Handy Things to Keep in Your Car!
It’s always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected when you are in your car. A mechanical breakdown or even a flat tire can keep you stranded on the side of the road for some time. This can become an emergency if you are in a remote area without assistance available. Here are some items you should consider keeping in your new or used car in the event you have any future problems. They will at the least help you, and in some cases may save your life.
1. Jumper cables
If your battery dies and you car won’t start, and another driver stops to help, you can restart your car by getting power from the other vehicle with jumper cables. Learn how to use them before you need them; your car’s owners manual should describe the proper procedure for hooking them up. Doing it wrong can create sparks near your battery which can be dangerous. Follow the instructions to be safe.
2. Cleaning cloths or baby wipes
Whether you need to clean up a spill at some point, or you need to clean your hands after changing a tire, having some cleaning cloths or baby wipes will help. The wipes are useful because they are pre-moistened and no additional water is needed.
Water is useful in many ways. During hot weather trips, you will need water if your car breaks down and you are waiting for assistance. If your cooling system begins to leak, adding water will temporarily allow you to drive to a vice garage. Make sure to replace your water supply in the car periodically because plastic bottles can leach chemicals into the water over time.
This may not be a critical item for local trips, but you should have some food items in the car anytime you take a trip away from your home area. If you get stuck you will need to eat eventually, so have some snacks which will survive in a hot or cold car for a while. Dried fruit, nuts and other non-perishables without a lot of sugar are the preferred choices.
5. Clothing and blankets
If you live in an area where the day to night temperatures can significantly change from high to low, having extra warm clothes and a couple of blankets can make the difference between being cold or comfortable. This is also important if you have to work outside the car in the rain or snow. You will want dry clothes when you get back in the car.
6. Sand or cat litter
This item is more important if you are driving in areas of snow or muddy roads. If you get stuck, placing sand or cat litter under the tires can help you regain traction. If you keep cat litter in the car, switch it for a new bag from time to time as it can and will absorb moisture and lose effectiveness.
7. First aid kit
Perhaps this should have been item number one, but regardless always have a first aid kit in your car. From simple scrapes to more serious wounds, having a first aid kit can make a big difference.
8. Spare sunglasses and perhaps glasses
Trying to see in bright sunlight or snow glare can be difficult without good sunglasses. If you forget yours, or they get broken on a trip without a store nearby, it can be useful to have a spare set in the car. It also helps to carry a spare set of glasses for you and the kids if they wear them for the same reason. If you can’t see well to drive without your glasses, keep a second pair handy.
9. Phone chargers
We all depend on our mobile phones, and having one die from a low battery when you need it most can make life difficult if you are looking for help. Keep a charger in the car for at least one phone in your group.
10. Storage bags and fire starters
Plastic bags can have many uses on a road trip. Keep trash secured in one bag. A garbage bag can act as a raincoat if you have to go outside the car in bad weather. Zip-locking plastic bags are great if a passenger gets car sick. If you open snacks, you will need a couple of bags to keep uneaten foods fresh for later.
Fire starters are more important if you travel in remote areas. If you need to spend the night you will need to be able to start a fire to keep warm or cook food. During the day, a smoky fire can be a useful signaling device if you are stranded in a remote area where aircraft may be used to search for you.
You can probably think of other items that will come in handy. Always fill your gas tank before a trip, because the gas in your tank can keep you alive later if you are stranded in a snow storm or other severe weather. If traveling to remote areas, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to get there. Agree that you will call them when you arrive. If you don’t they can notify authorities who will have a better idea where you are stranded. This can save time and potentially your life.
If you have any questions whether your Toyota is in top running condition before your next trip or vacation, come by Doral Toyota and let us do a checkup. We can describe any Car service issues you need before you leave. And come visit us at Doral Toyota when you are ready to own one of our fine Toyota vehicles.