*This is a sponsored post with Cars.com.*
In my line of work, I take a lot of road trips, so it’s critical that I keep my car maintained on a regular basis. However, even with the best-maintained car, things can still happen. A tire may go flat, a hose can bust or the battery can die. That’s why I always carry a safety kit with several key items, things that can help get me back on the road long enough to seek the assistance of a qualified mechanic. In fact, I never leave home without making sure these top five items are always in my car.
It’s never fun to turn the key in the ignition and get no response. While this could be an indicator of a more serious problem, more often than not, it’s the sign of a dead or dying battery. Having jumper cables on hand means you can get power to your battery by drawing off the battery power of another car. Whether traveling out of state or down the street, it’s always a good idea to have jumper cables in the car.
2. Portable Air Pump
Nothing is more aggravating than walking out to your car and seeing a flat tire. But don’t grab the tire iron and spare just yet. By keeping a portable air pump in the car, you can pump the tire back up to its recommended PSI, and then head to your local tire shop for a repair or replacement. Portable air pumps are small and plug right into the power outlet on the car. They make take a few extra minutes to pump up the tire, but it’s better than being stranded on the side of the road.
3. Gallon of Water
In hot temperatures, it can be easy for a car to overheat, draining much needed fluids from the radiator. In the event this happens, wait for the car to cool off completely, and then remove the radiator cap. DO NOT try to remove the radiator cap before the engine has completely cooled off; otherwise, you may sustain injuries from red-hot water and fluids. Add water to the radiator until it is full. This should provide enough fluids to get the car to a mechanic, who can properly drain and replace the necessary fluids in the motor.
4. Electrical Tape
This may sound unnecessary, but electrical tape is good for much more than just electrical systems. If you have a busted hose under the hood, you can temporarily seal it using electrical tape. It should hold long enough for you to drive the car to a mechanic for repair or replacement.
5. Bottled Water, Snacks, Blankets
Sometimes, you do get stranded on the side of the road, awaiting a tow, roadside assistance or a family member coming to pick you up. The best-case scenario features help arriving in short order, but that’s not always reality. Therefore, it’s important to keep some bottled water, snacks and blankets in the car. These necessities could be invaluable items during a long wait, especially with kids or during cold weather.
No one likes having car trouble or breaking down on the side of the road. However, with these top five items in your car, you can help eliminate the amount of time your car is out of commission — at least long enough for you to get your car to a mechanic. If you’re looking for more tips on taking care of your car, check out the expert tips from Cars.com.