Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Murphy’s Law states anything that can happen, will, and in the case of vehicles breaking down Murphy’s Law holds true. We can’t always decide what happens to us in this life, but how we prepare for the future can make all the difference in the present. No matter how mechanically sound you think your car is, you need an emergency kit. Here’s what we recommend every kit have.
This kit list is going to assume that you have a cellphone and a cellphone charger in your vehicle. These are two of the most critical items you can have in an emergency situation. Remember, this is an all-purpose general kit. We recommend customizing it based on your needs.
- A Small Fire Extinguisher
Whether you’re putting out your own fires or someone else’s, having a fire extinguisher in your car is always a good idea. Be sure to buy an ABC fire extinguisher to take care of Class B (liquid fueled) and Class C (electrical) fires, as they are most common in vehicles.
- First-Aid Kit
Ensure your first-aid kit is complete with Band-Aids, gauze pads, aspirins, Neosporin, antiseptic wipes, and any personal medications (prescriptions, inhalers, etc.) you will need. Even just a basic first-aid kit can and has saved lives every day. You may even want to brush up on some simple first-aid techniques.
- Road Flares or Road Reflectors
If you’re broken down at night, the lack of visibility can pose a danger for you and anyone else on the road. Make sure your kit features either road flares or a few warning road reflectors. We recommend the reflectors, as flares will eventually go out, and are known to be finicky.
- Jumper Cables
Make sure your jumper cables are at least 8 gauge wire, and anywhere from 12 to 20 feet long. There’s nothing worse than hooking up one set of cables only to find you can’t reach your power source. Don’t skimp out and buy a wimpy set of jumper cables – they’re important.
- Car Tool Kit
A small tool kit containing the following items can take you a long way:
- Flat and Philips head screwdrivers
- Wrench or socket set
- Utility knife
- Flashlight or headlamp (with replacement batteries)
- Super glue
- Rain poncho
- Duct tape
- Tire-pressure gauge
- and, an ice scraper
We’re not expecting you to repair your vehicle on the side of the road (more power to those who can) but having a good set of tools is important for smaller fixes. For instance, wrapping some duct tape around a broken radiator hose might get you to that nearest service center.
- An Overnight Kit
Believe it or not, people get stuck in their cars overnight, and preparing for that can turn an uncomfortable night into a camp-out of sorts; it may even save your life. Make sure yours is complete with some non-perishable snacks, a warm blanket (or two), and adequate drinking water. If you’re stranded in your car overnight, you’ll want these three items more than anything.
The items listed above would make a very solid emergency car kit, but there is much more to consider adding to yours. We hope that you’ll asses the specific needs of your area and lifestyle when crafting your personal kit. More importantly, we hope you decide to put one together.
Feel free to come by Chris Leith Dodge or call and ask what our technicians recommend for an emergency kit. Also remember to bring your car in for regular service or if you feel it’s in danger of breaking down. It’s always great to be prepared, but prevention is your closest ally.