By on March 2, 2018

trunk

 

K.P. writes:

Hi Sajeev,

It’s the time of year to start tossing out little-used items so we can get more to replace them. One place I’m looking at is the car. I recall my stash of trunk tools back in the dinosaur years while driving the kind of cars I could afford then:

  1. Duct tape for interior tears, dropped ceiling linings, fixing plastic over windows that dropped off tracks, etc
  2. Pack of “L’eggs” panty hose as temporary water pump belt
  3. Wire clothes hanger as spare exhaust pipe clamp or antenna
  4. Can of WD-40
  5. Long Craftsman slot screwdriver to pop off distributor cap, prying tires, etc
  6. Lug wrench and two-foot pipe as lever (also as protection device)
  7. Couple of flashlights with huge 6V batteries
  8. Visegrips as combination wrench, hammer, and spare window crank for when your little brother yanks the handles off
  9. Bottle radiator leak stop
  10. Tire repair kit with rubber plugs
  11. Blankets and food in winter (since without cell phones it could be a while until rescue)

It’s been years since I’ve thrown a belt or had a flat tire, which makes me think it’s time to update what I keep on hand in the car on cross-country trips. What’s prudent nowadays?

Sajeev answers:

Let’s assume you are no longer driving the unnamed vehicle referenced here, instead driving its modern counterpart: a clean sled with enough age/mileage for extended warranty exemption. Now some answers:

  1. KEEP: needed in a pinch. Will duct tape work on damaged, flapping bumper covers and lower chassis covers?
  2. TRASH: carry a spare serpentine belt.  Install a new one, trunk the old one?
  3. TRASH: considering external antennas are less common and exhaust systems last longer these days (even in the rust belt?)…
  4. KEEP: always a good idea if wrenching on a rusty undercarriage.
  5. KEEP: who knows what will need extra leverage at times!
  6. KEEP: many factory wrenches (collapsible ones) cannot hold a candle to a proper 4-pointed wrench with a leverage pipe.
  7. TRASH: time for cheap (or free with coupon) LED eye catchers from Harbor Freight.
  8. KEEP: window crank tool aside, I am down with such a multipurpose tool in one’s cargo area.
  9. TRASH: not worth clogging an older, weaker heater core to save a radiator.  Radiators are still easy(ish) to replace, heater cores are now buried deep inside complicated dashboards!
  10. KEEP: good idea, especially when a new set of tires are out of the budget. Or maybe a can of fix-a-flat?
  11. KEEP: cell phone reception is limited, still necessary in many parts of the country.

I will add a few items I keep in my vehicles:

  1. Phone charging cable(s) and a 12V cigarette lighter USB adapter if not so equipped, but not the leather-wrapped one.
  2. 1/2 Drive wrench for the belt tensioner to change a serpentine belt, or is that just an old Ford thing?
  3. 1-gallon gas jug. (Get a bigger one and fill it up if your travels go farther than mine.)
  4. Cheapy socket set, no worries if it gets stolen.
  5. Cheapy multipurpose tool, same idea as #4.
  6. Philips head screwdriver to match your blade screwdriver.
  7. Silicone repair tape for busted hoses.
  8. Jumper cables, preferably thicker gauge units.
  9. Hand towel, sometimes with pumice-based hand cleaner.

Now off to you, oh dear Best and Brightest.

[Image: Shutterstock user Multirole designer]

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79 Comments on “Piston Slap: Prudent Tool Packing or Junk in the Trunk?...”


  • avatar
    RHD

    Add a roll (or partial roll) of paper towels and a pair of gloves.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I think this depends on where you live/drive. I live in a decent sized city so I’m probably never more than 10 minutes from a gas station or a parking lot to pull into.

  • avatar
    ant

    isn’t it a good idea to keep a gallon (or whatever) of drinking water in the car?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I do. It can also go in the radiator if I find myself in such a need.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      If you plan on keeping distilled water for emergency radiator fills, that’s one thing, but if you plan on drinking it, I’d make sure to rotate it at least weekly. Those jugs can leak, too, so get one with a more secure closure.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Unopened water jugs last a lot longer than a week – the FDA considers them to have *indefinite* shelf life if properly bottled and unopened, though you might get some flavor in the water after a long period of storage.

        They only have a serious time limit once the seal’s broken.

  • avatar
    ajla

    1. Jumper cables
    2. 4-point lug wrench
    3. Tire plug kit
    4. A small wrench that fits the battery terminals
    5. Fire extinguisher
    6. Blanket
    7. Flashlight
    8. First aid kit

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      All good suggestions.

