For the Sake of Safety: Things You Should ALWAYS Carry in Your Vehicle

Last week we talked about the essential tools to keep in your auto repair toolbox.  Today we want to have a look at the other items you need, because tools alone can’t always solve the problem.  Using this list you can build a first aid kit for your car or truck.  With this kit onboard, you will be as prepared as a driver can get.

First and foremost, you should have the Toolbox Essentials Every Home Mechanic Should Have in your auto repair toolbox.

Other items you want to be sure to have in your auto first aid kit are listed below.

Clean rags

You need to have some clean, dust and lint free rags in the car.  This will be particularly handy when you have to wipe the dipstick clean when checking oil or your transmission fluid.  These are also very useful when the windshield starts clouding up.

Spare Parts

When old parts have been replaced, if they are not completely bad, keep them.  These can be kept as a fast back-up if a side of the road auto repair is necessary.  Keeping used but not excessively worn spark plugs, air filters, and other common parts can be a lifesaver if you break down in a remote area.  I also advise adding in a few extra screws, nuts and bolts as well.

Lug Wrench and Jack

Many newer vehicles come with a jack and lug wrench, but you need to make sure it is there.  If you need to purchase a lug wrench, I recommend getting the cross-shaft type that will provide you better leverage.

Spare Tire

Not only do you need to have a spare tire, you need to be sure that it is properly inflated and ready for use when you need it.

Can of Tire Inflator or Sealant

In the event that you simply cannot change a flat tire for some reason, this is a must have. This can easily attaches to your tire’s valve stem and inflates your tire with a substance that seals the hold or puncture long enough to get you to safety, or the tire shop.

Jumper Cables

These are an essential item.  Every car should have jumper cables ready to go whether the problem is a faulty battery or driver error, like headlights left on.  If you can spare the expense, there are devices you can buy that are a small generator capable of jumping your car off without another vehicle even present.

Emergency Car Parts

It is a great idea to have some extra parts available in a pinch.  Having a few essentials like a set of windshield wiper blades, a variety of spare fuses, and a spare radiator cap.  Some items may be a little more of an investment, like hoses, but depending on the climate of your area or the destination, they may be very important.  If the area you are traveling in is extremely hot, I would recommend having an extra set of belts and radiator hoses.

Cold Weather Implements

In some areas where extreme cold or snow and ice may be a factor, be sure you have tire chains.  An ice scraper and a small shovel for digging tires free from snow can be quite a life saver in certain situations.  A can of de-icer can also be a great addition to your kit.

Safety Reflectors and Flashlights or Work Lights

Reflectors to place around your auto for roadside auto repairs or breakdowns are essential to you and your passengers’ safety.   Flashlights or work lights of some type are also very handy when the unexpected happens on that dark road on a moonless night.  If you don’t have reflectors, a flashlight or trouble light can serve as a beacon to other drivers to alert them to your vehicle’s presence.  They also are great for those random items that get dropped and roll under seats to that black hole they disappear into.

Waterless Hand Cleaner

There are a variety of waterless hand cleaners on the market.  Most are basically just grease solvent.

Rubber Gloves

A pair of super sturdy, industrial grade rubber gloves is great.  Swimming pool supply stores usually carry these if you are having trouble finding them.  This type of glove can provide protection from substances like chemical solvents, battery acid and gasoline.

Basic First-aid Kit

A small first aid kit should include items like bandages in a variety of sizes, tweezers, gauze, an antiseptic of some type, surgical tape, antibiotic ointment, something able to sooth burns and insect bites, and supplies for any other specific medical conditions may need to be accommodated.

All of these materials can be stored in a box in your auto.  If an unexpected auto repair or roadside breakdown happens, you will be as prepared as you can for the situation.  The Columbia SC Auto Repair Pro wishes you to happy driving and safety on the road!