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What’s In Your Emergency Roadside Tool Kit?

Break-downs are never convenient but having some basic tools at your disposal can help you get to a safer location or failing that allow you make the scene safer for yourself until help arrives. So if you are driving these holidays, even if it is no great distance I hope that you have checked on or prepared your emergency roadside toolkit. The list below provides a few items that should be included. Flashlight- There are all sorts of flashlights available in today’s marketplace, but it’s tough to beat some of the machined aluminum jobs out there. Always be certain the batteries are fresh  and keep a spare bulb in place, you never know when a bulb will expire. Tool Kit- You can buy pre-packaged emergency tool kits. Or you can make your own. Essentially, you don’t need to pack tools to overhaul the car on the side of the road. Instead, think about items like a pair of pliers, flat blade screwdrivers in two different sizes, a Phillips-blade screwdriver, a good quality adjustable wrench, a pair of vise-grips, a set of wire cutters (preferably with a wire stripping option), a pocketknife and perhaps a small ball peen hammer. Add a roll of mechanic’s wire; a small roll of electrical wire, several spare fuses, a roll of electrical tape and you can fix a number of roadside maladies. Wrap everything in a small sports bag and you’re done (and likely at a cost that’s less than half of a commercial kit). First-Aid Kit- A small 8-10-person first-aid kit can cost less than $20 and will include the majority of what you’ll need in...

Where’s The Heat?

It is cold outside and hopefully your heater is working as it should. Heaters work off the warm air absorbed by the radiator from the warmed-up engine. If your cold-day car ritual is to turn up the heat and blower right after you turn the ignition switch, all you’ll get is cold air. Only once the engine warms up will the passenger compartment warm up as well. So what is the cause if that warm air never arrives? Below is a laundry list of possible causes as to why you may be left sitting in the cold. Coolant is low. If you’ve just recently changed the  antifreeze, check the coolant level in the radiator to see if the radiator is full. An air pocket in the heater core or hose may be interfering with the flow of coolant through the heater core. You should also check for obvious leaks and have them repaired as necessary. An open thermostat or one that’s too cold for the application. A defective heater control valve. This valve allows coolant to circulate through the heater core even when the heater isn’t being used. A plugged heater core. Accumulated crud in the cooling system may plug the core and block the flow of coolant. The only cure here is to replace the heater core. To prevent the problem from reoccurring, the cooling system should be flushed and refilled with a fresh 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. Distilled water is best since it contains no minerals. An inoperative airflow control or inlet door in the heater ducting or plenum. If the defrosters aren’t working either,...