    • 0 avatar
      Heavymetal_Hippie

      I just bought a new 4Runner. I think I’m literally going to print out your list and take it to the auto parts store for a little shopping. Perfect.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Get a small battery-terminal powered air compressor and good tire gauge as well. Tire patch kit doesn’t help if you can’t put air back in the patched tire. Good for airing down a bit when on dirt roads as well.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Yep the battery-terminal based air compressors are nice little bits of kit, much better/safer bets than the ones that run off the cigarette lighter in the dash. I used mine to air up in the OBX two years now. Not the fastest thing pumping up from 20psi to 35psi x4 265/70R16 tires but it gets the job done well. I think I paid $75 for my “VIAAIR” brand unit, the knockoffs are a bit cheaper and I think of the same quality more or less.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Mine’s VIAAIR as well and I’ve liked it so far.

            Just make sure you attach and detach when the engine isn’t running, I got stupid and detached the cables before shutting it off and one slipped out of my hand and just about became entangled in the engine belts.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            hadn’t really considered that risk. I know another key thing is to not have the air lined hooked up before powering on the compressor due to the surge risk. Turn on compressor so it’s blowing then thread the line onto the valve stem.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    1. Jumper cables
    2. Rain-X
    3. Invisible Glass
    4. Deerskin work gloves
    5. Flares
    6. Paper towels
    7. Silicone squeegee
    8. Small 12V air compressor
    9. Flashlight
    10. Two Lightning Cables
    11. Terrycloth rags
    12. Small tarp
    13. Two blankets
    14. Baseball cap
    15. First Aid kit
    16. Water (16.9 oz)

    Want to add: Reflective safety vest, small fire extinguisher, waterproof jacket.

    Items I carry on my person at all times:

    1. Swiss Army knife
    2. Small Coast LED flashlight with baseball cap clip. – this is, perhaps, the best $15 I’ve ever spent. It’s small, (one AA battery) really well made, bright, focusable and the clip attaches it to the brim of a baseball cap meaning that you have light wherever you look.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    This was so much easier when I had my truck with its giant toolbox in the bed. I just put everything in there and with maybe 1/5 of the contents I could swap an engine.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    If you have a choice between jumper cables and one of the new Lithium jump boxes, choose the jump box. Requires no booster car or unreliable “unpainted surface”, and they all have polarity protection to keep some numbskull from frying the electronics on both cars by getting the cables backwards.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      I agree. They are awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      But you have to check the specs. There are a lot out there that just won’t cut it with a really dead battery and some that will start a car that barely makes the lights go. I have 2 of these https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NBC85901 and it has started a car where the dome light just glowed. Where as this one isn’t worth a crap. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Stanley-Simple-Start-Lithium-Ion-Jump-Starter-Battery-Charger/46007586 Which is why it was returned for another one of the NAPA units.

      • 0 avatar
        Adam Tonge

        Correct. Get a good one with some cranking power.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I need to look into one of these for the 4Runner. The most likely backcountry issue outside the readily addressed flat tire is a dead battery.

        The last one to fail was in my wife’s car and it did so pronto in the daycare parking lot. Hate to have that happen 20 miles from pavement.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          They’re neat devices for sure, indispensable when there is no other vehicle to jump off of. But a few years ago I was in a hotel parking lot in Pittsburgh in single digit weather jumping a guy’s Sedona that was dead as a doornail. Regular cables hooked up for a solid 10 minutes of me idling the 4Runner finally did the trick.
          No way one of those compact little jumper boxes would have had enough juice for that task, none that I’ve seen anyways.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Hmm, going to have to research this then. My fear is a battery reaching its life suddenly out there and not starting in the morning, or weakened by an interior light left on.

    • 0 avatar
      cak446

      Jump boxes are great, but if you live in a climate that sees winter temperatures below 20C, they can’t be trusted to boost a vehicle, as they don’t even turn on when it gets too cold. If you can’t carry both, booster cables will always be my first choice in cold winter climates.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Ditto everything mentioned already.

    Add, a multimeter, a shovel, a big bow saw, a pry-bar, a rubber mallet, a come-along, a tow strap, a tarp, bungees, paracord, and waterproof matches.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Lol, some of us do sound like we expect the end of civilization on our daily commute. So add flares, machete, pistol-grip shotgun with 100 shells, a couple quarter-sticks of dynamite, ARC welder, and a case of MREs, and some Vibram-soled hikers and frame pack with which to abandon the whole enterprise and head out on foot when it all goes sideways.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Hey I got to see a drug addled prostitute get tased on the sidewalk on my way to work at 6am back in my old ‘hood. The 4Runner with multiple melee weapons within reach (entrenchment tool, steel pry bar, breaker bar) was just the ticket lol.

