As a traveler, you should always be thinking about how to get out of an emergency situation. The scout’s motto is always to be prepared. So if you are on a road trip around the countryside are you prepared to deal with an emergency situation like a flat battery or tire?
What about running out of radiator fluid or getting into an accident. Are you prepared?
I have done a lot of traveling over the years, and I often come across the same type of people stuck on the side of the road. They are the ones who are not prepared or have not checked their car or recovery gear over before they have headed out on their road trip.
What Are The Tools I Always Have In My Car?
As mentioned earlier the two most common breakdowns are flat tires and a flat battery. Both can be overcome easy and fast with the right equipment.
So How Do We Fix a Flat Battery?
Well, the one item I always have in each of my two cars is an emergency jump starter. These have evolved lately from the large heavy lead-acid batteries to the more smaller lightweight booster packs.
Not only can they start any car they can provide LED light and also emergency USB power for your phones. The guys over at Notsealed.com have done a great post on five great compact 1000 amp jump starters. So check it out if you require more information.
How Do We Fix a Flat Tire?
Well apart from putting the spare tire on what about if you get two flat tires?
The next item I always have is an emergency tire repair kit. These kits have a plug and an insertion tool. Remove the foreign object with a knife or pliers and then insert the fiber plug. This is all the tire repair shop will do. Once inserted you can pump up the tire so, take a 12v tire pump with you as well. You can even leave the wheel on the car, but it will be easier to do when it’s off.
The third item I always pack is gaffa tape. Gaffa tape is the tape that went into space. It has many uses such as:
- Repairing a hole in a radiator hose
- Taping up broken car lights
- Fixing broken windows
- Waterproofing a leak in the roof
- Taping over rust holes
- Protecting electrical connections
Safety Checks For Your Vehicle
Before heading out on a long road trip its best to book your car into the garage for a full health safety check. But if you would like to save some money, I can let you know what to check for quickly and easily. Basically for free.
With a cold car engine slowly twist off the radiator cap and check for the correct fluid level. It should just about be touching the radiator cap. If it is low, you can fill it up with either the green or red radiator fluid. But don’t mix them. It is no good and will gum up your radiator.
Your car battery is one of the most important items in your car. Without a battery, you cant start it. Unless it’s manual and then a bump start may be required. Automatics, on the other hand, will require a jump start from another vehicle or a portable lithium-ion jump starter.
To check your battery open each one of the battery water level caps and check how high the battery acid is. There should be a level indicator on the side of the 12v battery. If its low then top them up with distilled water. Not tap water.
Use the dip stick to check your oil level. Top up as required, the level should be between the two marks on the dip stick. Your old engine oil should be replaced every 5000 miles. Or 6 months whichever comes first. If you are changing your oil, then change the oil filter at the same time. They are cheap.
You can see the wear on each disk brake pads by removing each wheel and looking at the pads there should be at least 3mm of pads left. Any less and they should be replaced. If you hear a screeching sound, then replace them immediately.
Walk Around Checks
Check all lights, horn, and indicators. Be sure to look for any damage before setting off. Carry a few spare fuses of different sizes just in case one blows. I had a situation where I was once pulling a Jetski trailer, and the lights cable that plugs into the car got caught on a rock and ripped out. This caused a short, and I lost all my lights.
This was while traveling at night so I was lucky to have some spare fuses and tools to fix the problem.
What Tools To Carry In Your Car?
In case of emergency, I like to carry the following tools:
- Screwdrivers of various size, both Philips and flathead.
- Spark Plug Wrench
- Shifter or adjustable wrench
- An axe
- Electrical Multimeter
- Socket set
These should get you out of most sticky situations and should always be carried in your car at all times.
If we all take the time to go over our vehicles, we should have fewer breakdowns. Driving around the countryside is fun until we break down. I’m grateful for those that have stopped to see if I needed a hand changing a flat tire over the many years. We often have a quick chat and a laugh while the job gets done.
If you do see someone that may need assistance stop and see if there is anything they may need help with. They could just need a small screwdriver or a jump start which is now packed for just these emergencies.
What items do you take for a road trip?
Share your story in the comments!
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