We’ve all experienced it. Driving along, tunes playing in your ears, the wind whipping your hair back when something unexpectedly stops you on your journey. Breakdowns happen without warning. And they’ll leave unprepared drivers stranded without the tools necessary for repairs.
This guide is here to help. With a comprehensive list of 15 items every car owner should keep handy so they’ll know how to deal with these unexpected breakdowns when they occur.
Let’s get started!
- First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit can be an invaluable ally during minor mishaps. Things like scraped knees from checking underneath the hood or minor cuts sustained while handling tools can happen easily so it pays to be prepared. A comprehensive first aid kit should contain bandages, antiseptic wipes and gauze; these tools of rescue are your roadside heroes in an accident.
- Reflective Warning Triangles
Imagine this: you’re stuck at the side of a roadway without much visibility. Reflective warning triangles serve as your personal entourage of safety by alerting passing cars that you exist. This helps prevent an unpleasant surprise from passing motorists.
- Flashlight with Extra Batteries
Breakdowns can be daunting affairs in the daytime, let alone in complete darkness. That’s where a flashlight comes in to save the day. Acting as your beacon of light to inspect your car and locate that misplaced lug nut that just fell beneath its wheels. And remember those extra batteries to support this superhero effort.
Basic Equipment and Tools
- Jumper Cables
Does your car battery seem dead and lifeless? No worries; jumper cables have got your back. Acting like defibrillators to restore life into it so you can return on the road ASAP. It might sound daunting, but don’t over complicate it, all you need to do is connect red/black to red/black.
- Tire Changing Kit
So you hit a pothole and your tire’s flat as yesterday’s soda. Don’t fret though: A tire changing kit can easily save the day. Jack, lug wrench and spare tire are essential tools of tire salvation that should always be on hand in every car owner’s toolkit. While changing a tire might seem intimidating at first, it’s actually one skill all car owners should have ready in their tool belts. So if you’re not sure how to do it, make it your business to find out now that you own a vehicle.
- Multi-Tool or Swiss Army Knife
Multi-tools can serve as invaluable pocket mechanics. It’s like having your very own toolbox in the form of this pocketable gadget. When the need for repairs arises, be it tightening screws, cutting wires or prying something open, your multi-tool is here for the rescue with all its various functionalities at your fingertips. It can provide quick solutions at hand for minor fixes that you might encounter along the way.
- Tire Pressure Gauge and Portable Air Compressor
Have you experienced that unsettling wobble while driving only to discover your tire pressure was way too low? Investing in both a tire pressure gauge and portable air compressor is your solution to maintaining optimal tire inflation levels on the go. Properly inflated tires not only increase fuel economy but also provide much safer rides than underinflated ones.
- Duct Tape and Zip Ties
Sometimes all it takes to get out of a jam is some MacGyver magic. Duct tape and zip ties can act like superheroes when it comes to quick fixes. Perfect for patching up anything from temporarily securing loose bumpers or holding together broken side mirrors. These straightforward tools prove themselves very handy when disaster strikes.
- Bottled Water and Non-Perishable Snacks
While being stuck by the side of a road can be terrifying, being hungry shouldn’t be added to the mix. Pack some non-perishable snacks such as granola bars, nuts or energy bars just in case. They’ll come in really handy while waiting for assistance to arrive. Regularly consuming snacks will keep energy levels up and make you feel a little bit better about the pickle you’re in.
- Blanket or Emergency Blanket
Breakdowns don’t care about the temperature. And sometimes they can even get really quite chilly! That’s where a blanket or emergency blanket comes in. They provide some much-needed warmth while you wait for help to arrive.
- Rain Poncho and Gloves
Breakdowns don’t always occur under perfect skies, making rain ponchos and gloves essential accessories when unexpected storms hit. Especially if you can’t sit in your vehicle while you wait for your emergency towing services. Staying dry and warm when waiting for assistance can make all the difference between an uncomfortable situation and an absolute nightmare.
- Cash and Spare Change
In our increasingly digital world, it can be easy to forget the value of physical currency. Carrying some spare change and dollars in your glove compartment may come in handy for tolls or unexpected parking fees. Not to mention grabbing quick snacks from cash-only roadside stands.
- Personal Medications and Essential Documents
Don’t overlook your personal healthcare and essential documents. For example, keeping some extra medication handy should an unexpected situation appear could make all the difference. Plus, copies of vital documents like driver’s licenses, insurance certificates or registration can come in handy should an issue arise and you need to prove who you are.
Communications and Navigation
- Cell Phone and Charger
When things turn south, having a fully charged smartphone with a car charger ensures you never find yourself without access to call for help. It goes without saying that you should have these items with you everytime you go out in your car.
- Paper Maps and Compass
While GPS can provide reliable directions, the technology might take a break at times. This means using paper maps and compass as backup navigation plans could come in handy. No Wi-Fi or data connections necessary, just a little bit of map-reading know-how.
What To Do In An Emergency
Now let’s consider an extreme case. Sometimes we can find ourselves in a nasty scrape, no matter how prepared we are. Panic can arise quickly in these situations, so knowing what steps to take is really important:
- Stay Safe: Safety should always come first. Pull your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible, switch on hazard lights, and place reflective warning triangles as discussed earlier.
- Call for Assistance: Using your fully charged cell phone, dialing for help, whether roadside assistance, friends or family are available, etc., and let them know where and what happened.
- Assess Your Situation: Take a deep breath and assess the situation carefully. Are there solutions you can identify on your own that could address the issue at hand? Otherwise seek professional assistance as soon as possible because your safety comes first.
- Stay Inside Your Car: For added protection on a busy highway, it might make sense to remain inside your car while waiting for assistance. Lock all doors and fasten your seat belt securely to stay safe from further injury. Remember, only do this if it’s safe. If your car is still in the middle of a busy road with no way to move it, make sure you get out and come off the highway.
- Stay Calm: Finding peace in times like this can often seem like an impossible task. Listening to soothing music or practicing deep breathing techniques could help keep the stress at bay. Do whatever works for you because achieving composure can make an immense difference in outcomes.
Conclusion: Prepared for Anything
So there it is: Your complete road-ready checklist.
Whether you’re a car enthusiast or someone just wanting to stay prepared in case something unexpected comes your way, these 15 items have you covered for whatever happens.
So next time your car decides to let loose, these tools and expertise can be deployed like pros for an effortless driving experience. Safe travels and don’t forget, preparation is key when it comes to driving!