What items should my basic roadside emergency kit contain?
Car problems happen at the most unexpected and inconvenient times. Are you prepared? When the inevitable breakdown occurs, having a cell phone and a roadside emergency kit in the trunk of your car can mean the difference between getting back on the road or getting stuck for hours. You can buy a pre-assembled kit at many stores or make one of your own. Some basic items to include:
- First-aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Tire pressure gauge
- Tire-changing equipment (jack, lug wrench, well-inflated spare tire)
- Foam tire sealant or a portable compressor and plug kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Tool kit (a multi-tip screwdriver, pliers and wrenches)
- Warning light or roadside flares
- Fire extinguisher
- Extra fuses
- Two quarts of oil
- Gallon of antifreeze
- A pen and paper
- Water and nonperishable emergency food (Granola or energy bars)
How should I prepare my vehicle for winter?
- Augment your basic emergency kit with items for winter conditions:
- extra boots, gloves and winter hats
- extra set of warm clothes
- extra water and food, including hard candies
- windshield ice scraper
- small folding shovel
- tire chains
- tow strap
- bag of abrasive material such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter, which can provide additional traction
- chemical hand warmers
- windshield washer fluid
- windshield wipers
- Make sure your oil is the right thickness for cold conditions. Oil thickens in cold weather. For the proper oil, check your owner’s manual or just ask your Jensen service technician.
- Wiper blades should be changed every year and windshield washer fluid topped off to make sure you can see clearly in inclement weather.
- Ensure your heater and defroster are in working order.
- To ensure proper starting and operation, check that battery posts and connections are clean and corrosion-free. Also check that your battery has plenty of water.
- Check belts and hoses for wear and tear. Cold weather can be hard on these items.
- Check your tire pressure regularly. Tire pressure drops in colder temperatures. Check your owner’s manual or just ask your Jensen service technician for proper inflation.
- Make sure your antifreeze is the right type (50/50 mix of antifreeze/coolant and water) and at the right level.
- Keep the gas tank as full as you can. Empty or near-empty tanks can result in your gas lines freezing.
- For additional traction in snow and ice, consider snow tires.
What should I do to make sure my car is ready for summer?
- Make sure your air conditioning system is in proper working order and that it has enough Freon to ensure comfortable summer driving.
- Check your vehicle’s coolant level and examine the cooling system for leaks or discoloration of fluids.
- Check your battery to make sure it’s clean, has the necessary water and is ready for harsh summer driving conditions.
- Your tires should be inflated to the proper tire pressure for optimum summer driving. Check your owner’s manual or just ask your Jensen service technician.
- Make sure your tires are ready for harsh summertime road conditions by checking them for adequate tread and uneven wear.
- Wiper blades should be checked and windshield washer fluid topped off.
- Check belts and hoses for wear and tear.