which is not unusual during a storm evacuation. If time permits, schedule a tune-up. Meanwhile, enter your VIN into Kelley Blue Book’s Service Advisor tool to review and address common problems before they happen. Here are other things you should check:

Torrential rain. Sustained wind. Violent gusts. Storm surges. Unwelcome hurricane traits are common, but the destruction is unpredictable. Some damage may be unavoidable, and preparation is essential for minimizing harm. If you plan to stay home and weather the storm, take some steps to help protect your vehicle.

If you have a garage, the best way to protect your car is to park inside and fully close the door. Once your vehicle is safely parked inside, here are some other tips:

If you don’t have a garage or can’t park your car in a covered area, there are still ways to prepare:

If you own an electric car, some additional considerations must be remembered.

If you evacuate from the region before a hurricane, ensure your vehicle is in good condition and ready to drive the distance. You can help avoid being stranded on the road by handling any repairs and critical safety concerns before planning your departure. Always prioritize your safety and follow all guidance and directions from your local authorities.

Every car owner needs a well-stocked emergency kit. Here are some items to include when prepping for a hurricane.

An accident will stop your progress (and the thousands of others behind you), so pay attention during the stop-and-go string of cars leaving the region. When driving during a hurricane evacuation, do your best to conserve fuel and use your vehicle’s resources efficiently. Here are some things you can do to get the most out of your car:

Call your insurance company if your car breaks down in another city or state. Your policy may include towing and roadside assistance, in which case the towing company will haul it to a local shop for repairs. Prepare yourself for a long wait. If you don’t have towing coverage, ask your insurance company for a list of trusted repair shops in the area. They should still be able to point you in the right direction.

Hurricane season can be stressful for those who may feel a storm’s impact. You can prepare your vehicle for dangerous weather, which helps ensure it remains in good shape when the sky clears. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so take the time to prepare your vehicle before a hurricane strikes.

No, a car will leave you exposed to the elements during a hurricane. The safest place to take refuge is a small, interior room on the lowest level of a home. This may be a closet, hallway, pantry, or windowless bathroom.

If your policy includes comprehensive coverage, it may help cover the costs of flood damage. Contact your insurance agent to confirm these details.

There are a few tell-tale signs a car has flood damage. Look out for things like moisture in the carpets, waterlogged headlights, corrosion under the hood, and premature rusting. Not all cars with flood damage are totaled out, so pay special attention if your buying a used car in areas prone to heavy rains and severe storms.

The best cars and best deals delivered to your inbox

Price cars, trucks and SUVs on

What Happens if You Put Diesel in a Gas Car?

Bed Liner: What To Consider for Your Truck

The Safest New Cars of 2023

Report: Ford Edge, Escape, Transit Connect All Nearing End

Kia Shows Off Angular EV5 Compact Electric SUV

Report: Toyota Planning Corolla Truck

2023 Mazda CX-30 vs. 2023 Hyundai Venue Comparison

Recall Alert: Volkswagen Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport

Recall Alert: Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

2024 Kia Soul Gets Few Changes, Almost Unchanged Price

Florida Warns of Contaminated Fuel Ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia

Quick Facts About Prepping Your Vehicle for a HurricaneGetting ahead of scheduled service and maintenance should be part of your emergency preparedness plan.If you don’t have a garage, storage options include car covers, cushioned protection, and strategic parking.Keep your fuel tank full, evacuate early, and stock your car with a hurricane-specific emergency kit.TIPHurricane Season Car MaintenanceBatteryTiresSpare TireAir Conditioning SystemWipersOverheating ConcernsRecallsPreparing Your Car for Hurricane When Staying HomeGarage StorageCover the windowsCover your carPull further insideSecure loose itemsOutdoor StorageStrategic parkingCover your carSoften any blowsSecure Loose ObjectsElectric Vehicle ConsiderationsChargeDisconnectLiftPreparing Your Car for a Hurricane EvacuationCar Emergency Kit Checklist for HurricanesPlan Ahead and Drive Carefully to Get the Most From Your Car Refuel before the hurricane hitsEvacuate earlyChoose the best car for the journeyShare the loadMake a plan. Pay attention to your fuel economyUse the air conditioner when you’re drivingTake rest stops as a solo travelerWhat to Do If Your Car Breaks Down Out of State?Vehicle Preparation for HurricanesRead More About Cars and Weather: