Vehicle Emergency Kits are a necessity

One thing we can all do is learn from the mistakes of others.  Well this morning my son was enroute towing a small two-wheeled cargo trailer to a second home in another state.  The trailer was recently purchased and was brand new.  Well out in the middle of nowhere he blows a tire on the trailer.  Now he is an individual that normally carries a vehicle emergency kit containing everything under the sun.

After stopping, he goes to change the tire and discovers he does not have a wrench that fits the lug nuts on the trailer. Now he is a good mechanic, and has a complete auto shop and has built and restored older vehicles. After trying to call a tow truck and not having much luck, he finally finds an old socket that will fit and using a pipe wrench manages to change tires.

As you can imagine I had a good laugh at his expense and he learned something, just as I did a couple of years ago Stupid Mistakes and Jumper Cables.  From now on, he will always check to make sure he has all the wrenches he needs to change tires on whatever he is towing.

This got me to thinking about what you should always carry in your car.

Your Vehicle Emergency Kit should contain the following items.

  • 12-foot jumper cables
  • Four 15-minute roadside flares, minimum
  • Two quarts of oil, minimum
  • Gallon of antifreeze
  • Extra fuses
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Flat head and Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Pliers and wire cutters
  • Vise Grips
  • Assorted wrenches
  • Tire inflator (such as a Fix-A-Flat)
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Rags
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Roll of electrical tape
  • Assorted cable ties.
  • Small roll of baling wire
  • Jack
  • Lug wrenches
  • Small shovel or entrenching tool
  • A good knife
  • Spare tires, full size
  • Gloves
  • Fire extinguisher,

Now this is by no means a complete vehicle emergency kit, it only covers the vehicle, not what you need for your family.  It doesn’t cover first aid, food, water and personal items.  Here are links to another article on this subject What do you Carry in Your Vehicle? and one on get home bags Get Home Bag.

In the near future, I will write an update on get home bags, it seems that with new experiences and knowledge, the contents change.  Your bag should never just be something that you put in the car and forget.  Use it and improve it.


3 thoughts on “Vehicle Emergency Kits are a necessity”

  1. Due to rust issues here in the northeast I would always carry a 3′ section of high pressure hose and several clamps. This way, if I blow a brake line, I can temporarily fix it and get back on the road. That said, brake fluid would be good too. Very informative article. Thanks!

  2. You should also carry a blanket or sleeping bag, salt or kitty litter to get unstuck from snow/ice with, fix a flat, upgraded tools to change a flat (the crappy jack and tie iron the manufacturer gives you suck), and a tow strap.

    And what about a get home bag?

  3. If you have a Harbor Freight (or similar) “cheap” tool store nearby, the purchase of a two foot, 1/2 inch breaker bar, with a heavy duty socket for the correct lug nut size, will cost less than $10. They are much easier to operate than whatever was supplied with the vehicle. I have since set up one for each of my vehicles and trailers.
    A couple of scrap pieces of 2X6 can also be stashed to level your jack and/or provide a firm surface should you need to operate the jack on dirt or a “soft shoulder”

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