Roadside Ready: 5 Tools to Keep if You’re Driving an Old Car
If you are driving an old car, perhaps one that has way too much mileage for its own good, you know that its days are numbered. And it probably reminds you of this. The repairs, the fuel costs, the difficulty starting up – the beast your vehicle once was is far past its prime, and soon you’ll have to replace or sell it. That reality is sad. With that said, you need to keep a few tools in your car, especially if it is a vehicle on which you can no longer rely on to the fullest. This equipment will be a lifesaver if your car has a breakdown in a location that’s too far away from help.
1. Tire changing tools
Tires are one of the most vulnerable parts of a car, especially an aging vehicle. They connect the car to the ground and if you haven’t changed them in a while, they’re at an increased risk for blowouts and punctures. Waiting to have a tire replaced isn’t fun. Of course, you can reduce some of the hassle by keeping a set of tire changing tools, and more obviously, a spare tire with you. The usual items in this category are jacks and tire irons, and they’re fairly affordable and easy to carry. It’s wise to carry these tools whether you’re driving an old car or a newer vehicle. After all, no car is immune to tire issues.
2. Jump box
If you’re driving what people call a “beater”, there’s a good chance that the battery is not in top shape. And you’ll have to replace it sooner than later. Despite being an easy fix, dead batteries are one of the most frustrating ways a car can breakdown. Fortunately, technology has surpassed the simpleton form of jumper cables, and now we have jump-boxes. Essentially, they are rechargeable batteries with two cables that hook to your car’s battery. They provide a charge and jump-start your vehicle, without you having to wait for another car to pull over and give you a boost. Now that’s being self-reliant.
If you get stranded out somewhere at night, you might be in the presence of street lamps depending on where you are (in rural or heavily forested areas). In most cases, there will be some light, but it might not be sufficient enough to help you see what you’re doing. That’s where a flashlight comes in handy. It’s even recommended for you to carry some sort of a headlamp, so that you are hands free to make repairs. Besides having fuller mobility of the hands, a headlamp tends to have a brighter beam, making it easier for to you see what you’re dealing with.
4. Pliers and screwdrivers
Some of you have experienced dealing with engine parts and car wiring. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to bring a set of tools with you, such as pliers and screwdrivers. If you ever have to remove or add on certain parts, these tools will become necessary since you’ll most likely have to replace screws or yank wires out. With that said, it’s important for you to recognize which ones you will need beforehand. This is necessary when picking screwdrivers, because they’re all shaped to handle different screws. If you have a general toolbox, however, you will most likely find the appropriate screwdriver eventually.
5. Fire extinguisher
Now this one might seem extreme, but it doesn’t hurt to have one. Cars do catch fire, especially if the engine overheats. Generally speaking, if you pull over in time and turn the car off, you’ll just have fumes rising out of the engine. But you’ve probably seen car fires with your own eyes, and you’ll no doubt agree that they had to be put out. Carrying a fire extinguisher will allow you to do that, without having to wait for a fire truck to arrive. Ultimately, you won’t have to look at a burnt scrap of metal on road.
Why They Belong in Your Car
In all honesty, few people take emergency preparation seriously – to their own detriment. Think about all the times we’ve been warned to stock a flashlight, batteries, and first aid for a natural disaster. Then a blackout or ice storm hits, and then we’re left in the dark or scrambling to contact family and friends for help. The same is true for driving. Having a set of emergency tools is so important, because driving is full of uncertainties beyond our control. And when dealing with older cars, you have to accept the fact that the risk of roadside problems are higher, and that there is often less help available for such cars.
Whether you agree with this or not, safety is by far the most vital aspects of stress-free car ownership and driving. A breakdown of any kind can put you at risk for a collision or injury. Or if for example, there’s the chance of a fire bursting out or a car part just stops working, you’ll have to fix it immediately, and outside help may be too far. Of course, you wouldn’t drive on as if nothing’s happening.
A set of emergency tools at your side can give you power to make certain fixes that would prove dangerous if not quickly addressed. Additionally, if you had a breakdown at night in a forested area, there’s always the risk of encountering wild animals or deranged individuals who you should avoid at all costs. Again, the right tools come in handy here, allowing you to make quick repairs where needed, so that you can get moving.
Imagine breaking down on a rural road, and the closest town or city is over an hour away. If you’re ill-prepared, you’ll have to make phone calls for roadside assistance – hoping that your phone service provider works well where you are – waiting for them in the blazing heat (or soon to be, blistering cold) until they arrive. However, if you carry some emergency gear, you just might be able to get yourself back on the road again if the needed repair isn’t too complicated. And in a fast-paced world where we all have places to be, the ability to fix your own problems will make it possible to get you from point A to B even if there are a few bumps in between.
We all agree that car repairs are a necessary evil, right? For some things, they really are. And unless you’re a mechanic or a person with extensive auto knowledge, you’ll most likely have to spend a few dollars to get your vehicle fixed. However, small issues that sometimes leave drivers stranded on the shoulder lanes result in calls for the tow truck, which of course, costs money. In some cases, these drivers could have avoided these fees by making use of their own tools, provided they knew what needed examination and repairing. The lesson here is clear – spend some money now on equipment that can help you save in the future.
Giving an Older Car Life Support
Unless your car is a curious case like Benjamin Button, there’s little you can do to reverse its aging. Eventually, the repairs will get too expensive, and they’ll no longer be worth your time or money. You’ll have to say goodbye. But while it’s still alive and giving, you need to carry the emergency tools that will serve as a bailout if an emergency strikes. You never know if a glitch will leave you sitting at the roadside, forcing you to make some kind of repair. Having the equipment mentioned in this article will keep you safe and get you moving again. Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with anything too traumatic. But if something does happen, you’ll be ready.