Car emergency tool kit 'must haves'

Have you got an emergency tool kit in your car? Here are some things you might consider adding.

Whether you're using your car to explore the outback or commute to the gym, it's important to make sure that you're prepared for a variety of situations. You may not always need just the obvious stuff either, like tools and spare tyres – you might want to consider an emergency kit for your car. This can include anything from road maps, flashlights and a tyre jack to things like blankets, spare water and a roll of duct tape. As an insurer, we see lots of different scenarios where an emergency tool kit in your car could be the difference between hours spent stranded in the bush, to getting home on time for dinner. So, let's take a look at what you could include:

1. The user manual for your car

This seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of the time people will remove the user manual from their car to refer to it prior to work being done or to check servicing intervals. Keep this in your car, as it can be used to help troubleshoot problems, understand the specifics of your vehicle and to get information on how to replace tyres, refill fluids and inspect certain aspects if there is a problem with your vehicle.

2. First aid kit

It's surprising how many car owners don't have a first aid kit in their vehicle. First aid kits can be bought at a variety of stores, and include handy items like gauze, pain killers, antiseptic wipes, band aids, bandages and more. They might often also have a guide on how to use the items in the kit, and can be used for many different issues, from small cuts and abrasions to large wounds or incident response - if you have the appropriate training to provide first aid.

3. Spare tyre

Whilst most cars will either include a spare tyre or have had space for one, it's important to note that making sure you have a spare tyre at all times can be crucial to getting back on the road quickly in some circumstances. Make sure you regularly check your spare tyre for punctures, tyre pressure and condition.

4. Road maps

Technology can be fantastic… until it doesn't work. A lot of the time, breakdowns or other incidents occur in the worst possible locations that sometimes don't have signal for you to use your phone. This includes your maps applications on your smartphones, and sometimes your GPS. Just make sure you follow the road rules for using technology while on the road. It can be handy to have physical road maps of your locations, if possible, to ensure you can find your way home if you get lost in this situation.

5. Car fire extinguisher

In the event that you are on the road and a fire starts, - being properly equipped with both the knowledge of how to use it and the equipment (eg, a fire extinguisher) to put out a potential fire could not only save your life but the lives of those around you. Obtaining and storing a fire extinguisher in your car can be a good precautionary measure, and hopefully you never need to use it.

6. Car escape tools

Surprisingly, car escape tools are relatively cheap and compact nowadays. They include things like a seatbelt cutter and window breaker tools to make sure that in the event of an accident, such as being submerged in water, you can make a quick and efficient escape. These can easily be bought online.

7. Small tool kit

Whether you're a tool collector, or you're not really sure what you'll need, there is a variety of options available for purchase from most automotive stores. These small tool kits are fairly compact, meaning you could easily store these under your seat, in the boot or in the glovebox. Regardless of where you keep it, these may be a good idea to have on hand for any situation.

8. Umbrella

An umbrella may not be the first thing on your 'emergency' kit list, but the last thing you'd need is to get caught in a major downpour when you're trying to change a tyre.Not only can it make you miserable, as you'll be cold and wet with minimal reprieve, but it could make things dangerous in the event of needing to work on your car. Keeping an umbrella handy might never be a bad idea!

9. Water

Whether you use it to drink, or you keep it on hand to fill up your car's windscreen wiper fluid - it's never a bad idea to keep water on hand. Store some in your boot, just in case!

10. Jumper leads

One of the most annoying issues to have with your car is a flat battery. Perhaps you forgot to turn your headlights off when it was parked overnight, or your battery was simply getting old. Jumper leads are probably one of the best items you can keep in your car. Make sure you read your car manual carefully to work out how to use them properly*!

*Note: some modern cars may not be able to be jump started - you'll need to refer to Step 1 where you read your car manual to see what's advised!

11. Car fluids

Oil and coolant are some of the most important parts for keeping your car on the road. Make sure you check and top up your oil and coolant regularly. Not having enough of these fluids in your car can cause engine damage.

12. Contents and storage

Don't forget that whilst it's great to have all of these items, and others, stored in your car – it's just as important to make sure you are storing them both correctly, and in a concealed way. This will help to deter theft or damage to your items, such as deterioration to rubbers or materials on hot days.

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