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 an accident or in a medical emergency.
Jumper Cables- You can buy a fancy jump starter assembly or you can carry a good-old-fashioned set of booster cables.
Tire Pressure Gauge + Tire Inflator- You don’t need a fancy digital tire pressure gauge to check your car’s tire pressure. What you need is a reasonably accurate gauge that provides consistent readings. Tire inflators that also have sealing qualities are a good idea too; they work by inflating the tire and then temporarily seal the puncture.
Safety Triangles- While they might not be quite as visible as burning safety flares, they’re infinitely reusable, and present no hazard to you or the surroundings. Safety triangles take up little or no space in the trunk of your car.
Fire Extinguisher- A small fire extinguisher is better than no extinguisher, but if you can choose a good 2.5-pound fire extinguisher with a high-quality quick-release mounts so it does not rattle and roll around in the back of your trunk and you can access it quickly if ever needed.
In addition for winter travel AAA recommends carrying gloves, boots, blankets, a small shovel, ice scraper, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, cell phone, bottled water and a few “high-energy snacks” in your glove box. From everyone here at Christensen Automotive we wish you a happy holiday season and hope that you all Travel Safe this winter.
Want to learn more about how to care for your car? Find all of our posts in our webpage dedicated to helping you know how to travel safe!