        Push comes to shove and my 4Runner will make a pretty convincing double for footage from A-stan :p

        https://goo.gl/images/pGysoS

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          You’re way off base. What you really needed in that incident was a good cell phone video and internet connection for uploading to YouTube.

          Re: the Afghanistan 4Runner–if it’s good enough for our Armed Forces, by damn it’s good enough for us. Long live the 4R.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            That’s a 2nd gen which from what I hear are more prevalent in numbers in that part of the world. Those are still on a Hilux based frame with the old torsion bar IFS. From what I’ve heard on the grape vine, 3rd gens were tried as well but would literally lose wheels when driven flat out keeping up with convoys over what constitutes roads out that way.

      • 0 avatar
        The ultimate family-friendly hybrid vehicle is finally here.

        1. All of the above
        2. A trailer to haul all this crap around in.
        3. A spare trailer tire
        4. Extra bulbs for the trailer’s tail lights.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      You’ll get arrested for carrying house-breaking tools.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I keep all my tools in my trunk. This is more out of convince than anything.

    Yesterday, I had to source a tail lamp for my friend’s Durango, which was surprisingly easy to remove (two screws). I also spotted a 2nd gen Taurus in the yard, so I grabbed a lower bumper trim that I’ve been needing (installing later today). I just drove the car out to where they were and had everything I needed right there.

    I keep all my metric sockets in one bucket, all SAE in the other. 99% of the time, I only use metric, but the SAE set comes in handy if I’m working on something else.

    I got an old silverware basket from a discarded dishwasher and that keeps my screwdrivers, pliars, etc organized, and it fits in the little well on the side of the trunk. I use old dishwashing tab buckets to keep the aforementioned sockets in, as well as one for wrenches. I also have a new-but-cheap floor jack, some jack stands, and a couple of cheater pipes.

    When I’m to work on something, its easy to back the car up to it, pop the trunk, and have everything I need in one place. Admittedly, this worked better with my Aerostar because the hatch provided shelter from the rain or sun, as well as the flat floor being easier to access rather than being down in the trunk. But, its fine in the car, still better than running around looking for some tool I need rather than having them all in one place which follows me anywhere I go. When I get a truck/SUV, I’ll probably transfer my tools into it.

    I’ve helped friends with roadside/parking lot repairs, it was such a good thing to have my tools with me rather than struggling to do the repair without the proper equipment.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      There is one downside, Mr. Taurus, to being that well-equipped. Your extended “family” will make you the default call regardless of time of day. Most of the time I do not resent it as I hate to hear later of the $200 bill for a belt replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Yes, you’re right lol. I love being the go-to guy, though, its a service I’m all too happy to provide.

        But, I’m leaving Sunday to go on a job that will last between six to nine weeks, so friends and family will have to get someone else. Haha

        In fact, my friend with the Durango said just this morning that she would pay me to do her back brakes “next week”. Hell she went with me to set up a bank account for direct deposit no less than an hour beforehand, and forgot I was leaving just that quick! Haha Her husband is on the same job which is why he isn’t here to do it.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        It happened again! I got called to do a headlight bulb and a washer pump on a mid-90s Pontiac Grand Prix.

        This was after I got my lower bumper trim installed, so I was already dirty and in a wrench-turning kinda disposition.

        John saves the day again. LOL!

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    Two things that I have in both my cars that have come in handy:

    Battery Powered Jump Starter
    Tire Infaltor Compressor

    You can kill two birds with one stone with the Stanley FatMax, but I have separate compressors and jump starters in my cars. I’ve never used the jump starter for my car, but I have helped others with it.

  • avatar
    Woody in FL

    AAA membership.
    Jug of water.
    Emergency rain gear/towels.
    Some TSA style rubber gloves.
    Decent multi-tool kit (socket set screwdrivers pliers Etc.)
    Decent jumper cables.(mostly for helping others)
    Flashlight.
    Spare fuses.
    A GOOD knife.
    A Firearm.( most important in my personal opinion)

  • avatar
    Cole Trickle

    Maybe if you live or drive a lot in rural areas these things are necessary but the only time I’m out of uber range is on road trips.

