Emergency kit for vehicles all-encompassing
Q Can you recommend a kit to keep in the car for emergencies? I've seen them for sale but thought the parts were cheap quality and the kit not complete enough.
— Paula Kelly
A My list is large, designed for folks who really hit the road — or off of it. Others can pick and choose to suit their needs and available trunk space. Assembling the kit will take some time but could be well worth the effort.
Please write with additional suggestions. I'll gather them and follow up in a few weeks.
• First aid kit
• Hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes
• Road flares (replace every five years)
• Zippo lighter
• Flashlight (Home Depot's Rayovac Indestructible 2 AA LED light is my choice)
• Spare AA batteries
• Space or foil blankets
• Signal mirror from a marine supply store
• Granola bars, vacuum-sealed
• Gallon of drinking water, which can also be used as engine coolant
• Battery jumper cables, but not cheap ones
• Tire pressure gauge, preferably dial type
• A few sheet rock screws for plugging small tire holes
• Nonflammable aerosol tire inflator/sealer
• Radiator stop leak, such as AlumAseal or Bar's Leaks
• Roll of Rescue Tape or electrical tape to repair hoses
• Assortment of zip ties
• Small roll of baling wire
• Roll of duct tape for mending broken things
• Quart of motor oil
• Quart of automatic transmission fluid
• $10.00 in quarters, plus a 10-dollar bill
• Paper and pencil
• Partial or larger roll of paper towels
• Tarp or towel to lay or kneel on, when changing a tire or making repairs
• “Need help” sign or sun shade
• Orange smoke flare from marine supply store
• Sturdy bag for carrying supplies
• Leatherman or similar multi-tool
• Slip-joint and vise-grip pliers
• Standard and Phillips screwdrivers
• Previously replaced fan or serpentine belt, as a spare
• Assortment of fuses — check if your car uses SFE, ATO, mini ATO or low-profile mini ATO fuses
• Tire chains, seasonally
Brad Bergholdt is an automotive technology instructor at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, Calif. Readers may send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org; he cannot make personal replies.
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