Now to start off with I want to put out there that I am not a mechanic. I can do some basic maintenance. Like Change the oil and such. With that said, this is a practical non-mechanics car kit. A mechanic may recommend some other tools and have some other bits of advice.
When you are traveling, and that include to work. You can and at some time run into trouble. Now that trouble may be something you can work on, and be down the road with only a slight delay or you may have to call a tow truck to take you to your mechanic.
Whatever type of road side problems you come across it is always stressful. There is the stress of you being late. You not knowing what the problems is or if you can even fix it. So first off, before all else, take three Deep breaths and always be glad that is it not worse.
Then you can access the problem and maybe you can fix it. It may be just a broke radiator hose or a flat tire. If the oil light comes on and you don’t see any leaks maybe you are just low on oil and a couple of quarts will fix you right up.
So, what do you need in your basic car kit?
There are all types of tools kits out there. You can get fancy and have a Snap-On which has a higher mortgage payment than your house. Then again you could have a simple craftsman tool set that is reasonable. Or you could get just a cheap set that may do more damage than help. When it comes to tools never go bargain bin. Get a good reasonable brand you may have a sore wallet for the rest of the pay period but you at least have a set that can be trusted.
But what types of tools do you need in your tool set? I would first recommend, a Socket set a 1/2″ drive is recommended but a 3/8′ is more common and there for will save some money. Also with the sockets spend more for the 6 point socket set. They do not strips heads nearly as easy as a 12 point socket.
Then you want to have some screw drivers. Now they make screwdrivers in different sizes and types. The big difference is Flathead screwdrivers and Phillips head. Flat heads normally work best on hose clamps unless you have a socket that will fit around the head. While a good Philips head will work on about any screw on a car.
Both types of screw drivers are invaluable to have in your tool kit. So make sure you have them in the kit and take care of them. If you take care of your tools they will take care of you.
This may come as a surprise to you but motor oil is important for your car. Its use is 3 fold. It lubricates the joints of moving parts. This keeps the parts working like they are supposed to and reduces the wearing out of these parts.
Oil also cools down parts. If you don’t have oil being applied to the contact points of moving parts, friction can build up and your motor can actually weld itself together. That is what happens when your motor just “locks up” It has spot welded itself together.
The third function of motor oil is, it carries away contaminates. Even though oil keeps the wearing out process to a minimum, there are times that dry metal rubs up against dry metal. This normally happens when you first start your car. The longer your car sits the dryer the metal gets.
When you fire up your car in the morning you have micro filings being created. These filings can cause more filings from the increased wear on the engine. When you start your car it takes a second for the oil to cycle through the motor. As it does it washed away these small contaminates.
The problem with oil is that it doesn’t last. It gets burned off. You may have a small leak and after time your oil will eventually drop to a level that you don’t have enough oil pressure. You will get the oil light coming on and that is not a good light to see and if you see that that particular light come on you need to get pulled over and stopped ASAP.
This is why you want to have 2-3 quarts of the right type of oil for your car. Not any ol’ type of motor oil will do. You can find the type of oil needed by using the Mobil Product Selector. Then you want to put those quarts in your car kit tub.
Antifreeze and coolant are one in the same. It keeps your engine from getting to hot and becoming damaged. So, it is another critical fluid you need to have in your car. You want to check these fluids before you take off on any long trip. While also making sure you have a couple of gallons ready if you have a problem.
For the wintertime, you want to make sure your antifreeze is strong enough to not freeze up. If it does it could put your car out of commission or damage the engine. Therefore each autumn you want to test your antifreeze.
When buying antifreeze you want to get the premixed antifreeze. This will just save you from the hassle of having to dilute the coolant to a 50/50 mix. You won’t normally need any antifreeze if you check the levels regularly. But if you break a radiator hose, you will need to refill the reserve so you can continue on your way.
One thing you never want to use is just water. Antifreeze has an anti-corrosive element to it. That is why when you feel it is kind of oily feeling. Water will corrode many sensors and parts of your car so. Use water for emergencies only and then when you get home have your mechanic to a radiator flush.
Now this is where the tools come into play. Sometime in the world your engine belt can and will break. They don’t do it nearly as often as they use to but still the possibility is there. So you want to make sure you have a replacement belt handy. You can pick up a backup belt from any auto parts store.
If you get a flat and the hole is not visible then Fix a flat will do the job. Use this as a means to get to a repair shop. Don’t just rely of this fixing the problem. It is a Band-Aid. Patching a hole is cheaper than you having a blowout, just because you didn’t want to spend the money to get a hole fixed.
Radiator hoses get hot. Since they do they wear out after a while. When they do it will leave you stranded. When they do if you are driving pull over IMMEDIATELY! Don’t look for a good exit. The longer you go the more damage to your engine you are doing.
