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Vehicle Essentials

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 27 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Vehicle Essentials Car Jack Wheel Braces

No matter what car you drive, it's a good idea to make sure that you have a set of equipment that will see you through any emergencies that you may encounter while driving.

One of the most essential things you can have is the Owner's manual for your car. This will tell you all the important information that you need, and give you tips and advice on keeping your car well-maintained and roadworthy, reducing the chances of a breakdown.

Maintenance Equipment

Even if you are the type of driver that would see hell freeze over before you change a tyre, you should still make sure that you have a set of basic equipment that will see you through emergencies and for carrying out the most basic maintenance that you can get away with.

Most essential equipment will come with a new car, but if your car was bought already used, or you're not sure what you should have, then take a look at the following list which covers the basics:

Car Jack:
Most cars will come with what is known as a scissor Jack, and this is sufficient to allow you to change the wheel if you need to. If you need to carry out more complicated repair, you may need to get hold of a trolley jack, though if you take your vehicle in for repairs rather than carry them out yourself you are unlikely to need one.

Wheel Brace:
Another item that usually comes with the car - they can look a bit different from one car to another, but all do essentially the same job. Although a telescopic wheel brace might cost you a few quid, it will make a good investment and ensure that the tool is long enough for the job - some can prove to be a little short. If you do buy one you can always keep it if you sell the car later.

This is where a lot of people come unstuck. Spanners are sometimes included with a vehicle and sometimes they aren't, so make sure you have the right size spanners for your vehicle. You'll need to check your owner's manual for details as to which is the right size, and you might want to consider purchasing a set of different sized spanners.

Screwdrivers are a staple for anyone carrying out mechanical work of any kind. There are a couple of different types and lots of different sizes - a cross head (sometimes referred to as a Phillips) and a flat end screwdriver should see you right for minor work.

Emergency Essentials

As well as maintenance essentials, you should always make sure that you are able to cope in an emergency situation, by carrying the following with you in your vehicle:

In the Winter:

  • a small spade, torch and scraper, to remove ice and snow
  • thick and loose-fitting clothes, boots (preferably wellies) and a couple of blankets
  • a warm drink and emergency food
  • a length of rope
  • an anti skid mat - if you don't have one, an old piece of carpet can work as a substitute.
  • a contact number for your breakdown service and your policy details
  • a mobile phone
Finally, never drive in the winter on less than half a tank of fuel.

In the Summer:
You don't need to be as careful with what you carry in the summer as you are less likely to get stuck somewhere, but remember that if it is going to be hot that you may end up extremely uncomfortable if you do break down and the heat keeps rising. Water and a mobile phone are the most important things you can carry with you in the summertime.

  • bottled water in case you break down in hot temperatures.
  • loose fitting, light clothing including a hat to protect your head from the sunlight
  • a cool bag, preferably containing fruit, some chocolate and some cold drinks.
  • a mobile phone and manual charger
All Year Round Essentials:
  • bottled water
  • sugary foods such as crisps and chocolate
  • blanket
  • manual or wind-up phone charger in case your battery dies
  • first aid kit
  • mini fire extinguisher
By carry these vehicle essentials with you at all times you will be well prepared when faced with any emergency.

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