15 Things You Should Have in Your Car : IN-car essentials for first time drivers
The worst thing that could happen to a car owner nowadays, aside from being pulled over by a MMDA traffic enforcer jumping out of the bushes (WTH) or getting stuck in what is called EDSA armageddon, is to get into car trouble in the middle of nowhere with no possible help in sight and not carrying the basics in your trunk, under the car seat, or in the glove compartment.
In case of emergency, a car kit is your lifeline. You wouldn't want breaking down at the side of the road and realizing that you only have a flat spare tire in your trunk. So, rather than pimping your ride, why not get the right car tools that could help you when something goes wrong while on the road.
1. TIRE WRENCH / LUG WRENCH AND EARLY WARNING DEVICE (EWD)
Most brand new cars come with a spare tire, but not all include a tire wrench and an early warning device. You need a tire wrench when you're going to change a flat tire. If you don't have a tire wrench, get one that is heavy duty. While you are at it, get an early warning device (EWD) as well. When you’re on the roadside and changing the tires, you have to warn incoming drivers that your car is in trouble. An EWD placed several meters behind your vehicle can stop accidents from happening.
This is also a must when you’re changing a flat tire. This device comes in two types, hydraulic or mechanical. Its lifting capacity also varies. You can choose either of the two, but make sure you get the right capacity for your car.
It may be as small as a pen, but a tire pressure gauge is handy tool to have on hand. It can help a driver determine whether the tires need some air. A properly inflated tire can improve your car's handling and mileage, as well as prolong the tire's lifespan. As a car owner, make it a habit to check your tire's pressure regularly.
4. ELECTRIC AIR COMPRESSOR OR FOOT PUMP
There are days when you experience the worst. (Read: flat tire) But wait, when it rains, it pours. Your spare is also deflated and there is no gas station or vulcanizing shop nearby.
Here's where a portable electric air compressor can come in handy. This smart device can be powered by plugging it into your car's cigarette lighter plug and inflate your tire in no time. Yes, a portable electric air compressor doesn't come cheap, but it's a good investment in the long run. If you want the less expensive alternative, there's the foot pump. You can use it to pump enough air into your tire to keep it running until you reach the nearest gas station where you can have your tires properly serviced. (Bonus: You can also use it on your bike, if you have one.)
5. JUMP STARTER / JUMPER CABLES
Whether a car’s a daily driver or weekend garage queen, the immense load brought about by advanced electricals means that a car’s battery is bound to fail at some time; and anyone who’s had to experience a dead battery and having to wait for a replacement knows the hassle involved. The OMP Jump Starter prevents this problem by providing an emergency jump start for weak car batteries.
If you do not have one and your car breaks down, this is when you need some help to give your car some power, and jumper cables are all you need. The cables will be used to hook your weak battery to another car’s battery and charge it so you can rev up the car. Go for the six to eight feet-long cables.
6. SOCKET WRENCH KIT
Nuts and screws can get loose. Use the socket wrench to tighten them, otherwise you would lose them. Some kits come in a 21-piece wrench set to tighten different nuts and screws in various sizes and shapes. But open and close wrenches can also go a long way.
Whether it's a fixed blade or a folding-type, a knife can come in handy if you need to cut something. But be sure to keep it away from children's reach.
A handy flashlight is useful when you need to check something under the hood or the car itself. Many flashlights nowadays are equipped with LED bulbs, which have better illumination than regular bulbs. Try to keep one inside your glove compartment all the time. Make sure it is properly charged. Some comes with rechargeable batteries. If you’re in a dark situation and you forgot your flashlight, you can transform your smart phone into a flash light, or download a flashlight app which you can also use in emergency situations.
9. DUCT TAPE
Duct tape is very versatile. If you need to patch some wirings up on you car, you can use duct tape on it before you can have it repaired at the shop.
10. WD-40 LUBRICANT
This lubricant is pretty handy in cleaning and protecting corroded terminals, loosening tight bolts and screws, as well as removing rusts from the metal parts of your car.
11. Gallon Container
While it is a responsibility of the driver to check the gas gauge regularly, there are times when you have run your car empty. In this situation, you can either wait to be rescued or be your own knight in shining armor. With a gallon container on hand, run to the nearest gas station and make a refill.
12. FIRST AID KIT
Never ever leave the house without a first-aid kit. The kit can be tailored according to your activites and needs. It should also include personal items such as medications labeled with their expiration dates and emergency contact numbers. Make sure to check the kit regularly to see if you need to replenish supplies or change expired meds.
For a well-stocked first-aid kit for a family of four, The American Red Cross recommends the following essentials:
absorbent compress dressings, adhesive bandages, adhesive cloth tape antibiotic ointment packets, antiseptic wipe packets, packets of aspirin, blanket, instant cold com press, non-latex gloves, hydrocortisone ointment packets, scissors, roller bandages in different width, sterile gauze pads in different sizes, non-mercury oral thermometer, triangular bandages, and tweezers.
With the ever-changing weather in the Philippines, an umbrella is a must-have. An umbrella doesn't only protect you from the rain but also from direct sunlight should you need to troubleshoot your car under the scorching sun.
14. USB Charger / Power Inverter
With the monstrous traffic in Manila, having the batteries of our mobile devices or laptop die down is not an unthinkable prospect. Just to be prepared, keep a USB charger or a power inverter in your car. These can make your emergency stay in the car a little more productive or entertaining.
15. EXTRA MONEY
Just like in life, you need to have some emergency funds under your hood just in case you need it. It doesn't have to be a lot; just try to set aside a few bills and coins that can help you make emergency purchases for your car. And in case you left your wallet at home.