Replacing the hose is easy just have to let everything cool down a bit. Then take the old hose off put the new hose on tighten down the clamps with the tools mentioned above. Add some more antifreeze and away you go. So yes annoying but easy cheap fix as long as you have a radiator hose in your Car Kit.
Also if you r Radiator hose breaks that means the other hoses on your car are needing to be replaced too so it would be good to have your mechanic replace all the hoses so that the car will keep running like it is supposed to.
There is a chance that your clamps for a hose, breaks so it is good to have some replacements. Now there are an assortment of sizes so don’t get just one size
We have all done it. Gone in to a store to do some shopping and come out and you left the lights on. Or worse yet you have a bad cell on your battery and so it just doesn’t hold a charge for very long. You fill up with gas and boom dead battery. This is where a battery cables/jumper cables come into play.
Jumper cables are good to have but you have to rely on finding someone who will help you out. Depending on the part of the country it may not be a problem but Detroit after dark yeah good luck. So you might also look at a personal car jumper.
Water is handy if you end up being stranded in the middle of BFE during the summer it can be a life saver. The first time you are stranded without water you will understand what I mean. So have a couple of jugs of water stored in your car. That way you have something to drink
Even in today’s technological advanced world there are times there is just no freaking cell signal. These places will also guarantee that you will get lost. This is why it is still good idea to have an atlas in your car. No it may never get used but there is that just in case. You can find that road you missed. So you know that you that you have to drive 30 miles back the other way to get to it.
Breakdown happen sometimes you’re lucky enough to happen during the day while other times you are not that lucky and it is dark and there is no light other than the passing cars. It is good to be able to see what you are doing. Your phone can work little but not that good. So you want to have a flash light and if you can get a lantern style flash light that is even better
If there is an accident or just need a way to get people’s attention Road flares are helpful. And with today’s LED technology. LED Road flares are a reusable god send for motorists. IF you are having to work on a driver side flat tire or something where you are in danger of being hit you want to use a flare or reflective signal.
So do you and your family a favor and get some flares.
First Aid Kit
There is more to a first aid kit than just a Band-Aid. There are lifesaving tools found in a good stocked first aid kit. Yes there are band-aids and ointments, aspirin and the like, but there are also gauze and pads, scissors cold presses and more. Make sure you have a fully socked first aid kit if needed they are inexpensive so grab a kit from
Amazon or Walmart
Flats happen you may have a slow leak or your spare may be flat. You are going to need to get air in to it one way or another. So have an air pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter so you can air up your tire and get to the tire shop.
Everything is fixed with duct tape. If you have something that needs to be secured for a short time. Duct tape is almost as handy as baling wire. Get a roll or two. I would recommend Gorilla Tape
Protect your hands when working on the car use gloves so you keep the cuts and grime to a minimum.
Need a paper towel or rag when you are checking fluid levels on your car. Or when you have finished working you will have something to wipe your hands on. Paper towels can also be used to clean a windshield that has started fogging over, or clean a spill on the leather. So get some Paper towels or better yet Scotts Shop towels are superior.
When you have a flat or a low tire you need to air that tire up to the proper level too low can cause a blowout and too high can cause excessive wear. Check the pressure level don’t rely on your dash to tell you.
Emergency Escape Tool
We don’t want to be in a wrench but if we are we have to get out of the car. If you have an emergency hammer you can easily break a window and get your family safe. There is the hammer style or you can get the spring loaded style either one works when second count.
There are times that you don’t plan on a repair bill. So it is good to have a few hundred dollars in an envelope tucked away in your car. You will tank me later when the time comes and you need to use the cash. Now this is for true emergencies not hey I have to buy that.
A spare USB Charger
It never fails when you need your cell phone the battery is a 10% and dropping fast. So, make sure you have a USB charger. It wouldn’t hurt if you put a spare charger in your tub too. That way you will always have one for emergency reasons.
I have mentioned a tub several times and this Kit Tub is where you keep the vast majority of your car kit. It allows for everything to stay together and if you get the right type it also seals out the moisture and dirt. If you pack everything correctly you will be able to fit all but maybe the water and antifreeze in here.
Now all of this doesn’t cover your tire needs but you should check to make sure you have a jack a spare tire and a lug wrench. Also if you have a lug key make sure that is available too. That will keep the vast majority of your frustrations down if you happen to get a flat. Those are often stored in other places normally under your trunk or in your truck. So get familiar with what your car has so in case you have to change a tire. Or else you may just start screaming expletives to the night air.
SO there you go, a Full car emergency kit that will help keep your family safe. Now it doesn’t keep Murphy away from you, but a good Emergency Kit does help deter Murphy from riding along. Be safe and have memorable travels.