What is being self-sufficient? This can mean a lot of different things to different people. My personal experience has lead me to understand that actually being self-sufficient means that you rely solely on yourself for absolutely everything in life. What if the kitchen faucet breaks can you fix it? When your hot water heater quits working can you repair it? What if your car breaks down…..can you get it running again? There was a time in our society when the answers would have been yes. Today I am finding that more and more people have no clue as to the inner workings of the internal combustion engine let alone how to even put gas in to the tank. Sadly this is the case not only with what most may refer to as sheeple but also those that very well should know how to make necessary repairs.
Lets take a very common occurrence of the lines freezing in the winter. This is a very serious issue that can cost well into the hundreds or even the thousands depending on the extent of the damage. I have personally had to deal with this issue several years in a row. I also have the ability to make these repairs when needed. Calling a repairman is not always part of the equation. There are a lot of so called Preppers that seemingly can not even swing a hammer let alone sweat a copper fitting into place. For me I learned early on how to do things like this. My father was always working on everything from the truck to the well pump on our property, I even helped him rewire the house at one point. My friends also worked on their own vehicles. It was not unusual to spend weekends either in the field, beefing up our 327 engines, or adding NOS to a 600 HP supercharged Ford Mustang. Just the sheer exposure to any of this is enough to teach you a thing or two.
A common break down and a very costly repair bill can be totally avoided by having a basic knowledge of vehicle maintenance. Last year the motor started knocking in my Blazer. What ended up happening was the intake gasket failed causing coolant to mix with the oil. I didn’t notice it at first because it was so minute and it was happening so slowly that there was no evidence of anything being mixed in with the oil. It wasn’t till we were up in town; 36 miles away that the gasket began leaking from the top. When it went it went! I managed to limp it to the house but the amount of time had gone by that the damage had already been done. I changed the intake gasket, flushed out the motor and changed the oil. Unfortunately this did no good; the coolant contaminated the rod bearings causing a knock. This meant eminent catastrophic engine failure. Living as far away as I do from anything this is big, and I mean major. Without a vehicle out here there is no getting out should an emergency arise let alone being able to provide for the family. I very quickly bought a used 350 Chevy to drop in. This was only the beginning of the problems that would surface that year, that however is another story.
My point for this article is don’t wait to learn these skills. We may be very fluent in wilderness survival or even disaster preparedness, which does not however mean that you can be self sufficient should something fail. Trust me when I say this, there won’t always be someone around to fix what needs fixing. Most of the time it will fall on your shoulders to make these repairs yourself. If your basement is flooding due to a busted water pipe, learn how to shut off the main valve, shut off the power to safe, pump out the water, locate the leak, and fix the pipe. Once that’s done learn how to do sheet rock and carpet. If your motor is not running right figure out how to troubleshoot it and fix it. Not only will you gain some confidence but your pocket book will also be much fatter…….hopefully.