Summer Emergency Kit
The nice weather has arrived and the road trip planning has begun. You have summer tires on your vehicle and have had your car checked over at First Gear Automotive, you are ready to roll. Yet, you may have over looked one critical component to a safe road trip. A summer emergency kit. Most of us remember to have an emergency kit in our cars during the winter season in case we get stranded in the snow. However, many people do not think about a summer emergency kit and what is should be included in it. There are different items that need to go in your emergency kit depending on the season. These are First Gear’s recommendations to include in your summer emergency kit to give you peace of mind wherever the open road takes you this season.
Road Side Assistance Program
A road side assistance program is a monthly or yearly subscription that offers you help when your car breaks down. They can usually fix smaller problems like flat tires, battery boosts, new batteries and locking keys in the car. They will also tow you to a mechanic shop for larger issues. Many car manufacturers, insurance companies, credit card companies and stores (Costco, CAA, Canadian Tire) have there own program. With some comparison shopping you can find the program that works best for you. Usually the price of one tow is equal to what the cost of the program will be for an entire year. The peace of mind that it offers you if you are taking a lot of road trips or travelling alone is well worth the price.
Tire Gauge & Tire Repair Kit
Air expands when heated and contracts when cooled, so as the temperature rises outside, your tires’ inflation pressure goes up. This can increase the risk of a blow out. First Gear Automotive recommends checking your tire pressure every month to ensure the proper pressure. The correct PSI (pounds per square inch) for your vehicle can be found on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door or in your owner’s manual and can be checked with a tire gauge.
Tire cracks also know as dry rot is when a tire dries out and cracks. It can be very dangerous to drive your car with even one dry rot tire. The tire has less traction when turning corners. It also loses stability when braking and can even result in a tire blow out. The first step to preventing dry rot is to invest in new, high-quality tires. If you are looking for the best summer season tires to buy read our article here. High temperatures and excessive or direct expose to sunlight can cause dry rot so it is important to keep an extra close eye on your tires in the summer. Keeping a tire repair kit in your emergency pack will help you patch up any small issues until you can get into a shop or replace your tire.
A jack is an important part of any car emergency kit, but it will not do you any good if you don’t know how to use it. When choosing a jack it is important to select one with the correct weight rating for your vehicle. You want to make sure the jack can handle MORE weight than your car. If your car weighs 1.5 tons, you’ll want a 2-ton jack. This ensures that you are not operating at the edge of a jack’s capabilities. You will also want to make sure that you select the right jack type for your vehicle. If you have a sedan or sports car a low-profile hydraulic floor jack will be best. If you drive a small truck or SUV you will want a pop-up hydraulic bottle jack. A hi-Lift jack is best if you own a truck. Check your vehicle’s manual to see where the factory lift points are located. Never assume that the spot you’ve picked is safe before lifting, you run the risk of damaging the vehicle or potentially creating a dangerous situation.
Road Flares or Reflective Triangles
Reflectors help other vehicles see you when your car is stalled. There are especially helpful if you find yourself in the middle of nowhere in the dark. LED flares are better than traditional flares as they last longer and are reusable. It is a good idea to have both reflector triangles and LED lights in your kit. The triangles work great during the day but are not so great at night and the LED flares are the reverse, great at night so so great during the day.
During the summer you want to make sure to have water on hand if you are stranded for long time. The basic rule is that you want one gallon of water per person. You don’t want to leave water in your vehicle in plastic for long amounts of time so try to use the water and replace it often.
You may not need the blanket to stay warm, but you can use a reflective emergency blanket for shade if stranded in the hot sun. If you don’t have a reflective blanket, the blanket from your winter emergency kit will work to shade you from the blistering sun.
A Small Tool Kit
A small tool kit should include an adjustable wrench, some duct tape, a couple screwdrivers and pliers. They don’t take up much space and may help you get back on the road fast.
First Aid Kit
A small first aid kit can be very important if you hurt yourself while trying to repair your car. A basic kit that includes assorted bandages, antiseptic towelettes and alcohol wipes is all you need.
Including some snacks in your emergency kit are important if you have to wait for hours for your road side assistance to arrive. Make sure that you choose options that do not melt or go bad like energy bars, dried fruits, nuts, or jerky.
Most people carry a cell phone with them everywhere they go these days, but if you are going away for a digital detox weekend and want to leave the electronics at home make sure to throw a cell phone in the emergency kit with an extra charged battery pack so you can call for help if needed.
If you have to wait outside of your vehicle for safety you might find yourself in the blistering sun for hours. Having sunscreen in your kit will help keep your skin protected from sun burns.
Safety Hammer/Seat belt Cutter Combo
This tool helps you cut your self out of the seat belt if stuck or break windows in order to escape the vehicle. This should not be kept in the back of your vehicle with the rest of the kit but in your side console or glove box so that you and your passenger are able to access it easily if needed.
Having to make repairs, change a tire or boost a battery can be challenging in the dark. If you have a flashlight it can help you fix the problem faster and ensure that you do it safely.
One of the most common causes of surprise car problems is a dead battery. Having jumper cables means that you only have to find another friendly vehicle to give you a boost. However if you are all alone on a selected street in the country finding another vehicle may not be so easy. Adding a rechargeable jump starter to your emergency kit means you do not need another car to jump start your battery. First Gear Automotive recommends the NOCO Boost Plus. It will boost your car and also has the ability to recharge any USB device, like a phone when you need it most. Another great feature of this is that it is rechargeable.
A small box will easily hold all the items in your summer emergency kit items. You can tuck into one tiny area of your vehicle and forget about it. It is our hope that you never need to use any of them, however the peace of mind of having this available is worth the car space. Keeping you and your passengers safe and getting you back on the road faster. First Gear Automotive is here to answer any emergency kit questions and to help you stock yours for a safe and enjoyable summer.