    I keep a bottle of water, a small first aid kit, a small microfiber towel, and a cigarette lighter. That’s about it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I did keep an old toolbox in the trunk of my G-body Cutlass Supreme during the years of driving it but given that I didn’t have many tools and all of them were in that box, I lost all my tools when the dang car got stolen. :-(

    What I’ve most needed over the years are
    Jumper Cables
    Gloves
    Fold-able Camping Shovel – for getting unstuck

    A college buddy of mine drove an ex-police Diplomat in those days (late 90s) and he had the trunk packed to the gills with tow ropes, duck tape, belts, hoses, tools, kitty litter for traction, and had a small open space perfectly sized for a 40-ish quart cooler. (Beer was the only other thing he ever worried about carrying in his trunk.) Given that the car had a limited slip, all that junk in the trunk gave him mad traction.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    ‘Survival’ candle for heat and light.
    Waterproof matches and a lighter just in case.
    Folding orange triangular road markers or pylons.
    Foil blanket.
    Map(s) (yes actual printed maps of the area).
    Cliff bars.
    Wrapped individual candies.

    Most of the others I carry have already been mentioned:
    Air compressor (small)
    First aid kit.
    Socket set, with screwdriver.
    Adjustable wrench & small vice grip.
    LED flashlight(s).
    Blanket.
    Gloves.
    Booster cables.
    Small (folding) shovel and kitty litter (winter).
    Aerosal tire ‘inflator’.
    Bottle of water.
    Some bungee cords.

    Most importantly an Auto Club membership (CAA/AAA).

    I am too old to start trying to perform roadside repairs, but a candle, a blanket, a Cliff bar, some water and some hard candies can keep you alive for at least 24 hours.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Everything except the kitty litter fits in a gym bag. Forgot that it also contains a screwdriver and visibility vest. Used to keep fuses but not any longer, not sure why.

      Started doing this when my brand new, ’78 T-Bird started to try to kill me by not randomly starting at the worst possible locations and in the worst weather.

      Made sure that the gym bag goes into any car, ours or their friends, when my kids travel.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    I pack a lot, but the most useful have proven over time to be:

    Spare tail light/brake light bulbs

    Spare head light bulb

    Spare wiper blades

    Spare fuses

    Tire plug kit and tire inflator.

    Mechanix gloves

    Jumper cables (usually to start someone else)

    Flashlights, one with a fold out stand

    Electrical tape

    Small medical kit

    Mylar blanket

    plastic $1 rain poncho

    Oil

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I’ve still got 14 cases of Spam left from my Y2K preparedness kit.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I’ll add to the above, zip-ties especially the huge ones, a good size hammer, wood 2x4s sections, 4×4 blocks, pry bar and HD blade utility-knife.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Okay, with all the other stuff suggested, we’re getting into tow-a-trailer territory.

      In 1935, my dad’s brother and sister and their spouses decided to drive from Rhode Island to Los Angeles for the summer, and they left with $35 in a ’32 Ford Model B Fordor sedan. They had one breakdown, several flats, and got lots of help from strangers, but got there.

      My dad’s sister had a brooch given by her husband’s aunt that was appraised at $800 in L.A. and she sold it to the jeweler for $700, my dad’s brother who owned the car sold it for $200 (he had paid $300 used) and after 3 weeks in the sun, they returned by train. Today, you won’t have such adventures.

      If you have a late model car and spend most of your driving in a large urban area, you don’t need much of anything but some money/cards and a cell phone.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned tire chains (or cables – not the cheapos, the good ones work great and are lower profile than chains.)

    Also, socket/wrench set, some type of pliers, screwdrivers, misc. hand tools, shovel, rags, gloves, blanket, wire, zipties.

    When one headlamp blows out I replace both and put the good used one in the trunk.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I feel strongly about being self sufficient in a roadside breakdown scenario, and as a serial owner of 20+ year old daily drivers and road trip vehicles it is even more relevant. I’ve got a huge cargo area in the 4Runner so my kit-out is fairly expansive, and extends into the offroad recovery space (seasonally and environment dependent)

    soft toolbag:
    compact socket set (Metric/SAE 3/8 in drive)
    hammer, vice grips, screwdrivers, multi-tool, filter wrench, electrical tape, zip ties, chicken wire, teflon tape, WD40, gloves, safety glasses

    separate:
    cordless LiOn impact driver and set of impact sockets
    1/2 inch breaker bar
    2 foot long pry bar
    long reach metric wrenches
    jump start cables
    compact bike pump for rear air shocks
    VIAIR air compressor

    spares:
    all drive belts
    spare spark plug (for testing especially)
    spare ignition coil
    spare fuel injector
    quart of oil

    recovery:
    20 ft recovery strap (the kind without metal hooks)
    cable come-along manual winch
    tire chains
    collapsible entrenchment tool (shovel)

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Wow, I read these comments and I am waaaaaay out of touch. The three cars that I drive predominantly are 10, 13, & 61 years of age respectively. Wife drives the ‘new’ car with is 4.

