When it comes to having your car or vehicle prepared, it’s more than just regular maintenance, it’s having with you what you need to handle an emergency if one were to arise. Here is part one of few lists for car preparedness for emergencies.
Being Prepared for First Aid Problems:
This is covered in the post on First Aid Kit recommendations for the car, located here. If you haven’t already read it, take a look!
Being Prepared for Vehicle Problems:
Your car has a dead battery. Your truck has a flat. You could get home if only you could get your vehicle moving safely again. Here is a suggested list of items to have in your car to cover these situations.
Tire Problem Preparedness:
- Spare tire, tire jack, lug-nut wrench – These three items are all needed to be able to change your tire. If you’re missing just one, it becomes a much more difficult job, especially since it’s not guaranteed that the items from another vehicle will be compatible with yours. And since most cars pretty much come with a set already, it’s very likely you already have this covered. However, I recommend one modification, mostly so you can help others out. A multi-size (4-way) lug wrench is handy to be able to help others, since it has all four possible sizes currently in use for most passenger vehicles. If you can, get the 18″ length and not a smaller size, since it will help with the leverage to loosen the lugs.
- Portable air pump – Fill it up after you patch the flat and also in case your spare tire is flat (I’ve seen it happen). You can get one for under $25, but the more expensive ones have built-in lights, higher pressures (faster fill), and extra accessories and case.
- Tire pressure gauge – What good is adding air to your tires if you put in too much or not enough? This one goes to 60 psi (which should be enough) and glows in the dark. I prefer analog over digital due to batteries going bad, but a digital one is better than none at all. If you’re old-school and can read one, the pencil-style gauge takes up less room.
- Tire patch kit or Fix-a-Flat – Nail in tread caused the flat? Make it airtight again and keep going to safety. The kit is not as easy and quick, but it’s multi-use, and you don’t have to worry about the pressurized can going bad.
Battery Problem Preparedness:
- Jumper (booster) cables – Dead batteries have caused many automobile issues. Don’t get anything less that 4 AWG (gauge). If you can afford it, get 2 AWG (gauge) or better.
- Wire brushes – For cleaning off your battery terminals when making a jump.
Fluids Problem Preparedness:
You can drive without windshield washer fluid, but other fluids are necessary for your car to go. Here
- Oil – Always keep a quart or two of the preferred oil consistency.
- Empty gasoline can – A small 2 or 2.5 gallon can allows you to bring gas back after a walk. If tight for space, you might be able to get by with a 1 gallon.
- Funnel – Cheap, and so useful. You can mark them for what fluids you use them for, if you want.
- Transmission/Power Steering Fluid – Depending on your vehicle type and age, you might want to toss this in as well. Make sure you check for your vehicle’s specific fluid types.
Part two will cover more ideas for things to keep your car prepared.
Remember, you can only be as prepared as what you have with you.
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