Car Emergency Kit – Just a Peek
My car emergency kit changes based on the season, but there are a few things that stay the same. They stay the same because they’re buried in the wheel well that conceals my “doughnut” spare time and jack. Here’s a peek at what I keep in this small space.
My car emergency kit always contains a spare tire.
Of course, the first item I have is my spare tire. In this case, it’s a high speed, long distance spare. I like the design because it’s intended that you change out the flat tire with this one, and then continue with your trip. Your regular tire gets fixed when you finish with your trip. I believe the total distance the tire can travel is at least several thousand miles, so it isn’t designed simply to get you to the next exit. I’ve only used it once since I usually carry a full-size spare with me.
As reluctant as I am to run around on a small diameter and narrow width spare, I also carry tire plugs and tire plugging tools (shown in the lower right of the photo). This allows me to fix a nail hole in my tire while the tire is still on the car. I also have a bottle of tire sealant (shown in the lower left of the photo) should that prove to be necessary. I don’t use any kind of spray can sealant as that stuff doesn’t work at all. Don’t waste your money on it, as it’s only good to help inflate a tire, and it doesn’t do a good job of that either.
What’s not in the picture are gloves, a small air compressor (with built-in flashlight and flasher), a break-and-shake blue glow stick, and wet-wipe type clean up towels. (Say that fast three times.) As I mentioned, I’m also fond of carrying a full size spare tire mounted on a wheel so I have the option of changing out the wheel and tire combination and getting back on the road again with a proper tire. If I’m loaded up, I skip the full size wheel and tire, otherwise I like to have it, especially for long distance travel. If you carry a full size spare mounted on a wheel, you might wish to practice a five tire rotation.
Two other items, plainly visible, are jumper cables and reflectors. I’ve never used them for an emergency on the road, but if I need them, they’ll be very handy to have. I think jumper cables were much more important back when I was a young man of limited means and I tried to stretch my transportation dollars by living on the edge. I’m much more proactive these days, but even now a seemingly perfect battery can give you problems that are not otherwise obvious (e.g. a high resistance connection, and a cold snap that depletes battery capacity).
I consider what you see to be the basics of my car emergency kit, something that I always have available. It makes sense to me to have these items as the foundation of an emergency kit based not only on my experience, but the way all cars come to us from the factory…with a spare tire. Clearly, our experience shows that other than accidents and running out of gas, it’s most likely that tire failure (from a range of causes) will be the emergency we’ll need to deal with.
Clair Schwan has been known to change a tire or two on his vehicles. He’s also repaired several tires while on the vehicle. He knows that all manner of foreign objects can easily get embedded in tires and work their way far enough in to create a puncture.