    I keep with me at all times……A cell phone.

    I keep jumper cables in the suburban as this is the ski car.

    I keep a flat tire repair kit in the vette’ as no spare

    I keep my phone in the 57′ and call a rollback.

    I don’t tend to road trip to the antarctic so I am generally in good shape in terms of having to start a fire in the middle of the intersection to keep warm should I have car trouble.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I’ve got a 50 year old Mustang and am nervous that I don’t currently own a vehicle that is equipped to tow that Mustang should the breakdown be catastrophic. It’s one of the reasons that I think my next vehicle purchase should be a 1/2 ton truck.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        The towing option on the Hagerty policy is $80 per year, I paid the full year premium two days ago which is why the number is top of mind. My suburban could obviously tow the car on a trailer as well, would have to borrow or rent a trailer though.

        I think you would be quite happy with a 1/2 ton. I enjoy them when I rent them, and for a DD I like a large BOF vehicle that drives like a truck or is a truck. Personal preference is all.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @87Morgan, I am pretty sure that at least one member of the Donner Party said pretty much the same thing as your last sentence.

  • avatar
    Fred

    In John Muir’s “Complete Idiot Guide to VW” he talked about spares and tools. Towards the end he had a comment “damn that box is heavy” as he packed various parts to keep the old Beetle going. Now days with modern cars it hardly seems necesary. I have chains, and assorted snow gear. I keep some food and water in case of traffic but that’s about it.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    If it is a 1996 and newer car one of the OBD-II dongles that let you use your phone to see why that check engine light is on and to reset it if desired. Remember if it is flashing it is something serious that could cause further damage should you continue to drive the vehicle. Solid and you are fine to drive on but it is good to know what is up.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      This is a good point, I didn’t even consider my ScanGauge II that I have mounted on my steering column, for those not inclined to blow $150+ on one of those units, the generic Amazon-specials work just fine for scanning OBD-2 codes.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I would add a paperback book, I got AAA and live in metro NY so I am always pretty close to help, I would rather read a book waiting for help then use my phone, if for what ever reason help is late I do not want a dead cell phone.

    I carry a bag in the truck, really the only time I look in it is when I move to a new car, it is used that little.

  • avatar
    spamvw

    Those of you keeping water in your vehicle, up here in MN, that would split the container half the year.

    I’m sure most folks in this group know where their lug key is, but most people don’t.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    In the photo, what is that thing with the curved red ends on top of the toolbox?

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    I carry a lot of stuff in my truck (because it’s the thing I take on long road trips and often through or to remote areas), but it has tons of otherwise unused space; about half the rear seating area of my extended cab F250 is “various supplies”.

    (Tool kit, flares and whatnot, a little compressor for topping up the spare if it’s needed, 4-way wrench, chains, etc., etc.)

    In the Volvo it’s less severe; a tiny tool kit (because let’s get real, I’m NOT “fixing” anything on it if it breaks), 4-way, cargo straps for moving stuff around, chains, and some unrelated camping or outdoor equipment [axe, shovel, bow saw for interesting fallen wood or road clearing, mylar blankets, etc. – if I need almost any of that for road conditions, well, Mistakes Were Made].

    The Corolla is in-town or highways only, basically, and just gets a 4-way and chains and a handful of mylar blankets. (Because they’re so cheap there’s no excuse not to have them, and it can get real cold at night and tow trucks can take a long time if it’s busy out…)

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Oh, and jumper cables – which are so obviously obvious I forget to even think about them.

      Ideally the heavy-gauge 25′ ones, so you can park nose-to-tail and still reach, and charge fast.

      (Dates back also to my old 300D, where it needed *lots* of power, and small-gauge cables would overheat…)

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    I figure that my car is near me about 95 to 99% of the time. Therefore, I keep a few most important items in it: backup pair of eyeglasses, sunscreen (and a hat), water.

    I’d also recommend a set of jumper cables, duct tape, a few rudimentary tools, paper towels, and plastic bags of various sizes.

