Well, it's summer road trip season.
You know what that means.
You'll actually do driving beyond the HOV lane and go beyond Costco on a trip or two.
But when you do that, are you ready when things go wrong?
And maybe you're outside of cellular and AAA card range?
Let's find out how to stock your trunk so you can take care of yourself.
Now let's face it for the pragmatist a lot of this may be kind of elementary but I'm going to cover all of the bases.
And for the karmists, this might mean you go to all this effort so nothing ever happens.
Let's start with the most basic thing that everyone thinks of first, the jumper cable.
I find these little low gauge guys actually work quite well even for the Crown Vic.
Now the downside of jumper cables is of course, finding someone to connect to on the other end!
A friendly stranger, if you're out in the middle of nowhere, there ain't no friendly stranger This little guy, which doesn't weigh much, has enough charge to jump start a car, even with a big V8 or a diesel.
It's got its own built-in jumper clamps here.
The downside here is you've gotta remember to charge it.
I would recommend every six months giving it a research and then put it back in your trunk.
Okay, the next [UNKNOWN] think about a lot is roadside hazard indicators.
This is the old school right here.
The flare, smoky, bright, kinda fun, kinda scary to some people.
So you're not actually gonna find a lot of these sold anymore.
What you do find a lot more of, and I find these fussy and annoying, are these kind of European style Road triangles that you put up and then you've got these little legs if the damn thing even stays together.
And you put these out on the road and they are merely reflective.
There's no flame or no light there obviously.
Now the newer technology that I really love are these little LED pucks.
You can put these things flat on the road, you can stand them up cuz they have these kind of ridges.
Now, at night, these are really bright.
And unlike flares, they're not used up.
Unlike triangles, they're not hard to set up.
The downside is, of course, batteries yet again.
You gotta stay on top of these.
A fire extinguisher.
You also don't see cars need one of these as often as you did a few decades ago.
But as recently as late 2017, BMW recalled over a million cars for fire risk.
You'll want a dry chemical extinguisher rated A, B, and C to cover any likely car fire source.
If you happen to drive a vintage performance car with magnesium wheels Add the letter D, that's not most of you.
Okay, we're kinda going old school now, but you may as well carry a quart of oil.
To be honest, in this day and age, if you drive a late model car, and you need a quart of oil this badly, you probably need a tow and a new engine.
But, what the hell, put a quart in there, even though you probably need five to limp to the gas station.
And that kinda goes for coolant, too.
I'm on the fence on this.
Your car will tell you if you need this.
And again, if you do, you've got bigger problems than needing this.
But some people still carry some coolant around because when an engine needs coolant, it's the difference between it getting you somewhere and not.
Now let's talk about first aid kits.
A lot of people don't carry one or a lot of folks have some little shabby one they got for free at some office security fair when they were teaching you CPR.
Get a good first aid kit.
Look at this beauty.
This comes out of a 1980 Mercedes.
This is a real first aid kit.
You can actually do open heart surgery with this.
And it's got a cyanide pill.
This is all before the wall came down.
Now, if your car doesn't come with a great kit like this don't be a cheapskate.
Go buy a good one.
Spend like $25 and and you'll get a great first aid kit.
What it may be missing, and I don't want to be too gory here, is a tourniquet.
This isn't a tourniquet.
THis is one of those exercise bands you used for a week and then you threw it in the back of your drawer.
These are great tourniquets.
Cut off the handles of this guy and you get a n excellent strong basically piece of surgical rubber tubing.
Now this may sound morbid and you'll probably never need this.
But when you do, you do and you need it now.
So you may as well throw it in the trunk.
The rest of the year or life, this is actually handy for tying things down.
Okay, next step, have a good blanket in the car.
And I'm not talking about a household blanket with appliques of cats on it although I'd love that.
But this is one that's really thermally efficient and doesn't take up too much room.
But you're gonna need this if you get stranded for a lengthy time in cold weather.
It gets very cold in you car very quickly unless you run the engine and the heater And that uses the gas you may need to get out of trouble in the same situation.
So I would try to go blanket instead of running the cars heater and also risking some fume issues.
How about a radio, FRS or GMRS.
There is no national accepted emergency monitoring channel on these like there used to be on CB.
