Emergency Tool Kit
by Pat Goss
Stuff happens when you’re dealing with automobiles and you have to be prepared for the inevitable. Some things that you should always have in the car, an assortment of fuses, but because there are a lot of different types, make sure that what you buy actually fits your car. Also, to tie up those pieces that fall off, some mechanic’s wire is a good idea, as is plastic electrical tape to tape things together.
And speaking of tape, how about the good old fashioned duct tape? It can be used for 1,001 different things, but be sure that if you have to tape something to the outside of the car, you don’t leave it on there one second longer than necessary because it can destroy the paint. All right, a hose bandage, which is essentially a tape. This will repair a broken radiator or a heater hose.
All right, some tools that you need: a multi-tip screwdriver, universal pliers, lineman’s pliers to cut wire and to twist wire, a utility knife—that’s important. Remember that last time that a plastic bag got wrapped up in the drive axle? Well, you can cut it off with a utility knife. A plastic flashlight very important not metal, because metal rusts and corrodes.
And you want some gloves to go along with all of this because stuff on cars is either hot or it’s sharp, so you don’t want to get cut or burned. And you need something to put it in, too, and you don’t want to use metal. You want to use canvas or plastic, again so it won’t rust or corrode.
Well, a couple of other things that you really need. Here is something important. These are flares. These are the lighted type that you scratch and they burn. Well, they burn out in 15 to 20 minutes, so you might want to consider something like this. This has magnets that attach it to the back of the car. It can be seen from quite a distance, and of course it doesn’t burn out.
A camera? Well, you should always have a camera. If you have an accident, even if it’s a fender bender, remember the story changes dramatically after the fact, and if you have pictures, it can’t change as easily.
And here’s something. This is an emergency fan belt, but if you buy one of these, make sure that it fits your car. It may not, because a lot of cars these days have serpentine belts that can’t use these, so it wouldn’t do you any good.
And if you’re an accomplished as far as tools are concerned, a set of sockets and a ratchet like this could be very beneficial, but look for something that is in a case where they don’t fall out. That can be a real mess when you’re outside the highway, you know, trying to sort through the tools that are scattered all over the place.
If you have a question or comment, write to me. The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.