    I don’t have much hope of fixing a broken radiator or fan belt on the spot. In those situations, having spare cash and a cell phone charger onboard are probably your best bet.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Keep some bourbon in the glove box because if you are driving something $#!++y enough to need all that crap in the trunk to take a trip in you’ll want to forget about it when it does break down on you.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Ironically enough, it was my 22 year old Toyota truck that sailed by a line of new sedans on blown out low-profile tires a few years ago on I86 near Erie PA, and this winter it was me giving my father in law a ride back to the house when his almost new Rav4’s keyless fob failed.

      I quite frankly trust it more than any number of much newer vehicles, for a number of reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Old doesn’t automatically equate to $#!tty. If you maintain it you don’t need to cart around half of a Snap-On trucks worth of tools in the trunk. And I hate low profile tires. My F150 runs 70 series tires as God intended on a pickup

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Well you seemed to equate carrying a lot of tools = your car is old and sucks. I maintain the hell out of my older vehicle, but am also ready for whatever may come my way. When I was little I remember getting stranded in the family MPV (’89, this was in the late 90s) when the alternator belt tore. If my dad had the tools (let alone a replacement belt) we’d have been back on the road in no time. As it was, it ended up being a 3+ hour stressful situation before we got the van towed to some local small town shop, a rental car, and then my parents had to make arrangements later after the trip to retrieve our van. I think that motivated both my brother and I to be much more self sufficient with that kind of stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          70 series tires are for them furrin cars. Real trucks at least if they mention the “series” in the size are 85’s.

    • 0 avatar
      The ultimate family-friendly hybrid vehicle is finally here.

      A bottle of genuine W.C. Fields Snake Bite Remedy.

      And a snake.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Personally I wouldn’t try to “fix” a bad radiator in the middle of nowhere with Bar’s stop leak due to heater core plugging issues.

    Don’t worry about exhaust pipe or antenna during the trip, that’s not going to stop you from driving to the next gas station.

    Pantyhose only if you want to rob a bank in the 70s, not going to do you any good these days.

    PB Blaster works better than WD40

    Fix a flat instead of the tire plug (only use if you are stranded).

    Paper map (not the GPS one) of where you plan to pass through.

  • avatar
    St.George

    Obviously Hookers and blow, a breakdown would be something to look forward to!

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Wow…didn’t realize we had so many “preppers” here. It’s nice to be prepared, but you can really get carried away trying to prepare for everything that can possibly happen. And then at that point you’re carrying around all kinds of extra weight, most of it that you’ll never need. For that reason, I carry my cell phone and a Leatherman tool in my car. In my Jeep, same thing, but I also carry around a tire plug kit and a tiny 12V compressor.

    I keep my vehicles in tip top condition, so a mechanical breakdown isn’t very likely. I’ve been driving for 38 years now and have never once found myself stranded.

  • avatar
    George B

    I don’t carry that much stuff in my car on a regular basis.

    cell phone
    cell phone charger
    LED flashlight
    4-in-1 Philips and Flat Blade screwdriver
    Leatherman Multitool
    tire gauge
    jumper cables

    might add a 12 compressor and a tire plug kit for long trips. Cars are very reliable, but road debris can still give you a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.

    I can usually buy or borrow anything else. I used to carry a small empty gas can, but I haven’t run out of gas in 25 years. I check fluid levels regularly and never have to add anything on an emergency basis. No problems with broken belts or hoses either.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    A survey meter…rosewood nunchucks…jar of Tang…magic 8-ball…jumper cables.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    1. Remote car starter
    2. Assorted screwdrivers or universal with several heads.
    3. Crescent wrench
    4. Channel lock and or pliers
    5. Wire cutters
    6. Wire
    7. Duct Tape
    8. Electrical Tape
    9. Flashlight or head-mounted lamp
    10. Gloves
    11. Power inverter
    12. Cable ties
    13. Tire gauge
    14. X-type lug wrench
    15. Windex
    16. Paper towels
    17. Bungee cords
    18. Disposable plastic shopping bags
    19. Multi-tool / knife
    20. First aid-kit or band aids, gauze, scissors.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    My emergency kit – cell phone, AAA membership with 300 mile towing, and a few credit cards.

    Admittedly I never drive anywhere that freezing to death is a possibility. Those places are best flown over, IMHO.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Jumper cables in the winter, that’s it.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Sheesh, where I live we’re supposed to keep an earthquake survival kit in the car all the time, and a winter survival kit half the year. How many people would die from all that stuff flying around in crashes?

  • avatar
    Eddy Currents

    I’m waiting on details on the 4-pointed wrench.

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