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A Survival Kit To Keep Your Car Going

July 15, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

survival-kit-for-your-car

While many offer opinions about survival kits to be kept in your vehicle, tailored towards keeping you, the human, going… here is a twist on that thought while considering keeping your CAR going.

A survival kit to help keep your car keep going (except after an EMP event), may include some of the following 25 items stored in your vehicle (in no particular order). The list is intended to give you ideas while at the same time knowing that there is no perfect list.



1. Extra Motor oil. At least 2 quarts to keep your engine from suffering damage if the oil becomes too low. Cars, especially older cars, will burn some oil due to natural engine wear, and eventually will require a top-off.

2. Radiator fluid and distilled water. Enough to completely fill up your radiator at least once. Regular water will damage your radiator.

3. Extra fuses. At least 3 each of all proper amperage that your fuse panel needs. Cannot emphasize just how important fuses are to have on hand. Your vehicle’s electronic parts such as the starter, fuel pump, and others must have workable fuses to operate. Having said that though, often times when a fuse blows, it is the result of a short or failure – inserting a new fuse may simply blow again (it’s worth a try though).

4. Portable battery starter. (Also, jumper cables) There may not be anyone around to recharge your battery if it goes dead. You will go nowhere if you cannot start your car somewhere.

5. Standard spare tire. Even two if there is room. Those doughnut tires are okay to get you short distance at reduced speeds, but having an actual standard size tire or tires ready to go is so much better. Tire places will likely have the rim and tire for a spare for you to purchase.

6. Tire air compressor pump. Those that you can plug into the 12 volt cigarette lighter outlet. Many times a flat tire simply needs air and then it is fine. Sometimes you can pump up a slow leaking tire and still get where you are going before it becomes too serious to drive on. Include a tire gauge with this to make sure you get the right air pressure.

7. Good tire jack and wrench. Those jacks and wrenches to change tires that comes stock with the car, borders on junk. A good tire wrench (a 4-way) and or a torque wrench to make sure the lug nuts are not too tight is invaluable (lug nuts that are too tight or uneven will warp the brake rotors). Being able to safely raise up your vehicle on possibly uneven surfaces will also be appreciated. Throw in at least a couple of extra lug nuts in case some of them get stripped when you are taking them off.

8. Gloves for your hands, making repair easier and faster. Also things like cushions, blankets, hats with lights on them, etc. Anything that will help with the repairs and keep you comfortable and protected.

9. Windshield wiper fluid and spare windshield wiper blades. Seeing where you are going is necessary. There are so many people that still run out of windshield cleaner miles from nowhere and have to drive under vision impairment because of bugs, mud, whatever.

10. Extra fuel filter. Too often your poor car gets bad fuel and the fuel filter clogs up and your vehicle stalls or stops dead. Excellent precaution to have in your kit.

11. Necessary auto fluids. Power steering fluid, brake fluid, automatic transmission or clutch fluid, stop leak, fuel stabilizer, etc. Usually in smaller containers that won’t take up too much space.

12. Fit it sealer. Many pin size holes in hoses or elsewhere can be temporarily patched long enough to get where you are going. Duct tape often works around hoses too.

13. Small car tool kit. Make sure that the tools fit the right sizes to do minor repairs on the car.

14. Good sturdy thick clear plastic and duct tape. If one of your windows is knocked out for any numerous reasons, you can use plastic and tape to keep the outside air and elements such as rain or snow out of your car and still see out.

15. Quality LED flashlight with extra batteries. At night you must be able to see to do any repairs, a bright dependable flashlight is a must.

16. Extra gasoline. ABSOLUTE SAFETY FIRST! Store only in approved containers remembering how flammable and dangerous gasoline is. Avoid ever storing gasoline in car under hot conditions. Even one gallon of gasoline can take your car the distance it would take you 6 or more hours to walk, so extra gasoline is a consideration to add to your kit. Just be careful with it.

17. Bulbs. Your car’s lighting system matters. In regular times if the
police stop you for a burned out brake light or something, being able to replace the light bulb right there can save you the hassle of a fix it ticket. Keep an extra set of headlight replacement bulbs. You need to see where you’re going at night!

18. Chain or very strong tow rope. Someone may have to pull your car out of somewhere, or you may have to help someone else.

19. Camouflage car cover. This sounds crazy, but after a national crisis you may not want everyone to know you have an operating car that is parked somewhere. During the daytime and at night, any light reflecting off your car’s shining ares can be seen for many miles.

20. Traction for your vehicle. Tire chains and cables are not only for snow and ice, they work in muddy conditions also. Not a bad idea either to have a bag of sand or gravel for getting out of a stuck spot.

21. Small durable shovel. To dig your car’s tires out of somewhere, also many other uses.

22. Small fire extinguisher. Putting out a fire rapidly anywhere in your car can save your car, and what could be your only form of transportation.

23. Money hidden somewhere in the car. Even after a disaster someone might repair your car if you can pay them cash. Don’t depend on any credit card.

24. ‘How-to’ fix your car book. Owner’s manuals offer little information, but using a book written by mechanics can make diagnosing and fixing a problem long distances from any help much more possible. Try to get a fix-it book that is specifically for you model, make, and year of your car if you can.

25. Spray engine cleaner and spray oil. De-greasers make seeing what you are doing so much easier. WD-40 has so many uses from make something looser to helping clean off an area. Also include some paper towels and rags in your kit to help wipe off areas and your hands.



Oh, here’s another… serpentine belt (and/or any belt that your car uses) – most cars these days have a single belt that goes around all of the pulleys. If this breaks, you won’t get much farther down the road. Even if you don’t know how to replace it yourself, a mechanic could, and having one with you could save many hours or days for a mechanic to get or order what you need.

Go to your local auto store and say to yourself what could my car need to keep it going and get me to safety if there are no parts and equipment there for me to purchase. Be generous to your car, you might need your car to survive.



Thanks to an email from ‘Be informed’ for the basis of this post.


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