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So you’re stuck on a road

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Getting stuck on an unfamiliar road can be a nightmare situation. Do you have what you need in case your vehicle leaves you stranded? Are you prepared for a vehicle emergency? Here are some recommended essentials every motorist should have at their disposal just in case…

1) A spare tire! So you think your new car automatically comes equipped with a spare? WRONG? A doughnut or the full-sized spare of yesteryear has fallen by the wayside in many new vehicles, replaced by a repair kit designed to seal small leaks. The kit however is pretty useless, especially if you happen to snag a road hazard that rips your tire to shreds! Fuel economy requirements have prompted automakers to start offering smaller, temporary spares, and in some vehicles, no spares at all. So if you don’t have an extra tire in your trunk, get one PRONTO because you just never know. Yes, there should be ample disclosure when it comes to your vehicle of choice but alas…. Some automakers do have a “no spare” disclosure on the inside door panel, but if you want to know for sure, check with the dealer or car rental company.

2) Keep a flashlight handy. One of the smartest things you can do is to always keep a flashlight around and one that works. Store the torch in a dry, cool place like your glove compartment. Make sure you have extra batteries that are fresh and working so that you’ll never be left in the dark.

3) Great fixer uppers. Vinyl tape is a great mend for a radiator hose; jumper cables will perk up a dead battery; bungee cords are super fasteners; a gallon of coolant does the trick for parched radiators; extra engine oil will take care of that annoying tapping sound; an extra fan belt is the answer just in case yours snaps and a small tool box with pliers, various screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches for the ‘whatyoumacallit’ that needs tweaking. Make sure to keep reflectors and flares on hand so that your vehicle will be more visible to drivers that might suffer from the dreaded night blindness.

4) Don’t forget the small essentials…a roll of paper towel; antibacterial wipes; pair of work gloves; coveralls (no need to mess up a cute outfit); First Aid Kit; fold up umbrella and rain poncho; blanket and believe it or not, a 5-pound bag of kitty litter which works pretty well for tire traction on icy surfaces.

5) Munchies. A morsel or two of a non-perishable snack could come in handy if you’re stranded for a few hours. Snacks like an energy bar in the glove compartment that will retain its freshness for more than a minute but do check on the expiration date every now and then.

6) Cell phone. Nowadays, pretty much everyone carries a cell phone that is great for especially emergencies. A smart move would be to always carry a charger for your cell in the car, so that you can always be ready to make an urgent call if need be. The extra money spent on a car charger will be well worth it.

--Car Chick

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