First-Aid-Kit

It can happen to you at any time. You know, those automotive glitches that just ruin your day. Things such as getting stuck in mud or snow, batteries that go dead, tires that go flat and other poorly-timed inconveniences.  As they say, the best defense is a good offense so let's get prepared with some automotive emergency gear so you are ready for whatever Murphy's Law throws your way. The sales staff at Patrick Autobody in Schaumburg, IL, a factory-authorized autobody repair center, suggested to us a list of 7 items that every motorist should consider keeping in their car.

1) Jumper Cables – Everyone should keep a set of jumper cables in their car because batteries can go dead at any time. All it takes is for a small internal light to be accidently left on and your battery could be flat dead in a few hours. And, even if it isn't your car that misbehaves, having a set of jumper cables might help out another motorist. By the way, if you are buying jumpers, avoid the cheap $10-$15 sets as they don't work very well.  Expect to pay $25-$40 for a good set that will pass gobs of power when you are jumping batteries.

2)    Fix-A-Flat – If you get a flat tire, you don't always have to change it out with your spare. You might be able to use Fix-A-Flat. Fix-A-Flat is a special aerosol can that attaches to the valve stem of a flat tire. When it is activated, it fills the tire with air and squirts a sealant inside to seal the leak. Fix-A-Flat is best used when you have a "puncture wound" from a nail, screw or something else. It won't work well for lacerations on tire sidewalls.

3)    Flashlight – You just know that the next time your car breaks down, it will be at night. The solution is to get a good quality flashlight. You probably know that the cheap $1-$2 lights at the Dollar Store aren't "mission ready" for this sort of thing. Invest in a $20-$30 LED flashlight and get some fresh alkaline batteries.

4)    Hand Tools – Every car should have a basic set of tools in it. You could grab a few extra tools that you have around the house but the best thing to do is purchase a kit that comes with a good selection. You've probably seen these in auto parts and hardware stores. They typically come in form-fitted plastic cases and contain screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches and often sockets. These kits are generally just $20-$40.

5)    Work gloves – Few people think about stashing work gloves in their car. A set of work gloves is a really good thing to have among your emergency gear.  Not only can you use them to keep your hands clean when you are performing a repair or changing a tire, you may really need them to keep your hands warm during cold weather.

6)     – You need a first aid kit in your car, especially if you have children. These are usually available in pharmacies as a small, comprehensive kit that is easily stowed in your car. They typically include bandaids, elastic wraps, a cold compress, surgical tape, antiseptic and other things. The glove box may be the best place to keep your first aid kit so you can get at it quickly.

7)    Folding Shovel – Yes, this may seems a bit excessive but a shovel could save the day if you get stuck in snow or mud.  The folding ones are small and generally can be stowed away with your spare tire or just under a seat.

Additional items:  If you really want to be ready for anything, you might want to consider some additional items such as a rain jacket, drinking water, a snow brush and some sand (for traction). Think about the emergencies you have been in in the past and see if you can identify items that could have "saved the day". Consider adding those to your emergency gear too.

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