Emergency Vehicle Kit

"Two is one, and one is none."

Keeping a simple emergency kit in your vehicle can save a lot of hassle, especially when out of cell phone range. This is a list of things I've found handy over the years to get out of a pickle (and unable to call the calvary).

Most items can be purchased at your local hardware store or something like The Home Depot. I'd recommend buying brand-name where possible, since reliability is key during an emergency. Keep things light and compact; the goal is to get you out of a situation and make it to the nearest help. This kit can also allow you to help others on the road experiencing an emergency.

Checklist

Weather Specific Additions

Cold Weather

Hot Weather

Building a wheel nut removal tool

I've unfortunately been caught on the side of the road trying to change a tire and the lug nuts were impossible to remove with the wrench included with the vehicle. Inevitably a mechanic will gorilla-torque them, or they corrode onto the studs. One solution I've put together for this is a combination of a 1/2" breaker bar with the appropriate socket (e.g. 19MM) for the lug nuts. This is then stored in an appropriately sized length of PVC pipe (1 and 1/4 inch PVC pipe fits the previously linked breaker bar perfectly) with PVC caps. This will give you far more leverage to break the lug nuts free. If the breaker bar alone doesn't work, slip the PVC pipe over the breaker bar for even more leverage.

Final thoughts

Be mindful of storing lithium based batteries in the car during the winter months. I recall going to start the car one particularly cold morning and the battery was dead. Not a problem, I'll just use my lithium battery powered jumper. This was also "dead" due to being stored out in the cold.

It's important to periodically (at least once every three months/quarterly) test your tools to make sure they are in good working order.

Last but not least, many folks aren't aware of ready.gov, a US Government website that provides free information on emergency preparedness. The information is free and useful, I'd recommend checking it out.