Is your vehicle properly stocked to help you deal with a breakdown? Read our tips on what things you should always have in your car, truck, or SUV.
It’s the one thing all motorists dread but eventually we all deal with: your car unexpectedly breaking down at the side of the road. The question is, are you prepared to handle that situation when it happens?
Being adequately prepared by having a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle for when a breakdown occurs is not only smart, it can possibly save your life when driving through remote rural areas or extreme weather conditions.
This isn’t an exhaustive list but make sure your roadside emergency kit contains these 10 essential items:
1. A tire changing kit. This might seem obvious but it’s surprising how many folks are ill-prepared to deal with a flat tire. Your tire changing kit should include an inflated spare tire, a tire iron or lug wrench, jack, a can of WD-40, and a pair of gloves.
2. A first aid kit. Whether you’re first aid and CPR certified or not (hopefully you are), it’s critical to have a first aid kit readily available in your car. According to the Canadian Red Cross, and beyond bandages, gauze pads, non-latex gloves, and adhesive tape, your portable first aid kit should contain a number of additional items including a roll of quarters, a seatbelt cutter or sharp utility knife, safety pins, and antiseptic wipes.
3. Booster or jumper cables. A handy tool to have whether you’re giving someone else’s car battery a boost or if your own car battery is low on juice. Using jumper cables improperly can be dangerous so do it properly. Both cars should be turned off. Clamp the red cable to the stalled vehicle’s positive battery terminal (“+”) and then the other end of the red cable to the jumper car’s positive battery terminal. Now attach the black cable to the stalled vehicle’s negative battery terminal (“—”) and the other end of the black cable to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn’t near the battery. Start the working vehicle and wait a couple of minutes. Now attempt to start the stalled car. Afterward, remove the black cable from the stalled vehicle, then the other end of the black cable from the car giving the boost. Now remove the red cable from the booster car followed by the other end of the red cable from the once-stalled vehicle.
4. A flashlight and extra batteries. You’ll be grateful to have a working flashlight and additional batteries on-hand if you’re caught roadside in the dead of night.
5. Matches and a candle set in a coffee can. Believe it or not, this is an effective way to prevent yourself from freezing to death if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere during the wintertime.
6. A jug of antifreeze windshield washer fluid. Another important item to keep in your trunk, especially in the wintertime.
7. A survival blanket. If your vehicle breaks down during the winter or at night, it’s neither wise to keep the engine running for hours to stay warm, nor might it be possible. A waterproof Mylar survival blanket reduces heat loss in a person’s body.
8. Bottles of water and energy bars. Have a couple of plastic bottles of water stored in your vehicle (change the water every six months) and a few nonperishable food items such as protein or energy bars to prevent dehydration and reduce hunger. Make sure the plastic bottles you use can withstand freezing temperatures.
9. Self-igniting road flares. Keep a package of self-igniting road flares in your trunk. They burn for up to 15 minutes, can be seen with the naked eye from a distance, and will help you alert other approaching drivers of your presence at the side of the road.
10. An ice scraper. This is Canada. No car driving in this country should be without a windshield ice scraper.
If you are in Weston near the Humber River, or driving on Black Creek Drive south of Highway 401 and are experiencing transmission troubles or suspect you are, call us now at 416-249-1300, or visit us at 1677 Jane Street in North York. Stranded roadside because of a breakdown? Our tow truck is standing by. Our courteous team of professionals understand how upsetting a failing transmission can be; we know how to fix it, and get your car back on the road again fast.