To some of us (men and women), cars can be a great mystery. We know to fill up the gas tank, check the oil, and that the tires need to be rotated and oil changed every few thousand miles. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared for a breakdown as best we can!
Whenever you’re driving without an emergency kit, you risk suffering in the cold or rain, being hungry or stuck for an extended period of time or even worse, but with an emergency kit your comfort, as well as chances of survival in a dire situation rise drastically.
In planning your emergency breakdown kit, here are our recommendations for the most important items to put in.
12 Car Repair Items
- 1-gallon antifreeze
- 1-quart brake fluid
- 2-quarts motor oil
- Tow strap (6,000 lbs.)
- Extra fuses
- Work gloves
- Duct tape
- Tire gauge
- Foam tire sealant
- Jumper cables
- Car jack
- Spare tire
- Tire iron & pipe for leverage
6 Winter Items
- Roll of paper towels
- Spray bottle with washer fluid
- Warm blanket
- Snow shovel
- Cat litter (for traction under tires)
- Windshield ice scraper
6 Safety Items
- Charged cell phone or satellite phone (if you don’t normally carry one)
- AAA or roadside emergency assistance card
- First-aid kit
- Fire extinguisher for Class B (combustible liquids) and Class C (electrical) fires
- Reflective warning triangles (we suggest 3, spaced 50 feet apart to warn traffic you’re stopped)
- Waterproof flashlight with extra batteries
3 Personal Comfort Items
- Rain poncho
- Drinking water
- Non-perishable snacks (protein bars, etc.)
You might notice we didn’t include other staples of the emergency kit, like pliers, screwdrivers and other tools. Back in the day, you may have been able to make some minor repairs to the car yourself, but with the complicated cars these days, the only things you can really do are check fluids and put on a spare tire.
Several companies and organizations offer pre-assembled emergency roadside kits that contain essential items in a small, convenient carrier. You may also want to add a few of the items listed above to suit your needs.
If space in your car is at a premium, the things you will most likely need are:
- Small first-aid kit
- 2 roadside flares
- 1-quart oil
- Extra fuses
- A flashlight.
Before you actually find yourself in an emergency situation, take time to become familiar with the items you’ve collected and how to use them: simply having in them in your possession is not enough.
Stay safe out there!