From Bob the Builder to Batman, all great heroes need their tools, and drivers are no exception. While home mechanics know which tools they need to have at all times to facilitate general repairs and maintenance, even if you can barely change a tire it’s important to know what tools you should keep in your car at all times, especially this season. With Halloween, Thanksgiving and of course Christmas much closer around the corner than we’d like to admit, the season brings with it a series of new challenges.
Firstly, this is a boozy and dangerous time of year, with a proliferation of office parties in the lead up to the festive period you can expect to see an unfortunate increase in drunk drivers on the road. Plus, this is a time of year for family, with many people travelling between states to visit loved ones. This means a lot of tired and / or over-caffeinated drivers who are unfortunately just as dangerous. It’s also a time of treacherously icy roads and the onset of punishing cold.
If you’ve been to the roof rack store, loaded up the car and are about to take the family on a fall break to see family, the last thing you need is for your journey to be derailed by an unfortunate incident or the need for a minor repair. As in all things, responsible drivers need to hope for the best and plan for the worst, and fortunately having these tools in your car at all times will help to facilitate most roadside repairs.
At least one bottle of engine oil
If your oil level warning light comes on the dash, it’s because your engine is in serious need of lubrication and the sooner it is done the better. A one litre top-up of oil is enough to stop the oil levels from becoming dangerously low and negate any ill effects. The longer you drive on low to no oil, the more you risk doing your car serious damage.
A small torch
As the nights get longer and darker, there’s more chance you’ll be driving in the dark, so a small torch is essential to light your way so you can get a good look at hard to reach components under your hood.
A socket set
During long journeys across uneven country roads, it’s perfectly normal for bumps, jolts and vibrations to cause wheel nuts and other small parts to come loose. Very little mechanical knowledge is required to tighten them up, but keeping on top of them can make a world of difference. While most vehicles only have two or three main bolt sizes it’s a good idea to be prepared and carry a comprehensive set just in case.
Clear plastic sheeting
Since it’s getting darker, colder and rainier, you’ll be glad to have this if you need to investigate underneath your car. It can even be used as a temporary fix for a broken window.
Metallic and duct tape
A crack or hole in your exhaust can lead to the release of dangerous exhaust fumes that could result in health risks for yourself and your family. Patching these up with metallic tape is an easy temporary fix until you can limp to your nearest repair shop. Metallic tape can stand up to the enormous heat generated by your exhaust
Likewise air and water pipes can be patched up with waterproof duct tape to fix minor issues like washer jet failures before they escalate and ruin your trip.