One thing you’ve learned in your years as a car owner is to always be prepared. After all, accidents happen, and not just with other drivers. Gas runs out, a tire goes flat, or the engine dies. Owning and driving a car means that you’ll occasionally have to deal with an inconvenience or two.
Make sure that you’re always prepared for the unexpected with an everything-you-need roadside repair kit. This kit can help you get to a mechanic safely so your car can be taken care of by a professional. Stock your vehicle with the following essentials to ensure that you have what you need in an emergency.
- Cell Phone Charger
Not every break-down happens in a location with perfect cell service, and phone batteries can drain in an instant-especially when you use the GPS feature. Keep a cell phone charger handy so you don’t find yourself in a bad situation without a way to call for help.
- Twenty Bucks
A little cash can make a big difference during an emergency. Keep twenty dollars in small bills on hand in case you need to purchase gas, food, or another necessity.
- First Aid Kit
Always keep a first aid kit in your vehicle. Fill it with bandages, adhesive tape, gauze, antiseptic cream and wipes, scissors, aspirin, instant ice and heat compresses, latex gloves, and at least two doses of any prescription medication you need.
- Jumper Cables
Keep your 12-foot jumper cables in your car so you can jump your car after the battery dies (or help someone else out when it happens to them).
- Spare Tire and Related Equipment
Most cars have a spare tire already stored in the trunk or hatchback, but you should ensure that they are there. To change a flat tire, you need a tire jack, a spare tire (that is already inflated), a tire iron or lug nut wrench, and a leverage pipe. Additionally, keep a tire gauge so you can check your tires’ pressure occasionally.
You should also consider putting a pair of heavy shoes or boots in your flat-tire kit, just in case you’re wearing flimsy dress shoes. You’ll need a
thick, sturdy shoe to help you stomp on the lug nut wrench and remove the flat.
Have at least two 15-minute roadside flares handy. These flares can signal that you need help, warn other drivers of your presence, and give you needed light.
- Small Fire Extinguisher
A Class B fire extinguisher can fight fires caused by flammable liquids like gasoline and diesel fuel. If there are flames around your car, get away as quickly as possible. But a small flame can be taken care of quite quickly with a fire extinguisher.
- Roadside Triangle Reflectors
If you’ve pulled off to the side of the road (or can’t leave the lane you’re in), triangle reflectors can help other drivers stay safe, slow down, and move to a different lane. Packaged roadside emergency kits have one triangle, but we recommend three.
- Oil and Antifreeze
The DMV recommends that you always have two quarts of oil, one gallon of antifreeze, and 12 ounces of brake fluid stored in your car. Keep a funnel and rags stored as well.
- Tow Strap
Your tow rope should be able to tow at least 6,000 pounds. This tool is especially helpful for drivers who drive around ice-when your car slips off of an icy road, a tow strap can help you get back on the road safely.
If your cell phone is dead, you’ll need a battery-operated flashlight to help you see beneath the car or assess damage in the dark.
- All-Purpose Utility Tool
A Swiss Army knife or similar tool can be extremely helpful, especially when you don’t have your toolbox in the car with you.
- Water and Snacks
A few water bottles and some healthy, nonperishable snacks (like protein bars) can help you fight boredom while waiting for roadside assistance. In case of a real emergency, these provisions also give you needed energy and calories.
- Cold Weather Necessities
If you live in an area where snow and ice can be problems on the road, keep a small snow shovel, warm blanket, and windshield ice scraper in the trunk of your car. And don’t forget kitty litter or sand. These materials act as traction under your wheels in case you get stuck in a snow bank. Other Important Items
If you have room in your repair kit, add in the following items:
- A rain poncho
- Extra batteries (for your flashlight)
- Screwdrivers (both Phillips and flat head)
- Duct tape
- Paper towels
- Pen and paper
- Tools (like pliers, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, and vise grips)
We also recommend that you keep contact information for your insurance company, roadside assistance, mechanic, and auto body repair specialist handy in your glove box.
Place all of these items in an easily accessible box or bag in the trunk of your car. You won’t be able to fit everything, so customize your kit to your specific climate, car, and needs.
Above all, be safe out there. Use your roadside repair kit to help you get to a mechanic, who can help your car return to top safety condition after an accident. For even more tips on roadside repairs and emergency preparedness, contact an auto body repair shop today.