While some people can afford to buy a brand-new bulletproof car, not everybody has that same opportunity. You don’t have to buy a BMW or Mercedes-Benz just because you want to have a one. There are many materials out there that you can use to get the same result, and it won’t cost you $100,000. What’s more is that you get to keep the current car you love.
You don’t have to transform your car into a tank if you don’t want to. Here’s how to bulletproof your car from the exterior to the interior.
If you’ve watched one too many action movies, you know that in a shootout, everybody aims for the wheels of that moving car. If it’s going too fast, then the driver will likely lose control because of the sudden damage to the tire. There’s very little chance of avoiding a crash. Some cops would even shoot the wheels before apprehending the suspect to make sure that if he manages to get away, he won’t get too far.
The first logical step in bulletproofing your car is to take care of the wheels. It’s technically impossible to find tires where the bullets bounce off, since all tires are made of rubber. It’s more about making sure that your car can still roll even if a bullet penetrates through the rubber of the tire.
The best way to make sure that your tires are bulletproof is to use “run-flat tires.” These tires are custom built for every application. Usually, they’re made up of polymer and their purpose centers around the part that is attached to the centerline of the wheel.
The way they work is that the polymer provides enough support so if the inflated part of the tire bursts or is punctured, by a bullet or by knife, the car can still travel 60 miles per hour for more than 60 miles. The ability to keep moving with a punctured tire means you get farther away from your attackers or other danger and closer to your bug out destination.
By using run-flat tires, you also minimize the risk of death in a car crash. Run-flat tires enable your car to survive a whole lot of sharp things from nail beds to knives and bullets. They’re are also great in a survival situation where sharp debris and glass litter the road. When tested on racetracks, run-flat tires performed extremely well.
If attackers spare your tires, they aim for the windows. Standard cars aren’t equipped from the manufacturer with bullet proof windows, so the quickest way to get your car to stop is to shoot the driver through the window. For those who reside in a crime-ridden community, bullet proof windows can deter car thieves. Fortunately for you, there’s a way to strengthen your windows without having to spend too much money.
Line your car windows with polycarbonate to create a denser yet still transparent barrier. You can also use a leaded glass on top of the polycarbonate to get the maximum amount of protection for your windows.
In the bulletproofing world, these windows are considered “transparent armor.” To live up to this name, you can invest and install one-way resistant glass. This type of glass prevents external forces from shattering the window but will also allow you to shoot through it from the inside should the need to do so arises.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can settle for tempered glass. Although it’s vulnerable to bullets despite the second layer, it is at least shatterproof. In a critical situation, you have no time to cover your face, and you most certainly can’t just let go of the wheel to shield yourself from flying glass with your hands. Installing a tempered glass layer will put your mind at ease in a natural disaster or survival situation because it does protect you from flying debris like rocks or branches.
Keep in mind that if you bulletproof your windows or even make them shatterproof, because of the increased resistance of your windows, it might be a tad too hard for any rescuers to break in and get you out of the car if the need arises. Added resistance to external shattering becomes a problem especially if, for whatever reason, your car ends up underwater or you can’t open the door from the inside for some reason.
EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR
After you’ve taken care of the less resilient parts of the car such as the tires and windows, move on to bulletproofing the exterior and interior of the car. Before you do anything, make sure that you don’t cause unnecessary damage by temporarily removing everything that is not part of the car’s body. Remove wirings, seats, carpets, and anything else that doesn’t make up the main frame of the car.
For the exterior, consider steel-plated armor installation. You might want to install this on the front, and rear bumpers as those are designed to shatter under force to absorb as much of the impact as possible. If you want to go all out, add in steel plates with a combination of nylon and Kevlar to enable your bumper able to protect the insides of your car better. This type of protection on your bumpers better absorbs impact so your car can barrel through road blocks and possibly walls if needed.
Because of the weight of the steel plates and the materials you’ll be using for the armor of your car, it might make everything else heavier. If you feel like the door might not be able to take the added weight, add in a third hinge. The installation of a third hinge helps to ensure the door won’t rip or fly off when it’s met with resistance.
Another part of the car that you will have to worry about it the gas tank. Just as the windows and the tires are bullet magnets, so is your gas tank. The gas tank is also easier to target and the most dangerous for you as it can cause an explosion that you can’t escape. Bulletproofing the gas tank involves applying the same plates and protection that you applied to the rest of the car.
You will also have to invest in anti-explosion fuel tanks just to make sure that in a critical situation, you won’t have to worry about the chances of your car turning into a speeding bomb. If you add in a ballistic wrap over the usual armor, you can be sure that it can suppress explosions caused by bullets that passed through and through.
For the interior, bulletproof your seats in the same way as police cars today. Add titanium to the interior of your car to keep yourself and passengers safe from bullets or stabbing from the exterior. Don’t let the fact that titanium plates are lighter than steel plates fool you. Titanium plates can stop a bullet coming from a rifle. Titanium plates can be professionally installed, or you can do it yourself by sewing it into the back of your seat.
Although titanium plates on the whole seat aren’t required, it is a good investment. If you really can’t afford it, make sure you have enough titanium plating to protect the back of the seat where your center mass rests when you’re driving.
ENGINE AND OTHERS
Bulletproofing your car doesn’t just mean adding a layer of protection to the parts of your car that you can see. You have to remember that by adding in steel or titanium plates, nylon armor, and Kevlar, you’re adding a substantial amount of weight to the car. Thus, bulletproofing includes making sure that you car is equipped enough to handle the extra weight.
Perhaps one of the best things that manufacturers have done, is to make sure the cars can pull the extra weight. Modifying or changing your engine to accommodate the bulletproofing that you did probably isn’t necessary. Talk with a professional and find out what engine changes would be most advantageous for you to do without incurring extra cost. If you’re adamant on changing the engine, consider that the more powerful the engine, the more gas it consumes. In a post-collapse situation, your bulletproof car may be your downfall if you failed to estimate the amount of gas that you will need.
Aside from the engine, go an extra step and make sure that the “joints” of your car can support the extra weight. Consider the suspensions, springs and just about anything that connects one part of your car to another. Check the bottom half of the car and see if the normal wear and tear can withstand your modifications.
For the battery, there aren’t modifications you can make that will allow you to bulletproof the original battery. You can replace your standard battery with an anti-ballistic battery. These batteries are made up of dry cells which prevent an explosion should a bullet pierce through the battery and spill the acid. Protecting the battery is very important because if your car loses the battery, it will become inoperative, making you and your family an easy target.
Bulletproofing your car takes time and effort. It’s not easy, and most of the time, there are parts that you won’t be able to do on your own. Thus, if you want the best results, consider investing in a professional installation. Although you don’t have to buy expensive cars, you will still have to spend for the materials. If you do the installation yourself, consult a professional mechanic before getting started to help you determine which designs and modifications are feasible for your car and best suited for the situations you foresee.