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Car emergency kits?


annie24
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Ok, so I bought a new (used) car. My first car!! What are things I need to keep in it? I live in a major city with 4 seasons. I've already purchased an ice scraper/snow brush thing and heavy-duty floor mats. The car came with a spare tire.

 

I looked up some things on the internet about recommendations (first aid kit, blanket, water, some food, a change of clothes). Some said a seat belt cutter/window breaker.

 

What are things you would recommend?

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seat belt cutter/window breaker.

 

I have one of these. You can also use your headrest to break out a window; undo it and use the metal prongs. But the seat belt cutter is good to have too, and it's a one-piece tool. I keep it in my center compartment.

 

You might visit an auto parts store to see if they have an all-in-one kit with all your first aid stuff: flares, jumper cables, etc. I have one for many years. Oh, and always keep a working flashlight handy.

 

And congrats on the car!

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During the hurricane I bought a wind up flashlight that also has a radio, magnets to sit on the hood of my car, and a flashing red light. Plus it can smash a window and cut a seatbelt. It was like $15 on Amazon.

 

I recommend purchasing a second set of tires. Winters and summers. Keep one of these full size off seasons in your car as a spare instead of your spare.

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Jumper cables are a must. A small shovel and small container of ice-melt (calcium chloride). An extra bottle of wiper fluid. An extra pair of wiper blades. A roadside assistance program. Most importantly, regular scheduled maintenance including oil changes, have the tire air pressure checked regularly.

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Lol what kind of flashlight is that? It's like a Swiss knife!

 

I lied, it was like $30 :) but it’s amazing

 

Cynergy Lifelight All-in-One Waterproof Emergency Crank Flashlight complete with Wind Up Rechargeable LED lights, Window Breaker, Seatbelt Cutter, Compass, USB Cell Phone Charger, and Red Light Flasher https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H4JDHRS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_0v1uAbRP0PQ3H

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I have a small air compressor that has a car power adaptor. Cost like $20 but I have used it several times. Most useful to top off a spare tire before you need it, they typically go flat by the time you need them if you don't check it often.

 

I also have a small LED fold up hazard cone. Very helpful.

 

I don't know how used the car is but getting a quart of extra motor oil can be nice.

 

I also have extra antifreeze in my car but it is pretty old.

 

I also hate standard car jacks so I keep a 4 ton full-size one in my car.

 

Jumper cables are a must.

 

Tire patch kit.

 

I live in a very rural area too, so I keep a bug out bag.

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In addition to all the good suggestions...^

 

1. Get a full size spiral bound notebook and enter everything you do to the car. Oil changes, new tires, tuneups, air filters, battery changes, etc. Time goes by so fast! You'll most likely miss or do maintenance too soon. Include date and miles.

 

2. If you don't know how old the battery is, replace it immediately, and then every four years afterward. Don't think jumpers will start a totally dead battery. Today's batteries are NOT like the beefy, slow to die, batteries of yesteryear. instead they just die, and it's always at the worst possible time.

 

3. Do not replace the wiper rubber/arm with something out of walmart/auto stores. These knock offs are nowhere near the quality of the original arm/rubber. If the car has the original arms, just buy the rubber part. If not, buy the complete arms. They will cost more but are worth it.

 

4. Buy a big, got everything first aid kit. Add to it a quality tourniquet. (Learn how to use it!) These kits are for you and your loved ones. Unless a first responsder, don't make the mistake doing something you have no training for. Instead, hand the box to someone who does.

Edited by Lester
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These are great suggestions!! My last job was at a university and within walking distance, so one time, when I lost power in my apartment because of a bad storm, I just went to work (backup generators, plenty of food and water, air conditioning/heating). Now that I'm not working there anymore, I don't have that same backup plan, so having the supplies ready to go in my car will be helpful.

 

I don't have AAA because I bought some kind of other plan that covers roadside assistance. I need to double check that it's the same thing.

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Even better than jumper cables if you have room for it is a jump box - doesn't require another vehicle nearby to use...just have to make sure to keep it charged up. A lot of them now also allow you to plug other things in... which means if you're stuck somewhere you can charge your phone/etc.

 

Space blankets are good and fit nicely into a kit. Water (helps if they're not completely full - give them room to freeze without bursting if you live in cold climes.)

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Even better than jumper cables if you have room for it is a jump box

 

Yes, a jump box is very handy. I have one that can be used to jump start the car, inflate tires, as a light or a temporary power source. It contains a large rechargeable battery.

 

I have reflective warning triangle I keep in the car. Roadside flares serve the same purpose.

 

Also, a book, which gives me something to do should I get stuck somewhere.

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Not really a safety kit, but a recommendation to have your car's primary features safety checked. Tires can degrade over time so if those are old (five years>) or if the car was parked a long time, might want to replace.

Get the brakes checked for wear.

 

See if the heater functions.

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I definitely have 4 seasons where I am and the two things I use most are the tire pressure gauge (don't trust the electronic one in your car because the sensors can be wired wrong) and every year my mom gives my brother and I an aerosol can of de-icer. VERY helpful in icy conditions.

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If you live/drive in the city you don't really need roadside assistance. I've lived in the mountains and middle of no where and never had roadside assistance (never needed them). You just have to pay attention to your car and check fluid. Water containers can spill/break... Not worth keeping in the trunk in your car (I've had water jugs bust open twice). I also would not keep food in the car either because of smells.