So what I would do is make sure you get one that has a scan feature, know how to use it, and if you get in trouble Set it to scan until you find someone on an active channel, and then you can talk to them and see if they can help you.
Bonus points, these are also good for club drives.
If you're into a car club or something, always great to have a GMRS radio because everyone tends to use one.
Bonus points, if you want to get your ham ticket, become a ham licensee, you can use repeaters and really get out and reach somebody for sure.
Flashlight No kidding.
This probably should have been number one in my story.
Nothing more important.
And get a real flashlight.
A good quality one.
Not some junk they gave you at a trade show or ComiCon or something.
LED base because they tend to be very stingy on whatever battery they use.
You can also get some different lighting levels and a flashing ability I like to have mine mounted in the car, in a cradle, as a trickle.
Some folks see that as overkill, but I'm always gonna have a charged flashlight, instead of having to wonder, do I have batteries?
Are they fresh or did they get worn out through leakage?
Okay let's talk about spare tires, now first of all, you gotta look around your trunk and see if you even have one, like the Crown Vic does, this is getting kinda rare.
AAA tells us that now about 30% of cars do not have a traditional spare tire and wheel, up from only 5% that has skewed one of these a few years ago.
Getting rid of these is the big trend.
What you'll have instead then is either run flat tires on your car and there's nothing to change They supposedly run flat or you'll have a sealant kit.
It'll be a pump and some gunk you squirt in there and then pump the tire back up with this little compressor.
And while we're talking tires, a tire pressure gauge.
Now I know you've resisted having or using one of these Because keeping your tires at the right pressure is kind of like flossing.
But this is really important when you're putting a new tire on or fixing a flat to pump it from zero to the right pressure to make sure your survivability is at it's optimal.
So now you've got a real reason to get one.
and get a good one by the way.
Now, when you're dealing with tires and flats, your hands are going to get filthy.
I don't know what it is but the grime on wheels is not like any other grime found on Earth.
It never comes off your hands, so avoid it in the first place- get yourself a nice box of these nitrile gloves about ten bucks, they're great for all kinds of stuff like checking your oil --or changing up a tire, or any other dirty, gross thing you have to do while you're out there on the road, and going along with that, get some towels, not the ones you have in the kitchen.
Get these shop towels, the blue paper shop towels.
These are really good, they're like cloth.
They're good for automotive-grade things while you're out and about.
Grab one of these superlight, high-visibility windbreakers.
They take almost no space when they're rolled up.
Trust me, you'll thank me when you're out replacing a tire on the driver's side, in traffic, in the rain.
Duct tape, and get some good duct tape.
Not that cheap stuff you get down at the drug store.
Some of them are like, stupid tough and super sticky.
This is great if you're stupid enough to park a car in San Francisco.
This is a great way to temporarily reinforce the broken window you're going to get.
Pen and paper, I can't tell you how often people say, yacks I don't have a pen and paper, when you really need one.
Write down a licence, do an accident report.
What have you?
Keep this available.
Don't keep it in your glove box because that's where your gonna use it and lose it.
Keep this one in your emergency kit.
And finally, this one is actually sorta fun.
Go grocery shopping and put a little bit of hydration and nutrition in some kinda box in the back.
In case you get into a long-term jam.
Now, whatever you buy and put back there is gonna be super gross after living in your trunk for years, but it's better than being stuck out in the desert for three days and looking at your kids and thinking they look pretty tasty.
Okay, this is a take it or leave it.
You've got to make your own call.
A tool kit.
I like carrying them in a tool roll because, once you put them in one of these roll-up bags, they can fit just about anywhere.
Screwdrivers, wrenches, all kinds of things to fall out.
If you look at this and don't know what it is, then you don't need it.
But the kindly stranger who helps you may know how to use these things.
Top 5 ways to spend your time in a self-driving car
Blinding headlights: See why high-tech headlights seem too bright
Are the fog lights on your car really worth it?
How cars may let 5G shine the most
See how lidar works and why it's coming to your next car
Why your car disables destination entry when driving
See the newest innovations coming to the cabin of your car
How to break in your new car's engine
Too much oil in your engine. Now what?
Top 5 ways your kid knows you're a hypocritical driver