Owner’s Manual– This is invaluable for many things. All cars come with one or find one online if your new, used car doesn’t have one. It has fluid types and specifications and wiper/air cleaner filter sizes. I love going through mine when I’m not driving. I find some new info every time!
Lug Wrench– I’m sure there is one in your car already, but make sure it’s one you can use easily. I find a four-way wrench is easier for me, as it gives a little more leverage for us less strong individuals. It also fits different size bolts.
Spare Tire– Always make sure your spare tire is in good shape and is properly inflated. Even if you have road assistance, it’s good to be ready with your spare.
Jumper Cables– Dead battery? Ask someone for a jump and you’ll be ready with your own cables. You are also ready to help someone else with a jump. I know I was grateful to get a jump from someone before I kept my own cables in my car.
Shovel– A collapsible shovel can help so much if you get stuck in the snow.
Tire Gauge– Check tires every other week, especially when the temperature is fluctuating often. Underinflated tires are terrible for your gas mileage.
Duct Tape– There are many uses for this in the car, as well as around the house. Use it for quick upholstery repairs, holding on a damaged tail light, or temporarily holding up a muffler.
Fire Extinguisher– They make compact ones just for cars and boats. Always make sure it’s not expired and that it’s in working condition. It’s a good idea to keep one in the kitchen too!
Flashlight– Have a small penlight and a larger police type. Make sure batteries are fresh and flashlights are operational.
Break-out Tool– In case of an accident, this tool will allow you to cut your seatbelt or break your side window to escape.
WD40– This lubricant works wonders to loosen bolts or fasteners around batteries and air cleaners. It will also help remove tar and bugs. It also removes gum from carpet and upholstery.
Blankets– You never know if you’re going to break down in winter. Blankets are also handy if you’re going to a sporting event. I’ve been to a few spring little league games where a blanket would have been useful!
Extra clothes, socks and jackets– These are valuable if you break down, but are also great if your feet get wet or someone needs a jacket at a sporting event. Gloves, scarves, and waterproof boots will come in handy for winter snows.
Food and Water– Again, these are break down necessities, but are good to have in the car in case you get hungry. This way you’ll avoid trips through the fast food lane! I keep small packs of crackers and nuts, as I’m in my car a lot. They really come in handy!
First Aid Kit– This is great to have; make sure to replenish used items and throw out expired items. Include ibuprofen, antacids, and Pepto Bismol.
Money– You never know when you’ll need it! Keep $40 in the glove compartment for emergencies.
Paper Towels and Window Cleaner– Keep those windows clean for safe driving!
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO