A car survival kit is absolutely one of the most important preparations a person can have. When you are in movement, you are in your most vulnerable zone. There’s nothing like the feeling of panic when you’re stuck on the side of the road with a steam engine and a car full of hungry children. Whether you live in the boonies or in a thriving metropolis, having some basic basics in your car’s cargo area can save you at least your radiator and, at most, your life.
Although we all depend on roadside assistance and cell phones to get out of most problems, there may be a time and place where this simply is not an option for you.
The bottom line is that it is better to take care of yourself than to depend on others to do the work for you; you may not always be able to get the signal from your cell phone and there may not always be good Samaritans driving on the highway, ready to lend a hand.
How to buy an adequate kit?
There is a market and a manufacturer for everything these days, and the survival community is certainly no exception. With its growth in interest, there has been tremendous growth in products, which gives infinite options and infinite flexibility to daily life. Insect bags and survival kits are no exception. A quick Amazon search of an emergency vehicle kit produces thousands of results.
Most of these ready-made kits are very specific for each vehicle. What I mean by that is that they have a lot of supplies and tools to handle the basic problems of the car, but very little to take care of the people who are inside them. However, if you are not sure where to start, or you just want to save yourself some problems, these kits can be useful. And between $ 30 and $ 75, they are also quite affordable.
Most of them include all the basic elements to deal with common engine problems and things like dead batteries and flat tires. In addition, they have some safety accessories on the road to help other drivers see them, such as fluorescent triangles of caution. It’s not a bad business, and it can save you some trouble when putting together your own emergency vehicle maintenance kit.
If you decide to go this route, I recommend one of the AAA kits: they are quite complete, basic and very affordable. In addition to having some basic repair tools, they also have items like road emergency markers, ponchos and flashlights. If you’re not the only one to personalize, these are a great bet and save you a little work in the search for a large number of individual components.
If you decide to get one of these, make sure you are prepared to do so and make sure you legitimately have what you need for emergency roadside care. Each vehicle and each family are different, and what works for one may not work for you.
Building your own kit and get ready.
This is my preferred method. When it comes to emergency vehicle maintenance, there are many variables that must be taken into account, especially in relation to the type of car you drive. Consider the mechanical problems you have had in the past and the likelihood that they will happen again. Then, consider the specifications of your vehicle to determine exactly what kind of supplies you would benefit from having on board.
For example, if you drive a Jeep that has a history of oil leakage, keep at least one container of the correct type of oil in your kit, along with a funnel, in case you need to finish off on the side of the road. Here are some common vehicle problems that people encounter all the time that can usually be solved on the side of the road, and some items that you can store to treat them on the fly.
Problem # 1 – engine overheating
There may be several reasons for a motor to overheat, leaking hoses or a defective radiator, being the usual suspects. However, if you continue driving the vehicle as the engine overheats, it can mean a permanent and costly disaster. Instead, stop immediately when you notice that your temperature indicator begins to rise. Then, check your antifreeze levels (but do not touch that metal cap without thick gloves – there is usually a plastic cap somewhere in the engine compartment where you can add more without the risk of burning your fingers on the hot metal).
If your levels are really low, you can get home or go to a mechanic shop to cover your antifreeze, depending on the problem. Make sure your solution is well diluted!
Package: antifreeze, water and empty jug (to dilute it is not ready-mixed), funnel, leather gloves.
Problem # 2 – oil leaks
The undoing of the existence of many vehicles, oil leaks are incredibly common and, if not controlled, can cause a lot of problems. If you find that your engine is running irregularly, stop and take a look at the dipstick. While you do not want to make a complete oil change on the side of the road, if your levels are low, this can be critical. Take out your kit and complete the tank, at least enough to take it home.
Package: Motor oil, paper towels, funnel.
Problem # 3 – car without gas
Depending on where you live or the type of trip you usually make, this may or may not be a concern. If you can walk to a service station in five minutes, this may be of little importance to you, but it is better to plan for the unexpected. If you have a small vehicle with little cargo space, it may be better to designate a place for emergency gas money instead of keeping a five-gallon gas tank.
However, if you have the cargo space, having an emergency gas tank on board is incredibly useful. Consider how much you may need to get to the nearest gas station, especially if you live in a rural area; He does not want to be stranded because he forgot to fill up in the city.
Problem # 4 – dead battery / dirty posts
Another common problem is that dead batteries rarely happen when you are in motion, but when you go out to start your car, and it gives you a sad gulp or nothing at all. Cold weather can exacerbate this problem, so it is particularly important to be prepared for it in the winter. Try to find an alternator that is not working properly, but until you can solve it, try to find someone who is willing to take a leap.
Also, sometimes something as simple as dirty battery posts can make your vehicle not start. Fortunately, most auto parts stores handle small after-cleaning devices. Having had to use one a few times, I can tell you that it is a cheap, simple and invaluable tool. Save yourself a little pain and pick one up.
Then, if your car does not start, check your publications before going to find a fellow that jumps. If they are covered with dirt, remove the battery cables and use this small tool to remove oil and dirt. Replace the wires, and see if the motor turns.
Package: jumper cables, battery post cleaner.
Problem # 5 – flat tire
This needs little introduction. There is nothing worse than that feeling of panic that grabs you when the steel wheel pulls to the side, and the dull thud of rubber on the pavement meets your ears. Prepare for this eventuality in the most obvious way.have a good spare tire Mounted in your vehicle at all times.
Even for this to happen, become familiar with the tire change process and plan to do it in the least favorable conditions (the destination has a perverse sense of humor – it is likely that the next time you get a plane).
Package: spare tire, iron tire, container for nuts, jack.
Other basic essentials
Therefore, as you have the essential elements for repairing your car, there are some other basic elements that are basic in any other survival kit that can be particularly useful in this scenario.
You can adapt these basic elements to meet your unique needs.
- Flashlights Consider that in an emergency scenario on the road, you will need your hands free. Flashlights are useful, but you also want to have a lot of hands-free light sources. LED headlights are an excellent investment, just like LED magnetic lamps. These high-power lights are great for sticking to the underside of your car’s hood while you work. Keep enough batteries on hand.
- Food and water. Depending on your situation, you never know how long you could go without help. We live an hour from the nearest city, so when I was pregnant and traveling alone, I always made sure to carry a bag of “emergency snacks”. As stupid as it sounds, a bad day will only get worse if you have a low blood sugar level. Add a stage like being buried under a snowbank, and having a couple of days of food in your kit is definitely not a bad idea.
Water is just as crucial, if not more so. You will want to have at least a few gallons on hand to drink, but also some for the car. You may have to use it for everything from diluting antifreeze to putting out a fire. Which brings me to my next point …
- Fire extinguisher. The shots of the engines are not a joke, and nothing will make your heart speed up, like watching the flames jump out of your engine. Having a fire extinguisher (and knowing how to use it) can not only protect you and your family, but also spread a fire in the surrounding areas.
- Personal stuff. It is always a good idea to have a spare change of clothes, in case you end up in a messy situation. Wet and cold clothing can cause more than just discomfort, hypothermia is a real concern in road conditions, with drafts. It is also good to have some basic personal items on hand, such as toilet paper, painkillers and hand sanitizer.
Packing for the weather: seasonal preparation
In addition to these elements, you should make sure to keep a seasonal preparation kit in your rotation. Climate can greatly affect an emergency situation, which further complicates a bad situation.
As stations come and go, store your vehicle with some of these items accordingly.
- Snow shovel. If you get off the road, having a snow shovel can help you get out of a snow bank. Also, if you end up stuck all night, you can dig and make yourself visible to emergency vehicles.
- For cats. It may seem like a strange addition, but the cat litter is ideal to put some traction under the tires. If you can not find a friend to help you push, throwing some of this on the ground around your tires can give you enough grip to find your balance again and get out of a slippery place.
- Electric blanket In a really bad situation where it is very cold, and you may not have enough fuel to run your engine, an electric blanket can be a lifesaver. They make several designed only for these scenarios that connect directly to the cigarette lighter of your car. Jump online and buy one to keep in your car: it is an invaluable resource.
- Warm clothes / boots. With a car survival kit, you should always anticipate having to be out of your vehicle in the elements at least a little. Make sure your car is provided with lots of additional layers so you can pull. If you can balance it, it is also good to have a pair of snow boots. Consider adding a pair of warm gloves to keep your fingers warm and nubile while working with nuts and bolts in the cold wind.
- Ponchos / rainwear. Staying dry is absolutely equivalent to survival. Be sure to have some resistant ponchos (preferably fluorescent) on hand to deal with the disaster in a downpour.
Be smart: road safety
In the end, the most important thing you can bring is your common sense. If you experience an engine failure or poor driving conditions, the most ideal scenario is to reach a large amount or get away from the road and address your problems there. However, we all know that it is not always an option.
If you must end up on one side of the road or partially obstruct a lane, take appropriate precautions to make sure that other drivers can see you clearly. This is particularly important in adverse weather conditions where snow or rain can further affect visibility. Make sure you have enough road markers in your survival kit to place at different intervals around your car, giving other drivers enough time to react to your presence.
Also, just get out of your car if absolutely necessary, or if you think you can be safer elsewhere. Many people have lost their lives on the side of the road when they are hit by a passing vehicle. Be smart and be aware of your surroundings.
Prepare yourself like a professional
In the end, you know your travel habits better than anyone else. You know the ins and outs of your vehicle’s history. You know what your local climate can do for the conditions of your trip. These basic tips will help you to start building your own car survival kit, but it is up to you to evaluate what you need according to your unique lifestyle.
Find out why you have space in your vehicle and find a container to keep everything organized and organized. Try to be practical about the amount of space you need. If you have to remove your kit every time you fill your car with groceries, it will not do you any good. If you have a small, compact car, and space is a limiting factor in your preparation, do not let it limit you completely. Look at rooftop storage options, regardless of what you can assemble in your car.
Unfortunately, this kit is not just for those in the preparation community. I have seen too many people stranded on the side of the road, completely helpless and completely confused, so that I would sometimes allow myself to think that some of this was optional. You can only count on the kindness of strangers and the strength of a cell phone signal so often; They may not always be there to save your neck.
Take the safety of yours and your family’s with your own hands, and have peace of mind knowing that you are ready for whatever life presents you while you are on the road.