Friday, August 7, 2015

Useful Car Additions

& is used with permission.
Earlier in the week I was asked by a friend to help his wife create an "Oh s#!t" kit for her car. I was of course quite happy to help, and it got me to thinking about what things I carry in my car.

Most car survival items have already been covered quite expertly by Lokidude in his Car Survival posts. But as always, there are some items which get overlooked, or which bear repeating.

The Obligatory Items
  • Gas can
  • Quart of oil
  • Jumper cables
  • Spare fuses in various sizes and amperages
  • Spare tire
  • Car jack
  • 4-way lug wrench

Advanced Items
  • Whatever repair tools you know how to use (wrenches, sockets, etc)
  • Bottles of windshield, transmission & radiator fluid
  • Tow straps (assuming you have a car with a tow hitch)
  • Battery charger
  • Air compressor

But here are some things you might not have thought of... 
  • Siphon Pump.  This useful thing isn't just good for siphoning gas out of cars in the event you find yourself stuck in a zombie movie; it's also good for pumping water into containers or out of places (like a leaking boat). Some even have attachments that allow you to inflate things, like an air mattress or a bicycle tire.  However, be advised that many (most?) of these are cheap junk that require a lot of effort for meager results, so shop wisely. The Pennzoil fluid transfer pump is the one I like the most. 
  • Funnel. Hey, you need to put that fluid you're siphoning somewhere, right? I prefer the kind that's made of silicone and collapsible, but others swear by the large solid plastic style. Use whichever you like better. 
  • Exit tool. Ideally you want one which is both a seat belt cutter (in case you can't reach your pocket knife) and a glass breaker. LifeHammers are very popular, but I don't like them because they assume you have the ability to swing them.. which might not be true if you have broken bones, or your car is full of water. I like the Res-Q-Me tool:  it has an automatic glass-breaking punch that requires little effort to use, and can be affixed to your key chain or the car head-rest, making it easy to find after a wreck. Buy several and attach them in both places!
  • Clean socks and underwear in a waterproof bag.  Because not all "accidents" are car wrecks, you know? Also, cold wet feet from stepping in a puddle or mudhole really suck. 
  • Travel toiletries.  Sometimes you end up having to stay the night unexpectedly. These are really handy, really useful comfort items. 
  • An entire change of clothes. Nothing fancy, here: just put some comfy sweats or old jeans (maybe the ones that are getting a bit too raggedy?) and a t-shirt in a gym bag, along with some basic foot covers like old sneakers or a pair of crocs. Put your undies & sundries in here as well, and you have a complete change of clothes in an emergency!

Do you have something in your car that hasn't been listed? Leave a comment below!

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