As a car owner, one of the most unpleasant experiences you could ever go through is when your car breaks down. If the car breaks down in an urban area, things might not be so bad. You'll still be able to get help to bring your vehicle to a nearby workshop, and they'll have whatever auto spare parts you may need.
But what happens if you're driving cross-country, perhaps between states? If your car breaks down in a small town in the middle of nowhere, the situation can easily turn into a nightmare. At a minimum, you may need to stay overnight. The local mechanic might be impossible to reach, and lord knows how long it'll take them to get you spare parts to put your car back on the road.
But what if you could carry a few spare parts in your boot? Of course, you can't have an entire spare engine or gearbox in your boot for emergencies. That'd be crazy! But indeed there are a few extra parts (not just tools, but actual auto spares) that might save you from the headache of getting stalled in a remote place.
Items and Auto Spares to Keep in the Boot of Your Car
Well, first and foremost, let’s be realistic. You can’t altogether avoid being stranded out on the road, not by 100%. But what you can do is reduce the odds significantly by ensuring that you have a few very well-thought-out, very well-chosen spare parts that could keep you on the road at least long enough to get you to a proper workshop.
Let’s consider a few of your options.
A Bag of Tools, a Phone Charger, and a Manual
Okay, so these are not spare parts per se, but they’re crucial enough to mention. The first thing you need is a basic set of car tools in your boot. If your car is still relatively new, the manufacturer may have included a toolkit already. If they’ve gone missing over the years, fret not! You can find a cheap set of essential car tools online or at your trusted workshop.
Be sure to also invest in some kind of a phone charger but NOT the battery type. Never keep a power bank or external phone battery in your boot, because they may explode from the heat of being locked in there. Instead, buy a solar charger or an emergency hand-crank phone charger, the type they sell for camping. If you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, a tool like this could keep your phone powered and potentially save your life.
Lastly, be sure to have your car owner’s manual or something equivalent in the car. Remember: when you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere, you might not have a strong internet connection. So, Googling things or looking for a Youtube instructional video may be out of the question. If you find your car manual to be useless, then invest in one of the many emergency car repair manuals available online.
Yes, your car should already have a spare tyre in the boot. But let’s be honest with ourselves. When was the last time you checked it to make sure that it’s in good condition? That’s right, probably never.
So, the next time you take your car to the petrol station to fill your tyres with air, be sure to take out your spare tyre and do the same to it. This is a spare part that you already have but probably neglect. So, make sure you have this auto spare in good condition first.
Spark Plugs, Fuses, and Lightbulbs
Next, let’s talk about the smaller auto spares that you can keep on hand. In particular, these are the spares for your car’s electrical system, namely, spark plugs, fuses, and lightbulbs.
The next time you have your spark plugs changed during routine maintenance, be sure to keep a few of the used ones as spares. If you ever run into spark plug issues while on the road, you can always use the older ones as a temporary replacement. Of course, if you have the budget, you could keep a set of brand new spark plugs on hand instead.
Fuses are critical to ensure that all parts of your car’s electrical system are functioning. The convenient thing about fuses is that they’re cheap and they’re small. You can easily buy a kit full of different automotive fuses sorted in a neat little box that you can keep in your boot. It’s perfect for emergencies!
Lastly, don’t forget your lightbulbs. Keep a couple of them on-hand so that you can change them as soon as one goes out, instead of waiting for a police officer to issue a fine to you (depending on which Australian territory you’re in). Just like the fuses, spare auto lightbulbs also cost very little.
Best of all, none of these electrical spare parts will ever go to waste. Even if you don’t use them while driving cross country, you’ll undoubtedly need to use them later on.
Lastly, you may want to keep a set of car belts in your boot. Depending on your car’s make and model, you may need to keep a drive belt, serpentine belt, a timing belt, or what have you. The point here is simple: whatever belts your car uses, keep a spare in the trunk. They’re light, and they don’t take up much space. Yet, these spare belts could mean the difference between being stranded in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, and being able to stay mobile.
Of course, if you’re going to keep a set of spare belts in your boot, make sure you know how to replace them if you have to. Watch a couple of Youtube videos, or maybe ask someone to teach you before you go on your cross-country driving trip.
Also, don’t be afraid to print out instructions or a step-by-step guide on how to change these belts, and keep them in the boot as well.
For a regular urban driver, keeping auto spare parts like these or others in the boot might seem excessive. But if you’re driving cross country, doing so is a brilliant move. Remember what this article mentioned in the beginning: you can’t carry every single spare part or plan for every available possibility. Still, you can put some effort into reducing those odds.
With the spare parts above stored neatly in your boot, the odds of you getting stranded in the middle of nowhere drop significantly. With some necessary know-how, you can use those spare parts to keep your car functioning, just long enough so you can reach the next fully-equipped workshop that can fix your car.
If you’re in a strange part of the country and need to find a workshop ASAP, check out Carpart.com.au’s Directory. Here, you’ll find all sorts of workshops, spare parts sellers, and more from all over Australia. The Directory even lists their contact details so you can call them directly before you drive in. If you need a hard to find spare part, don’t hesitate to ask for a quote through our car part finder.
By Ray Hasbollah