There are some items that no car owner should be without as you don’t want to be calling out the AA for every minor repair. Ideally, you need everything at hand to change a flat tyre, jump start your vehicle, and at least understand minor malfunctions such as problems with your air conditioning.
Then you can put your feet up, knowing you’ve covered most eventualities!
Here are the essential ingredients we recommend for your first car tool kit.
An emergency safety kit
First and foremost, you need to ensure you’ll always be safe if you’re ever unfortunate enough to be in an accident. Make sure you have an emergency kit, like this one from the AA, in your car at all times. It includes items such as a torch, a whistle, and a comprehensive first-aid kit – everything you need to be prepared for an emergency, in case you ever end up in one.
Your car manual
Your car manual is your friend – although we agree it could be written in a more female-friendly way. It’s designed to tell you everything you need to know about your vehicle, so make sure you have one (if not, get one immediately after buying the car) and keep it in the glove box at all times. That way, when the likes of a red light you’ve never seen before starts flashing on the dashboard, you’ll be able to look it up and know what it means. This simple step can save you hundreds of pounds in repair costs, providing you identify when to take your car into the garage straight away, rather than waiting until the repair bill has soared through further damage as a result of this delay.
Everything you need to replace a flat tyre
One of the most common roadside repairs involves a flat tyre and you’ll need to know what to do if and when this involves you. First of all, check if your car has a spare wheel in advance. A puncture is often the first time that motorists realise their new car hasn’t got a spare wheel and they’re expected to use a puncture repair kit in the boot. Or perhaps your car has runflat tyres fitted. Would you know what to do in these instances? It’s best to be prepared, as ever.
Some motorists tell us it’s quicker to change a wheel themselves than wait for the emergency services but that depends on their experience and a safe environment to do this. Where in doubt, call your emergency breakdown service, as ever. But if you’ve been on one of FOXY’s garage evenings and your car has a suitably inflated spare at the time, you’ll have a good idea of how to do this for yourself. In which case, check you have your wheel nut key, a scissor jack, a mat for kneeling on and some gloves. You can buy the last three items online from retailers such as Autosessive which includes free delivery on all orders over £30.
NB: After your wheel has been changed, make sure you put your wheel locking nut in a safe place. Tyre centres need this to change your tyres in future – and some have been known to forget to return them to the motorist after.
Another indispensable item for a motorist’s boot is a set of jumper cables. You’ll need these if your engine ever dies, usually as a result of a flat battery. You’ll also need a good Samaritan who’s willing to give you a jump start.
Be careful though, using jumper cables can be dangerous if you get the connections wrong, so make sure you know how to use them before you attempt it yourself.
Have a read of this great guide from How Stuff Works to get familiar with the process, and perhaps print a copy off and keep it in your glove box for reference in case you need to do the real thing.
Every driver should make sure they have these items in their car tool kit, which they should keep in the boot of their car at all times. This will make you a more confident motorist, because you know what to do and when. Not just that but you can also carry out minor repairs yourself helping run a safer and more reliable car, saving you money as well.
For more information like this, plus 1:1 advice and support services designed to make you a safer and savvier motorist, we recommend you join the Club of course.