DIY Roadside Emergency Kit

by  |  On September 9th, 2017  |  In Tips & Guides

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, chances are it will at some point in the future; the fact is that at one point of another, car trouble arises. Flat tires, dead batteries and other small roadside emergencies can be hectic and stressful, and even if you have access to roadside assistance help can take time to arrive. Proactive drivers can prepare for a variety of these situations by purchasing or assembling a roadside emergency kit.

Roadside Emergency Kit

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While basic roadside emergency kits can be purchased in stores and online (typically for between 30 and 70 dollars), many drivers may opt to build their own kits in order to customize the contents for their personal preference or take advantage of supplies they already own. A DIY roadside emergency kit can fit inside a small to mid-size duffle bag or a simple cardboard box, and should include the following:

  • Jumper cables (and/or a jump starter)
  • Motor oil (a quart or more)
  • Coolant (prediluted, or also include a gallon jug of water)
  • Flashlight (don’t forget extra batteries)
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Tire sealant
  • Can of tire inflator
  • Screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench
  • Triangle reflectors, reflective vest
  • Spray bottle with washer fluid
  • Paper towels and rags

These supplies, along with the jack and spare tire usually incorporated into a vehicle, can help drivers be prepared to address many minor car emergencies on their own or with the help of a passenger, and can save the time and money expended by calling and waiting for roadside assistance. Our friends at Kim’s No Bull, a new and used car dealer in Laurel, Mississippi, say that buying or building an emergency roadside assistance kit should be the first step anyone should take after buying a new or used car, but it’s never too late. If you’ve been driving your vehicle for years with no preparation for emergencies, take a few hours this weekend and pull together this kit. After all, better safe than stranded with a flat tire.

Tip: If you live in an area that experiences snow and ice over the winter months, consider adding winter emergency items to your kit, or packing an additional winter emergency kit. Heavy snow and ice can pose their own unique hazards, and there’s no harm in preparing for a worst-case scenario in which you may end up waiting out a storm on the side of a road. Here are a few winter weather emergency items to add to your kit:

  • Blanket or space blanket
  • Small shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Extra hat, mittens etc
  • Fluorescent distress flag
  • Bottled water
  • Snack foods (granola bars, raisins, etc)
  • Road salt, sand, and/or cat litter for traction
  • In-car cell phone charger
  • Windshield de-icer fluid

Whether you choose to build or buy, having a roadside emergency kit can make a huge difference. While some situations will always necessitate calling roadside assistance or emergency personnel, many minor issues can be taken care of quickly and without much trouble with the supplies in this kit. If you don’t currently have a roadside emergency kit, take some time to create or locate one, and if you have a teenager in your life who recently passed their driver’s test, consider providing one for them.

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