DIY: Emergency Road Kit
You can buy everything pre-packaged nowadays, and emergency road kits are no different. There are plenty of sellers on amazon, but they all sell the same product. The same equipment, the same price, which means they all lack the same items. Commercial emergency road kits have most of what you need, but they leave out a few items that will make your life easier. Instead, you might as well DYI—it will be less expensive, more effective, and very easy to do. In this case, fortune favors the thrifty.
On average, one out of three cars will breakdown in its lifetime. Without preparation, minor problems can turn into a major issue. Many problems with a car are minor, and easy to fix yourself. There is often no reason to wait for a professional. Instead, having your own DIY emergency road kit will let you get your car back up and running.
Many of these may already be in your garage. If not, they are cheaper to buy yourself then to buy a kit. Otherwise, I’m sure there are tools in your grandpa’s “wood shop” that he hoards like some unambitious dragon and uses to “fix” the leaky faucet. Or maybe that’s just my grandpa, but he thinks it’s still 1953. Anyways, these are the essential items you need in your DIY emergency road kit.
Emergency Road Kit Essentials
- Jumper cables: These are the number one item to keep on hand. Dead batteries such a common issue that there is no reason not to own your own.
- First aid kit: Make sure your first aid kit has disinfectant, gauze, strong tape of bandage, and any medication/allergy your family uses.
- Heavy Blanket or Childhood Blankie: Breaking down at night on the highway means you may have to wait until morning to get help. A blanket will make that slightly less miserable.
- Protein or granola bars and water: You never know how long you’ll be stranded on the road. (Or maybe some donuts to shame eat while waiting for someone to pullover).
- Flashlight: Changing a tire or checking under the hood at night is tough without a light source.
- Motor oil and Coolant: Some engine problems can be an easy fix with oil and coolant.
- Tool Kit: Keep a screwdriver, allen wrench, pocket knife, pliers, and adjustable wrench.
- Road flares/Reflective triangles: Protective light sources are essential for an emergency road kit. Stopping on the side of the road is dangerous, and cars can easily get sideswiped without lighting.
- Tire Pressure Gauge and Sealant: With a good sealant, you can save a tire before you need the spare.
- Duct Tape: The beginning of any MacGyver fix starts with duct tape.
- Tow Rope: This is another item that you don’t want to rely on other people to have.
- Gravel or Sand: Both provide good traction when placed under the tires. Make sure you include these in your emergency road kit in you live in a place with snow.
- Workers gloves
- Ice scraper: This item is just for people in cold climates. An icy windshield will keep you on the side of the road.
- Small Fire Extinguisher: While most car problems are rather minor, a fire can be deadly. Don’t forget to keep this essential in your car.
- Cordless phone charger: The new cordless phone chargers are a new addition to emergency road kits. Having a USB charger in your car is a good idea, but if your car battery dies a cordless charger is a necessary backup.
- Car Jack and spare tires: Most people have these items in their car already. If you don’t, purchase some right away. There isn’t much you can do to fix a flat without them.
- Backup License and Proof of Insurance: I know, this one is annoying. But braving the line at the DMV is well worth it to save you a few hundred dollars (but now there are even online options!). If you misplaced your license of insurance, your wallet will be a lot lighter after you pay that ticket. If you’re unlucky, you can even receive a criminal charge.
The first time you think about an emergency road kit shouldn’t be when you hear a tire pop or battery sputter out. When your car breaks down, a little forethought can go a long way. A proper road kit is important to protect your car, and DIY is the move—there is no reason to spend extra cash on a premade kit.