There are few things more freeing than jumping in your car, rolling down the windows, blasting your favorite playlist from your car stereo and going for a long drive. But if you don’t have the right set of auto tools, unexpected maintenance issues can take you from “free” to “stuck” very quickly. That’s why there are some essential auto tools you’ll need for every trip you take.
Multitools essentially fold an entire toolbox into one compact instrument. Look for a multitool that includes:
- A knife
- Cutting blades
- Both Phillips head and flat head screwdriver
Cordless Impact Wrench
Everyone who has ever had to change a flat tire agrees that the moment isn’t really one you want to last. The quicker you can get it over with, the better. But sometimes replacing a tire requires you to remove the lug nut from the newly flattened rubber. And lug nuts are, well, a tough nut to crack, as their removal takes a lot of time and effort.
Cordless impact wrenches make lug nut removal a much less time-consuming task compared to your standard lug wrench.
Car Battery Jump Starter
Perhaps the only thing more stressful than your car battery dying is having to ask a stranger “excuse me, can I take 30 minutes of your time to attach my jumper cables to your battery?” Or, even worse, when your car has broken down on an abandoned road where no one is around to help.
Luckily, you can purchase a portable car battery jump starter, a jumper with so much power that all you’ll need is jumper cables and the know-how to hook them up and your car will start right up. The best ones on the market can jumpstart an industrial truck. Additionally, some car battery jump starters are designed to double as a USB outlet for charging smartphones and electrical devices and can even triple as a flashlight.
Portable Air Compressor
Not all flat tires need immediate replacement. In most cases that don’t involve a nail or shard of glass spearing through the rubber, a portable air compressor can combat slow leaks to buy you enough time to drive to a mechanic. Sometimes, a portable air compressor can fix the problem entirely.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Checking tire pressure on a weekly basis can prevent tire blowouts by identifying underinflation. It’s one of those things that you can’t find as a warning light, but is still necessary. Choose a dial-face tire pressure gauge to get the most accurate reading.
While the above may be the “starting five,” that doesn’t mean they’re the only auto tools you should keep in the car.
Other useful tools include:
- Tow Strap – Lightweight but capable of pulling about five tons, tow straps are ultra-durable and can get your car back on the road without the need of a towing company.
- Car Window Breaker – It sounds ironic to purchase a tool that breaks something. But in extremely dangerous situations when seconds are all that exist between life and death, a car window breaker is invaluable.
- GPS – Usually, smartphones provide us with the navigational resources we need. But when your phone runs out battery or you’re driving through an extended “dead zone” with no signal, a great GPS navigation system is a must-have.
If you live in a colder climate, particularly one that dumps snow during the winter, then there are some additional auto tools you should keep in your inventory.
- Ice Scraper – Snow and ice stick to car windshields like glue. They can be a nuisance to remove. A durable ice scraper simplifies the task. Without one, your credit card is in for a rough morning.
- Folding Shovel – Tires stuck in a mound of snow? You don’t need to keep spinning your wheels. A folding shovel will allow you to efficiently dig your tires out of a snowbank.
Now You’re Ready to Drive
Much like the weather, cars can be temperamental, and you never know when an issue with your car’s engine or tires might occur. But if you bring the proper auto tools on your next long trip, you’ll be ready for any trouble your car or Mother Nature throws your way.