If there’s something worse than getting yourself stuck with a flat tyre in a remote community, it would be to have no tools or means to get out of the hole you’re in.
Be Prepared for the Rainy Days!
Nothing beats being prepared for the rainy day, as our parents have always drummed in us. We also know that the proverbial ‘rainy day’ includes all weather conditions, emergencies, and potential hitches. The proverb has not changed through all the years, although the tools may have. Emergencies do happen, and what you need are the right tools to get you back on the road in no time.
That’s why we’re thinking that many of us could be carrying around a rusty toolbox and emergency kits that need a revamp! For this reason, we’ve come up with this article to keep you up to speed with the latest car tools and supplies that you need to have at all times.
Must-Have Items to Keep in Your Car
If that toolbox is a carryover from your previous car, then we recommend that you go through each item, discard the obsolete tools, polish and recondition those that still work, and make a list of what you need to buy.
Also, take time to imagine yourself in the 'worst-case roadside scenario’ (no mechanic, no signal, no means of communication, stormy weather) and think of the first tool you would give anything for in such situation. That thing should be item number 1 in your kit.
To make it simpler for you, we've listed below the top accessories and tools that every driver must have in his trunk at all times. Check each and tick off what you have and don't have.
Note: We’ve skipped the jack, lug wrench, and the spare tyre with the hope (and prayer) that you’re not utterly clueless to be travelling without this trio.
1. Hammer or other Car Escape Device
Before we think about your car, think first of yourself in an emergency situation where you need to be free of your seatbelt and out of the vehicle (think: car on fire or underwater). That’s the idea behind this life-saving item. You can find countless variations of this tool – but they all work primarily to cut a seatbelt sash and to break the window glass. Sizes, shapes, and forms vary, with some designed to be multifunctional – some come with a flashlight, emergency flasher, and other ingenious add-ons.
2. Jumper Cables
Batteries have a way of dying on you in the unholiest hour and the midst of nowhere. These cables are needed in resuscitating the battery and allowing you to bring your car to the nearest mechanic.
Note: This is assuming that there is another car (in this nowhere land!) with a live battery to charge your dead battery. You should also know the basics about jumpstarting, and you've done it before (or observed someone do it before). While you’re reading this, take time to be familiar with what the car's manual says about jumpstarting YOUR vehicle.
3. Portable Jump Starter or Battery Charger
In the previous item, we assumed that a Good Samaritan would always be by the roadside willing to help, which is rarely the case. To adequately prepare for such a situation, you will need a portable jump starter of battery charger, which you will use with the jumper cables.
4. Heavy-Duty Tow Strap
A tow strap has several uses. You use it mainly to tie and tow another car with or tie and tow your vehicle to a towing truck. It is also used as an all-around tie-down rope, rescue strap, or recovery aid when stuck in the mud, snowdrifts, or flood. In short, it’s a multipurpose tying device that’s strong enough to pull a car over a considerable distance. Find one that’s attached to heavy-duty shackles.
5. Tool Kit
Your regular maintenance tool kit should form part of your roadside emergency gear. It’s a collection of screwdrivers and sockets, pliers, adjustable wrench, vise grip, utility knife, jack, tyre pressure gauge, and a flashlight.
6. Tyre Chain or Snow Chain
Depending on your climate and the usual terrains you travel on, you may need tyre chains, snow chains, traction mat, snow brush, ice scraper, and a folding shovel. These items will help pull you out of a murky or deep-snow situation.
7. Canned Tyre Inflator or Sealer
There’s an easy way out of a flat tyre in case you’re too lazy or a dummy when it comes to changing one. This nifty single-use canned tyre inflator offers a temporary (and quick!) solution to a flat tyre. All you need to do is hook this canister, which contains a pressurised fluid mixture, into the tyre’s valve system and press to empty its contents. It works by sealing the puncture and reinflating the tyre.
It does away with the need to fiddle with the jack and spare and allows you to drive a short distance at a low speed to the nearest shop. As mentioned, this is perfect for those who don’t want to be bothered with replacing the tyre themselves. It has its fair share of cons, though. The sealing material is difficult to remove and clean up and will most likely cost you extra once you bring the tyre for repair. It may also cause damage to the tyre.
Throw all these tools into your bug-out bag, plus a pair of gloves, energy bars, a roll of duct tape, water to drink, and a first aid kit. This list is by no means exhaustive. Instead, its purpose is to get you started with the car tools and accessories you may need in case of a car breakdown and other sorts of roadside emergencies.