Bruce Titus Automotive Group is one of the largest and most respected dealer groups in the South Sound. Our dealerships include Olympia Nissan, Olympia Chrysler, Olympia Jeep, Olympia Mitsubishi, Tacoma Subaru and Port Orchard Ford. Bruce Titus Automotive Group serves Tacoma, Puyallup, Lakewood Gig Harbor, Bremerton, Key Peninsula, Belfair Lacey, Centralia, Chehalis, Graham, Shelton, Thurston, Pierce, Lewis and Grays Harbor County.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Roadside emergency kit: What to carry with you in your Car
Roadside emergency kit: What to carry with you
A few basic items can help you get back on the road quicker
A roadside emergency can happen at any time, whether your car is new or old. A range of problems can cause it, from a tire failure or mechanical breakdown to running out of fuel. At best, it's an annoyance; at worst, it can compromise your safety. Being prepared with a basic emergency kit can increase your safety, reduce stress, and help you get back on the road faster.
Even if you have roadside-assistance coverage or an automobile-club membership with roadside assistance, you usually need access to a phone in order to contact them and you may have to wait on the side of the road for an hour or more before help arrives. That's why we recommend that drivers carry certain items in their vehicle, even if it only gets used for everyday, around-town driving. This basic kit can be supplemented with additional items if you go on a long-distance trip or have to deal with winter weather conditions.
It's also important to make periodic checks on the equipment to ensure it's in working order—that the spare tire is properly inflated, batteries are not discharged, first-aid supplies are current, water is fresh, and food is dry. In addition, be familiar with how each tool works, from the cellular phone to the jack, before you need to use it in an emergency.
Basic kit: This kit is intended to aid you in getting help, signaling your car's presence to other motorists, and tackling simple challenges.
First-aid kit - Choose one that allows you to treat a range of problems, from small cuts or burns to ones that require major bandaging. We also suggest you get familiar with how to use the kit before you need to.
Warning light, hazard triangle, or flares
Tire gauge - This should be used on a monthly basis to check the inflation pressure in all four tires and the spare tire. Because the ambient temperature affects tire pressure, it's also advisable to check the pressure after a significant change in temperature. See our latest Ratings and buying advice on tire pressure gauges.
Jack and lug wrench
Foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and plug kit - For minor punctures, a foam tire sealant can get your vehicle back on the road quickly. Only use it in an emergency, however, as many tire shops will refuse to repair the tire because of the sticky residue these sealants leave inside it. Be sure to choose a sealant that's labeled as non-flammable, and don't consider this a permanent fix. A portable DC-powered air compressor can also be used to inflate a tire--and is especially handy for one that suffers from a slow leak. To fix a puncture, however, you need to have it professionally repaired.
Spare fuses - If you experience an electrical problem, your first check should be for a burned-out fuse. These are easy to check and replace by referring to your owner's manual. Keep an assortment on hand of the proper type for your vehicle.
Jumper cables or a portable battery booster - Jumper cables are easy to use as long as you have a second car available to provide a jump. Refer to your owner's manual for instructions. A portable battery booster eliminates the need for a second car.
Gloves, hand cleaner, and clean rags
Auto-club card or roadside-assistance number
Disposable flash camera
$20 in small bills and change
Pen and pad of paper
Additional items for long-distance driving:
For long trips, especially those through remote areas, add these items to your basic emergency kit.
Basic tools - This includes a set of socket and open-end wrenches, a multi-tip screwdriver, and pliers. This should be enough to perform simple jobs such as changing a lightbulb, tightening battery cables, and so on. Even if you don't know what to do, a Good Samaritan will still need something to work with.
Coolant hose repair kit and tape - A leaking coolant hose can sideline your vehicle quickly and possibly cause engine damage from overheating. Often, a leaking hose is a simple fix if you have the right items. They can be bought at any major auto-parts store.
Extra clothes and small tarpaulin - Even if all you do is change a tire, these items can help keep your regular clothes clean.
Water and nonperishable emergency food - Bring enough food and water to sustain you and any passengers for at least a meal, longer for remote areas or in extreme hot/cold regions.
CB radio - if your route will take you into an area where cellular service is spotty, consider a portable or in-car CB radio.
GPS navigation system
Additional items for winter driving: For the cold, wet conditions of winter, you may need additional items in your emergency kit, especially if you travel in remote areas or in severe conditions.
Tire chains and tow strap
Blanket and winter hat
Chemical hand warmers - These small, inexpensive packets are available at ski shops and sporting-goods stores.
Small folding shovel - If you get stuck in snow, this can be a vital tool. A folding camping-style shovel will require more digging effort than a longer-handled shovel, but is more convenient to store in the vehicle.
Bag of cat litter - This can help provide some traction on an especially slick road surface.