You’re stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. You have a spare tire in your trunk, but do you have all of the tools you need to change a tire? What if your vehicle stopped running? Do you have the emergency tools you need to get help?
Having a cell phone is a great start – it will allow you to call for help. But you can’t always rely on technology. What if you don’t have a signal, or your battery dies? There are certain tools that everyone should have in their cars to make simple repairs or handle an emergency.
An emergency can strike at any time. Having the right tools and supplies on hand can help you prepare for these unexpected events.
Ideally, you should have the following items in your kit:
Make sure that you have an extra pair of batteries on hand for your flashlight. The Red Cross recommends that your first aid kit include gauze, bandages, nonlatex gloves and antibiotic ointment.
A car escape tool can literally save your life. Look for a tool that includes a seatbelt cutter and window smasher. These two functions will help ensure that you can escape a vehicle that is submerged in water, on fire or lodged between objects.
Keep the device near your seat so that you can actually access it when you need it the most. Time is of the essence if you’re in a life-threatening emergency, and this tool can help you escape quickly.
It’s a situation that happens to most drivers: you run out of gas while you’re out on the road. This type of situation can easily happen to new drivers who are still not experienced with gauging how much gas they have left in the tank.
Having a gas can on hand can help make the process of getting gas less painful. A six-gallon can should suffice. Just make sure that you don’t make a habit of carrying fuel in your vehicle – it can quickly become a fireball in an accident.
It may sound like an obvious tool to have on hand, but many drivers forget to carry a snow brush in their trunk. If you’re stuck at work or out running errands in a snow storm, you can quickly and easily clear off your car right in the parking lot.
A snow brush will have both a bristle edge and an edge that will help remove ice from your windshield. Don’t rely on a credit card or library card to get rid of the ice on your window. Using the right tool for the job will save you time and frustration.
A good socket and screwdriver set can help you take care of simple repairs no matter where you are. Even with modern vehicles, it’s common for things to come loose either from vibration, age or other reasons.
A simple tightening of the loose part can often solve the problem. Choose a set with multiple socket sizes and screwdriver tips so that you can handle most jobs with ease. Take the time to familiarize yourself with how the tools work before stowing them in your trunk.
Duct tape has a laundry list of uses, and a roll of this tape is small enough to stow in any vehicle’s trunk. From a damaged body to temporarily sealing hoses, duct tape can help put your car back together until you can get to a mechanic. Just make sure that you buy quality tape – it will stick better and last longer in a wider range of temperatures.
Also, you may want to keep a tow strap in your vehicle in case you need to move a disabled vehicle a short distance. Just make sure that you read through your owner’s manual to locate the proper tie-down and tow points for your vehicle. If you ever need to use it, you’ll need to place it in the proper place. Otherwise, you can cause even more damage to your vehicle.
Another no-brainer tool, but it’s one that many vehicle owners forget to pack: jumper cables. If you ever find yourself stranded with a dead battery, a pair of jumper cables can help you get back up and running.
Look for heavy-gauge cables that are highly durable with spring-loaded clamps on each side. These are better than the cheaper, shorter cables.
A simple yet versatile tool. You never know when you may need a knife. From cutting branches to opening a food container or cutting tinder for an emergency fire, it helps to have a good knife on hand in your vehicle.
If you choose a folding knife, make sure that it has a blade that locks securely in place. Otherwise, the blade may collapse in your hand and cause an injury. A fixed blade knife is usually the better option.
If you wind up on the side of the road with a flat tire, a tire inflator/sealer can eliminate the need to use your spare tire.
While each brand has its own set of instructions, the basics are usually the same: hook up the sealant to the valve stem, and allow the product to work inside to find the leak and fill it. Keep in mind that inflators/sealers are only a temporary fix designed to get you to the tire shop.
Tires can also lose pressure over time. A tire pressure gauge can help ensure that your tires are properly inflated. A tire pressure gauge can also help you detect a slow leak that will eventually lead to a flat tire.
These nine tools can help you stay prepared for an emergency situation and handle simple repairs that will keep your car going.
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