 

Definites are jumper cable, flares, tire wrench to change a tire (a tow truck will charge you for unscrewing bolts), a tire pressure reader, and air compressor.

 

I second Lester's advice on windshield wipers. I used Bosch brand and only need to replace them once every two years. Always keep them clean any time you fuel up at gas stations and NEVER use them if you got ice on your windshield... It will make your wiper last longer.

 

For icy conditions I keep a sandbag in my trunk. Helps your car maintain traction if you get stuck.

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I'll chime in, and likely repeat some suggestions; but I didn't feel like making a list to make my list. Haha

 

Some of what I carry, but then I have 20 years of endurance racing and engine building; so I prep for big oh crud moments.

 

Year - round

 

1 Jumper cables, the larger the cable diameter the better (I prefer 4 or 6 gauge cables) more current flow and more robust

2 Battery terminal brush, cheap inexpensive way to rule out problems

3 Oil, at least a quart

4 analogue tire gauge, the all metal pen type are reliable and accurate

5 A 4-way, a lug nut wrench that will give you a big advantage over difficult lugs

6 Flares or triangles, anything that doesn't require batteries

7 Can of fix-a-flat, it can save you in a pinch to get to a tire store

8 Basic set of hand tools ( screw drivers, adjustable wrench, combo wrenches, pliers); you may not be confident enough yet to do your own work, but you may get help

9 Volt meter, cheap ones will work

10 Flashlight and extra batteries

11 Fuses that are appropriate for your car

12 Duct tape*

13 small ground cover, a simple piece of cardboard when you have to change tires while on a business trip can save your clothes.

14 AAA

15 Wiper replacements

16 Belt cutter/ window tool ( I think I saw this a few times, and it's really a nice tool)

17 1st Aid kit (don't skimp)

18 Water ( simple bottles)

19 snacks (in heavy wrappers or plastic containers, pests can get into them)

20 Note book and pens

 

Winter Specific

1 Ice scraper

2 De-icer (use sparingly)

3 blanket(s)

4 boots or over-shoes (do they even still make these?)

5 Change of clothes (cold weather gear appropriate for your area)

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I'll chime in, and likely repeat some suggestions; but I didn't feel like making a list to make my list. Haha

 

Some of what I carry, but then I have 20 years of endurance racing and engine building; so I prep for big oh crud moments.

 

Year - round

 

1 Jumper cables, the larger the cable diameter the better (I prefer 4 or 6 gauge cables) more current flow and more robust

2 Battery terminal brush, cheap inexpensive way to rule out problems

3 Oil, at least a quart

4 analogue tire gauge, the all metal pen type are reliable and accurate

5 A 4-way, a lug nut wrench that will give you a big advantage over difficult lugs

6 Flares or triangles, anything that doesn't require batteries

7 Can of fix-a-flat, it can save you in a pinch to get to a tire store

8 Basic set of hand tools ( screw drivers, adjustable wrench, combo wrenches, pliers); you may not be confident enough yet to do your own work, but you may get help

9 Volt meter, cheap ones will work

10 Flashlight and extra batteries

11 Fuses that are appropriate for your car

12 Duct tape*

13 small ground cover, a simple piece of cardboard when you have to change tires while on a business trip can save your clothes.

14 AAA

15 Wiper replacements

16 Belt cutter/ window tool ( I think I saw this a few times, and it's really a nice tool)

17 1st Aid kit (don't skimp)

18 Water ( simple bottles)

19 snacks (in heavy wrappers or plastic containers, pests can get into them)

20 Note book and pens

 

Winter Specific

1 Ice scraper

2 De-icer (use sparingly)

3 blanket(s)

4 boots or over-shoes (do they even still make these?)

5 Change of clothes (cold weather gear appropriate for your area)

 

Thank you for this list!!! I will work on getting these items. Some I already have around the house and just have to put them in the car.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tire pressure guage and flashlight in your glovebox.

Check the air in your tires monthly. (many people you see at the side of the road with a flat got a blowout due to too much or too little air in their tire. As the Michelin slogan "there is so much riding on your tires")

Check the tire pressure when the tires are cold and make sure to use the reading (ie: 33psi ) found on the door of your vehicle...NOT on the edge of the tire

Ensure the spare also has the right pressure. (listed on the edge of the tire, they are usually smaller tires=different psi than the other 4)

 

I am starting to sound like a tire salesman here, but yes get winter tires. They are not necessarily for snow only, they are made from a soft compound which grip better to cold dry winter roads too.

It ain't cheap up front buying winter tires/rims, and switching them every spring/winter is a bit of pain, but they are worth it.

Here is how I rationalize the cost: If I cause an rear ender because of my non-winter tires, and am at fault, I will pay the $1,000 insurance deductible (which is about the cost of four tires and rims)!!

Also you double the tread life on both sets, so you are not really behind.

 

Good luck with your new ride, Happy trails!

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Ok now I’m a little worried. Since I got my car, I’ve had a warning sign saying that the tire air pressure is low, but the salesman said not to worry about it because it was cold and that’s why it’s reading low. So... where should I go and what should I do?

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Air contracts when cold, which will trigger the light.

 

If you live in a area that gets winter, "top off" the air in the tires in the late fall.

If the light comes on in the winter, check and top off again.

 

If you notice one tire is always lower, it most likely has a leak. (e.g. Nail)

 

The light is a useful tool for detecting a flat in advance!

Don't drive with it on, and always take what salesmen with a grain of salt. :suspicion:

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