You’re driving down the road at night and out of nowhere, you see debris in the middle of the road. You can’t swerve and miss it, so you hit it head on and run over……something. You’re not even sure what it is, but suddenly you feel and hear the ka-plunk, ka-plunk, ka-plunk of a flat tire. Are ya ready for it? Have you invested in Vehicle Preparedness?
Have you missed any of the other articles from our Vehicle Preparedness Series? You can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
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Or maybe you’re on a trip. It’s a beautiful day and you have the windows down, not caring how messy your hair is going to get. You’re singing along to one of your favorite songs, and you glance down. You notice your temperature gauge starts creeping up. You watch it over the next five minutes, and it doesn’t seem to want to stop. You’re fifteen miles from the next exit on the highway. Are you ready for it?
While practice and knowledge are so very important in dealing with Mechanical Issues, having the right tools on hand to work through issues that you can handle yourself is so very important.
If you have an issue and you have to pull over along the side of a road, what do you do? As most of us know, preparedness starts way before we need it. What should we have in our car that is going to help us with mechanical issues?
Vehicle Preparedness – Start with Safety
There are things that everyone should keep in their vehicles – not because they are fun or glamorous, but because having them in your vehicle will keep you SAFE. I’m going to list a bunch of these items here. If you don’t have them, I highly recommend that you consider purchasing one in the short-term. You never know when you will need them.
Emergency triangles or flares
Fire Extinguisher – I have this one. It’s made to endure the heat of a car.
Life Hammer – If you are ever in a situation where you have to get out of the car in a hurry and your seatbelt is stuck or you have to break open a window, these little gizmos are going to be worth their weight in gold! These will cut seatbelts quickly and easily. They also break glass allowing a quick exit from a car if necessary.
Work Gloves – A good pair of work gloves is a must if you’re doing something that may harm your hands. These gloves cost a little bit more, but I wanted to make sure that I spent the money necessary to make sure that what I was using would last and be available when I needed them………assuming my kids don’t decide they are such a pretty yellow that they must simply have them for themselves.
Flashlight – Yes, being able to see in the dark is somehow kinda important in an emergency. Having either a flashlight with a magnetic base or a headlamp in your car is kinda important.
Vehicle Preparedness – General Maintenance and Repair of Mechanical Issues
Owner’s Manual – So often vehicle problems that we are stressing over like – WHAT does that light MEAN?!? is so simply solved by looking it up in your owner’s manual. If you don’t have your car owner’s manual, here’s an article that will help you locate one.
Printed Maps – Do you have a smartphone? Yep, then you probably have Google Maps or an equivalent app. Why do you need a paper map? Smartphones lose battery power. Ask me how I know. A few years ago, my family and I were traveling home from Ohio to Central Illinois. We stopped in Indianapolis to eat dinner with some friends. My phone was fine when we went into the restaurant for dinner and dead when we got out of dinner. Google Maps did me exactly NO good at that moment. Getting home without directions was challenging. Get a map or atlas.
Jumper Cables – We’ve all done it from time to time. You turn the car off and accidentally leave your lights on in your car. Maybe you turned an overhead light on in your vehicle and forgot to turn it off, or maybe your battery or alternator are just about to go. Whatever the reason, having jumper cables is a must.
Halo Bolt – So one of my readers recently told me about this device, and I purchased it for Amazon Prime Day. You can not only jump you OWN car without another vehicle. This one can also pump up your tire yourself! Not only that, but you can also use it to charge other devices like cell phones, and other devices that can be charged by USB chargers. Not only that, but it is SMALL. The actual Bolt (without carrying case or extra pieces) measures about 10″x6″x4″. It easily fit into one of our small car totes.
Spare tire, Jack, and Tire Iron – This usually comes with the vehicle. Start simply by checking to make sure that your vehicles all have their own spare, jack, and tire iron to change your tires.
Fuel Container – Nobody plans to run out of fuel. That doesn’t mean I haven’t come REALLY close a couple of times. It’s not that I’m ditzy, I just don’t always pay attention to my fuel gauge. With four kids in the car who could blame me sometimes, huh?
Basic Tools – Did I mention that I’m not mechanically inclined. I mean not at all. That doesn’t mean that I don’t need a toolkit. Whether it be my husband, my roadside assistance person, or a person willing to help a girl out having these on hand will help others help me.
Windshield washer fluid – This is especially helpful in winter when the slush gets kicked up onto your windshield by the car in front of you. Running out of windshield washer fluid then is scary at best, dangerous at worst. The one that I have a link to is awesome because it is SMALL and therefore easily added to a car kit. Just make sure that you carry water along with you like we talked about in Part 3 of this series.
Tire gauge – Does one of your tires look low, but you aren’t sure? If you have a tire gauge on hand, you can find out for certain. And it’s foolproof. Even I can work one of these puppies.
Tire Sealant – This is a lifesaver! If you have a tire that has an annoying slow leak, keeping this on hand can save the day!
Ice Scraper – Nuff said.
Kitty Litter or Sand – Nope, I don’t have a cat. I love my dog, but dogs take so much more work than cats do. But kitty litter has nothing to do with a cat or lack thereof. In wintertime, if you get stuck – yep, we have – pour kitty litter or sand under the tire in the direction that you plan on moving, it will help give you traction.
Vehicle Preparedness – Where Do You Put It All?
This is a lot of stuff just to deal with mechanical issues, but most of these things are fairly easily stashed. I’ve mentioned it before, but we have this trunk organizer. Not only does it have two large compartments which can be subdivided, but it has eight outside compartments that can easily house smaller items on this list. It has been worth it’s weight in gold in keeping my vehicle clutter free and helping me know where everything is.
What About You?
How do you feel about your vehicle’s readiness to tackle maintenance or safety issues? What from the list surprised you? What needs to be added to the list? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments. And remember . . .
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