Picture this: you are out on a road trip with a handful of your closest friends, having the time of your life and all of a sudden, your car shuts down in the middle of nowhere, with no real warning prior to this. Its dark out and there is no sign of human habitation nearby, much less a gas station or garage to help bail you out.
Many a time when you are out on the open road, situations can turn dangerous in the blink of an eye and most likely you are not a mechanic or a car whiz.
What are you going to do now?
Luckily, you don’t have to be a car expert to fish yourself out of such situations.
By having some basic essential items in your tool box, you will considerably increase the chances of keeping your car functional till you reach the nearest garage. You could include a whole set of tools in your tool box, but make sure that you have the following items with you at all times.
- Screwdriver and Socket Set
It does not matter if you own a state of the art car equipped with the most modern of technological innovations or an old rundown sedan, when it comes to cars, sometimes, things just become loose. It could be because of constant vibrations, age or many other reasons.
Most often in such scenarios a basic tightening of whatever that’s loose will get your car purring again. This becomes even more likely if you are dealing with a loose hose clamp, or a slipped battery terminal connection.
You don’t have to be a car whiz to sort such issues. Just pop your hood open and start scanning for basic problems like the ones just mentioned. If you spot loose or disconnected sections, it’s time to get out the old trusty screwdriver box and start tightening. Always remember that it’s ‘righty tighty and lefty loosy’.
To allow for greater flexibility equip yourself with multiple screwdriver tips and socket sizes. Also, make sure that you familiar with it before you have to use it in a real life situation.
- Duct tape
Alright, you might start thinking that I am taking the mickey here. I can almost picture the thoughts running through your head right now.
Really, was that so important that you had to add it in as a tip? Surely everybody remembers to carry duct tape.
Unfortunately, it IS that important and most people tend to forget to include duct tape in their tool box. Duct tape can be the solution to multiple car problems.
From fixing body work blemishes courtesy of a fender bender, to emergency patches on hoses (among many other parts), by including duct tape in your tool box you can ensure that your car reaches the nearest repair shop and that you are not stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Additionally, duct tape can be particularly handy in many non-driving scenarios.
Don’t skimp out on cheap tape. Quality tape usually costs more, but the added benefit is that your patches continue to stay stuck through a different range of situations and temperatures.
- Hammer or any other seatbelt/window escape device
This handy item could literally end up saving your life. You can store it next to the driver’s seat with double sided tape or maybe Velcro.
Now, if you are ever in a situation where you are trapped in your car, you can use this tool to cut through a seat belt (which for obvious reasons is made of very tough fabric) or to bash open the window if your doors don’t open.
Consider the following hypothetical situations, what if your car catches fire or you are trapped underwater? In such situations time is of the essence and you need to make every second count as you will most likely be short on air. This cheap yet effective tool will ensure that you get out quickly and not remain trapped within your car.
- Jumper cables
A dead battery means a dead car. Perhaps one of the most frustrating car problems one could encounter regardless of the cause. A set of jumper cables will come in very handy in such situations even if your battery can’t hold a charge. You can get back on the road and on to the nearest repair shop to find a more permanent solution to your current car predicament. Opt for heavy gauge jumper cables that come with top quality spring loaded clamps at each end, instead of the one that are smaller and generally cheaper. A good pair of jumper cables can be used on a number of different car models as well as trucks.
- A Knife
In many instances you won’t have to make connections, but instead might have to disengage things that you need to get rid of.
This is where a knife can come in very handy.
Let’s assume that some debris or maybe a length of rope is wrapped around an axle, by just cutting off the unneeded part you can get back on the road as soon as possible. Again like the duct tape, a knife can come in handy in many non-driving situations, especially if you end up being stranded in an unknown place. There are number of potential uses for a knife from cutting wood for an emergency fire or opening food containers.
- Tire sealer or inflater
Most cars are equipped with spare tires, but not all spares are inflated in the hour of need. If your tyre is inflated, is it at the right pressure? All of such problems can be extinguished with the addition of a can of tire sealer or inflator into your tool box. Just attach it to the valve stem of your spare tire and let its contents handle the rest by first locating potential leaks in the tire and filling it up with sufficient air with the requisite pressure, that will allow you to drive to the nearest garage. A tire pressure gauge and a wheel nut safety device can also prove to be a handy addition to your tool box.
Hoping that all your car related problems will happen in the middle of the day when its bright and sunny out might ultimately turn out to be nothing but a pipedream. Smart phone lights are useful if you want to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but it might not be of much help if you are trying to attach a spare to your car. A flashlight is a must in such situations. Look for a magnetic flashlight that can operate hands-free. Ensure that the batteries are changed regularly, so that you have a perpetual source of light for as long as you need it.