Owning a car comes with great responsibility. Other than being a responsible driver, you should be a responsible car owner too. Regular maintenance is a bare minimum, and so is knowing how to troubleshoot car problems. However, this is only possible if you have both the knowledge and tools for it.
It can be overwhelming for a newbie car owner to choose which tools are great for emergencies. With the number of working parts in a car, it’s hard not to go overboard with which tools to have in your trunk. A good way to go about the decision-making process is to think about which car troubles happen most of the time, such as a flat tire. Although you can be prepared for the more predictable problems, you should be prepared for other problems.
Here are some tools you can add to your tool kit to have everything you need in case of a roadside emergency.
This is probably one of the most obvious, but it’s often slipped out of the car owner’s mind. In case you don’t know yet, these are insulated wires with alligator clips on each end. Jumper cables jump a car by connecting one red jumper cable clamp to the dead battery’s positive terminal. Afterward, connect the positive terminal on the working battery to the other end of the same cable, the second red jumper cable clamp.
Tape can come in handy for quick fixes. They can patch up leaks and hold broken parts together until you have access to professional help. A broken side mirror is risky on the road, so is a leak. Pack electrical tape and duct tape for variety and wide use. They don’t take up much space anyway. It’s important to remember that tape should always be a temporary fix. Have your car checked out for an oil change or have a body shop put back broken parts together professionally.
Working under the hood or replacing a tire can get anyone’s hands pretty dirty. In fact, it’s inevitable to keep your hands clean when you’re working on machinery. Pack a pair of work gloves if this isn’t your style. It can come in handy too for special occasions when you have to keep clean.
LED Light, Flashlights, Hood Lights
Nobody really has total control over where and when they’re going to encounter a car problem. What if it happens in a relatively dark place after the sun’s out. What then? Having some light would definitely help speed things up a bit. This is where a LED light, flashlight, or even a hood light comes in handy.
Speaking of fixing your car later in the day, it helps to have a road flare or triangle reflector to signal to other cars that you’re having some car troubles. This is especially useful when you happen to be taking up some space on the road.
One of the most common car mishaps on the road is flat tires. If you’re going to change a tire, you’ll need the right tools for it. The most basic one is the lug wrench. This is used to remove the lug nuts that keep the tire rim attached to the wheel hub. Once the lug nuts are removed, the tire rim and flat tire can be too.
You can’t change a tire without a jack. A jack is simply the tool used to lift your car slightly above ground to better access the flat tire when changing it. Jacks come in varieties: scissor jacks, bottle jacks, floor jacks, and bumper jacks. Whichever you go for depends on preference and ease of use.
Scissors are a necessity in almost every setting, and car emergencies are no exception. Its utility is often forgotten until it’s something that’d make a difference at the moment. Scissors can be used to trim or nip strings, weather stripping, and more.
Speaking of utility, be sure to have a utility knife. It’s the go-to survival tool for a reason. If you need something a little sharper, it’s great for precise cuts and intricate work. It can strip almost any cable or wire too.
These are just some tools a car owner can store in their car in case of emergencies, but it’s a good starting point to discerning which tool will be useful for more than one type of emergency. With time and more experience, you’ll be able to pinpoint the vulnerabilities and possible car troubles you will encounter.