Nobody wants to breakdown and be left stranded on the side of the road somewhere due to car trouble. Some people, never really give the idea a thought; they get in their cars, start the engine and go. For some others, the possibility of breaking down while driving, is a real; ever present fear that could happen at any moment, on every journey, usually due to some known, unattended mechanical problem with their car. What ever the case may be, breakdowns are commonly a random event, so drivers should try to be prepared if one should find themselves in such a predicament.

There are 5 essential items that every car should have stored in them at all times…… in case you find yourself stranded on the side of the road due to car trouble.

Spare Tire, Tire iron & Jack

car jack, donut spare tire, tire iron

Chances are, at some point, your going to get a flat tire. Changing a flat car tire may seem difficult at first, but it's quite easy and straight forward when you have the proper tools, mainly the tire iron (wheel stud remover) and car jack for that particular type of car. Every new car comes with a spare tire and car jack kit, therefore every car should have a set, usually hidden somewhere in the truck area. In some early model foreign cars, you might find the tire iron or jack under the back passenger seat somewhere. Know where your spare tire, tire iron and jack are located in your automobile. This will save you the frustration of trying to find them in the darkness or at the side of the highway with traffic whizzing by.

Generally, there are two types of spare tires.

  • A full-size spare tire…(a tire that is identical in size as the rest of the current tires on the car).
  • A solid spare tire…. (better known as the donut spare tire).

Full size spares are more convenient because you only have to change the wheel once. As long as the wheel studs are securely tightened after installation you're good to go for as far and as long as you like. You can get the flat tire fix at your convenience. However, full size spare tires loose air over time, so it is quite common to get a flat tire, start changing it, only then to find your saving grace spare tire….is flat to.

The solid or donut spare tire is much smaller than a full size spare tire. Made of solid core rubber they require no air, therefore, they are always dependably ready for usage when needed. Donut spares are much lighter and are much easier to handle and change than full-size spare tires….. especially in sticky and dangerous situations. Such as, changing a tire on the interstate highway or in the darkness of night - where quick tire changes are most needed.

The downsides to donut spare tires are they cannot be driven on for too many miles /kilometres. They are not really designed for long distance driving only to get you to the nearest service station for a proper tire installation. Even thought some people drive on their donut spare for days, even weeks, this is not the safest practice. One should change to a full size wheel as soon as possible.

Practice changing one tire or watch a tire being changed before hand to get a feel of how to do it, and you should be able to get through a roadside tire change if need be. Never try to change a tire without first assessing the situation for safety first. Be sure that you are away from any traffic or dangers before attempting to change a flat car tire.

Jumper Cables or a Portable Battery Booster Pack mobile booster pack

Battery failure can happen anywhere, at any time, and to anyone, sometimes twice or more in one day. Next to a flat tire, a dead battery is one of the most common things that will leave you stuck. A weak or failing battery, forgetting to turn off your headlights, leaving your dome/map lights on over night, or even a loose battery wire connection can cost you big in inconvenience and money- if you're not prepared. Keeping a pair of jumper cables in your car is a smart move. But even better, is a mobile battery power pack.

A 12 volt portable battery booster pack enables you to start your car with out the assistance of another car. Two large alligator clip connectors - one red for positive, one black for negative, attach to your car battery as a set of jumper cables from another car would. Turn the booster pack on, and then start your car. It's that easy and that quick. They come in various power ratings for different size cars. Anything above 400A (cold cranking amps) will start most small to midsize vehicles. They can cost anywhere from 55 to 100 dollars. Having a charged portable battery booster pack in your car can be priceless. Trying to find someone to help you boost your car is not always easy, especially if it's cold, rainy, and late at night or early in the morning.

Flashlight

Having a flashlight handy is always a good thing. In a car break down situation, it makes the whole process of changing a tire or jump starting your car, go smoother. When you can see what you're doing you'll feel more confident about 'what' you're doing and you're more likely to finish faster. Rather than fumbling around in the dark. Also, when you stand beside your car holding a flashlight that is on, it acts like a beacon showing other drivers that you are there….so they don't run you over. This goes the same for if you run out of gas and decide to walk to the next gas station…you should bring a flashlight …so other drivers can see you well in advance.

Emergency Road Kitemergency road kit

You can get a ready made mobile safety kit from most of the major big box stores in the automotive department. Usually a good kit will include all the frill and sprinkles such as: booster cables, air compressor, muti-tools, flashlight, emergency blanket, gloves, rain poncho, first aid kit, collapsible metal shovel, reflective triangles, road flares, and disposable camera.

One could make there own emergency road kit to best suit their climate conditions and or personal needs for considerably less than it would cost to buy one. Other items one might want to add to there mobile emergency road kit could include: food/water, clothing, winter weather tools or gear, engine fluids, the list could go on. The idea is for your kit to be compact and functional. It's up to the individual to decide what would be the best for their situation.

You can't pick where and when you're going to have engine trouble. The only thing you can do is control how you're ready to deal with the scenario if it should arise. Having the items mentioned earlier will aid in keeping you safe and give you a peace of mind if you're ever stuck on the side of the road.