If your vehicle could go shopping, this is what it would buy

According to the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, Americans drove more miles in 2015 than they had in all other previous years since the automobile was invented. From 2015 onwards, American roadways have gotten busier each year.

Americans spend a lot of time in vehicles. The AAA reports that we spend 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year! That’s equal to seven 40-hour weeks at the office! With all the time we spend on the road, it’s a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected. We’ve compiled a list of items to help you do just that. Of course not everyone is going to have room in their vehicles for all of these items, so we’ll start off with the most important first.

Emergency Repairs

Let’s start off our list with the things you should have on hand for the most common of roadside emergencies – flat tires, dead batteries and running out of gas.

1.     Spare tire.

2.     Tire iron/lug wrench.

3.     Jack and jack stands.

4.     WD-40.

5.     Tire sealant (a popular brand is Fix-A-Flat). Please note, you cannot use Fix-A-Flat on certain tires (those types of tires, called Run-flats, will be on high-end sportscars and/or luxury cars).

6.     Jumper cables.

7.     Your owner’s manual (if you haven’t opened yours, please do – you’ll find lots of great info in it!)

8.     Tire pressure gauge.

9.     Duct tape.

10.  Gas can.

11.  Flares or reflective markers.

Seasonal Needs

In the winter, becoming stranded is not only more likely to happen due to inclement weather, but it is potentially more dangerous due to the low temperatures. Summer roadside emergencies are usually caused by heat affecting your vehicle’s performance. If space is an issue in your vehicle, you can swap out your summer and winter emergency kits as seasons change.

            Winter essentials:

1.     Windshield wiper fluid (if you’re from the Midwest you know how opaque your windshield gets after being covered with road salt and dirty snow.)

2.     Gloves.

3.     Extra coat.

4.     Blanket.

5.     Snow shovel.

6.     Traction helpers (you can use floor mats or kitty litter for this!)

7.     Ice scraper/snow brush.

8.     Snow boots or walking shoes.

Summer essentials:

1.     Windshield cover to help deflect heat build-up in the interior.

2.     Sunscreen (if you’re stranded and have to walk, no sense in risking getting burnt).

3.     Bottled water.

4.     Sunglasses.

5.     Engine coolant.

6.     Transmission fluid.

7.     Oil.

8.     Brake fluid.

Other Important Items

Emergencies are always stressful. Having these other items on hand can help improve safety or reduce the amount of stress experienced during an emergency.

1.     Work gloves that can withstand grease, oil and heat.

2.     Fire extinguisher.

3.     Flashlight.

4.     Swiss Army knife.

5.     Tool kit with basic tools such as wrenches, screwdrivers, sockets, a ratchet, pliers, etc.

6.     Towing straps.

Personal safety

If you’re stranded, you’ll want to ensure that you have the items on hand to keep you and your family safe.

1.     First-aid kit.

2.     Non-perishable food that’s easy to open and requires no cooking (items like granola bars are perfect).

3.     Bottled water.

4.     Small or medium size trash bags (kids often get car sick…no one wants to clean that up).

5.     Baby wipes.

6.     If traveling with pets, a water bowl and food bowl along with dry kibble.

7.     Hand sanitizer.

Because we’re techies

Like it or not, we live in the information age. We rely on technology to help us complete so many different tasks. Because life doesn’t stop even when our cars do, here’s a list of some items to help make road trips a little easier.

1.     Extra phone charging cable.

2.     Battery backup for your phone.

3.     Solar phone charger.

4.     Cigarette lighter power inverter (Haven’t seen these? They plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter to turn it into an AC outlet.)

If you have the space

If you have the space to store them, here are some other items we recommend to have stored in your car “just in case”.

1.     Paper towels.

2.     Tissues.

3.     Pen and paper.

4.     Umbrella.

5.     Spare change and a few dollar bills (who knows when you might end up at a toll booth or need to pay for parking).

6.     An old towel (great for rescuing wet, runaway pets or making cleanup easy after bringing home potted plants in your vehicle!)

7.     Road maps (your smart phone may encounter an area without reception!)

8.     A change of clothes.

What do you think? Are we missing any items? Which items do you always have on hand in your vehicle?


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