Even with the high reliability of modern cars, there are still plenty of tools that could really save you should a breakdown every occur. Since every car has thousands upon thousands of things that can go wrong with it, making sure you have all the right tools is as important as ever, especially since things always seem to go wrong at the worst possible times. Take a look at my 7 top tools that everyone should have in their car.
1. Jumper Cables
Finding yourself stuck out on the road somewhere with a flat battery is one of those nightmare situations. Though more than likely you will be parked in a safe place when it happens, knowing that your car is going nowhere is really frustrating. This is where a good set of jumper cables is invaluable. Providing you can find a good Samaritan to let you jump off their car, you can literally be away in minutes. When buying a set, you should take care to choose heavy gauge cables with high quality spring loaded clamps.
2. Portable Car Battery Charger
Alternatively, for those of you who find yourself with a dead battery, the best solution provided you are not in a hurry, is to charge it using a portable charger. These portable chargers are really lightweight and will ensure that your battery is fully charged in only a few hours. One of the problem of using jump cables is that should your car have a defective alternator or a completely dead battery, the moment you stop it again you are back to square one with a car that won’t start. A portable battery charger will ensure your battery is kept topped up and healthy.
3. Socket & Screwdriver Set
Though you might not relish the idea of having to make repairs when you are out and about, the likelihood is that one day you might possibly have to. Cars undergo some serious stresses and strains as the miles clock by, so there is a big chance that something is going to work itself loose eventually.
You could end up with anything from a loose battery terminal, a slipped hose clamp or even seat bolts coming undone. Even if you are someone who doesn’t know the first thing about these kinds of things, it is worth having a good toolkit that has lots of different sized bit ends in your car so that you can ask the help of someone nearby.
4. Tire Pressure Gauge
Making sure that your tires are kept at the correct pressure will not only better ensure your own safety, but will also save you money on your fuel economy at the same time. Tires that are not properly inflated can increase your fuel consumption by up to 15%, which for some regular drivers is quite a hefty sum of money.
To prevent this, you should get a good quality pressure gauge for your tires. Take care to make sure that it is accurate and try to buy a dial-faced gauge rather a cheaper stick-type design. You check your tires at least once a week and remember to do it during ambient temperature times of the day because if you do it at either the hottest or coldest part of the day you will get a poor reading. This is because pressure is effected by temperature, so you don’t want to make the mistake of under-filling or overfilling your tires, especially as this can result in a deadly blowout.
5. Tire Inflator/Sealer
You should only use a tire inflator in an emergency, when, for example, you find yourself without a spare tire. Though you should always regularly check the temperature of your spare tire, there is always the chance you will one day pull it out only to discover it is flat. It is also possible that you end up in the middle of nowhere with two flat tires and have no way to reach help. At these times a tire inflator is a lifesaver.
These tire inflators inject an air / sealer foam into the wheel that fills the tire up while blocking the hole. This is only a temporary solution, so you will need to get the tire repaired at the nearest garage. You might find the garage charging you a little more to clean up the tire though as these inflators do leave behind quite a mess.
6. Spare Engine Oil
This one is a no brainer. There are numerous reasons why you could find yourself out and about and in need of having to top up the engine oil. Many people simply rely on their engine oil light to warn them of low oil levels rather than regularly checking it by hand. Should your car have a leaky seal, you will also get caught out, so to make sure you can keep your car engine safe, never leave home without some spare engine oil.
A flashlight is an indispensable tool that you should always have in your car. Strip flashlights are particularly good as they illuminate large areas, so are excellent for when you find yourself searching for problems under the hood. You will also find them coming in handy when you are searching around inside the car to find dropped rings and small items that the cars internal light is simply not bright enough to let you see.