Car Emergency Kit | Preparing for unexpected situations

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Flat tire

Having a car emergency kit can be helpful in situations like this. Image from Flickr.

We rely on our cars to get us back and forth, either to and from work or on longer trips. Like every complicated piece of machinery, though, a car can break down. When that does happen, it is best to be prepared with a car emergency kit.

Why you need a car emergency kit

You may have OnStar or AAA, but you never know when or where your car might break down. Your cell phone may not always have a signal, or you may have to wait for assistance. By having a car emergency kit, you will be prepared for almost anything that may happen, whether in the city or on a rural back road.

What to include in your car emergency kit — part 1

The first things you should include in your car emergency kit are mechanical tools. This is the gear you can use to fix the car — or just about anything else mechanical — in a pinch. These tools should include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Oil – at least three quarts
  • Antifreeze (make sure it’s the right type for your car)
  • A set of fuses
  • A set of screwdrivers or a multiple-bit screwdriver
  • A multi-tool that has pliers, a pocketknife and wire-cutters
  • Adjustable wrench or a set of wrenches
  • At least one roll of duct tape
  • Emergency tire inflator, such as Fix-A-Flat, and a pressure gauge
  • Heavy-duty tow rope
  • Jack and spare tire

What to include in your car emergency kit – part 2

Mechanical problems are not the only type that emerge when you are on the road. Your car emergency kit should also include a variety of items to help keep you and your passengers safe and comfortable. These items should include:

  • A first-aid kit
  • At least one blanket or sleeping bag
  • Flashlight with additional batteries
  • Roll of toilet paper, paper towels or both
  • Pen and a notepad
  • Energy bars or granola bars
  • At least 1 gallon of water
  • Roadside flares
  • A large tarp

While it may seem like a lot of gear to have on-hand, a car emergency kit, well-packed, takes up very little space. Store it in the trunk of your car or under one of the seats. A time will come when you will appreciate the time and effort you took to put the kit together.

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