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Tools for the Do-It-Yourselfers

Survival of the Fittest -
Emergency Road Kit & Basic Maintenance Tools

Whether on the road or at home, you need to be equipped with some basic survival items and tools that can make driving and living with your car easier, safer and more convenient. Here are some suggestions as a starting place, divided into two categories: Emergency Road Kit and Basic Maintenance Tools. You can customize the list according to your needs and your ambitions.

Basic Roadside Emergency Kit

Emergency Road Kit

  • Jumper cables

  • Cellular phone, charger power cord, along with a list of emergency numbers

  • Ice scraper and snow brush (winter months)

  • Flashlight or spotlight with extra set of batteries

  • Rain suit or poncho (brightly-colored)

  • Safety goggles or glasses

  • Pair of disposable work "coveralls"

  • Emergency flares, warning triangle or cones

  • Fire extinguisher

  • First-aid kit

  • Hose-patch kit for emergency mending of coolant hoses. These kits are usually available at auto parts and discount stores.

  • Pressurized can of tire inflator and sealer for emergency filling of a flat tire.

  • Battery-powered air compressor

  • Bottled water and snacks, such as crackers or energy bars (in sub-freezing temperatures, remember that bottles may burst if they freeze).

  • Blankets

  • Roll of duct tape

  • Wheel chocks (placed under the wheels to prevent the car from rolling)

  • Basic tool set including an adjustable wrench, pliers, screwdrivers, and wrenches. Many auto parts and retail establishments sell compact "tool kits", perfect for storage in the trunk of your car.

  • Mini shovel (winter months)

  • Bag or container of sand for traction (winter months)

  • An extra pair of gloves, a scarf and hat

  • Extra windshield washer fluid that can be used in cold weather driving.

  • Funnel for pouring liquids

  • Extra fuses (refer to your owner's manual to determine amperage sizes needed)

  • Mechanical or elastic tie-down straps

  • Roll of heavy-duty paper towels or rags

  • Pair of work gloves

Basic Maintenance Tools:

  • Oil filter wrench (there are different types, including cap wrenches and strap wrenches). You will have to decide which provides best grip of the filter, based on accessibility.

  • Catch pan (for capturing used oil and coolant)

  • 3/8" basic socket wrench set, including sockets (SAE and metric sizes) ratchets, extensions, adapters, and 5/8" and 13/16" spark-plug sockets

  • Torx sockets or bits

  • Combination wrench set (SAE and metric sizes)

  • Hex-key wrench set (commonly referred to as Allen? wrenches)

  • Flare-nut fitting wrenches (most commonly used to help prevent the rounding-off of brake line fittings and bleeder fittings)

  • Fender cover (to protect the finish of your car while working under the hood)

  • Basic screwdriver set

  • Test light (for checking the availability of voltage and ground in circuits)

  • Multimeter (a more advanced electrical checking tool that provides readings of voltage, ohms, amps and sometimes more)

  • Slip-joint, groove-joint, needle-nose, and locking pliers

  • Torque wrench (a wrench that indicates the "tightness" of nuts and bolts)

  • Air pressure gauge

  • Radiator hydrometer

  • Penetrating oil (used to help free and lubricate seized or frozen fasteners)

  • Soldering gun & solder

  • Electrical pliers

  • Jack stands

  • Ramps

  • Hydraulic Jack

  • Battery charger

(Source: The Car Care Council)