Tis’ the season for a Minnesota winter! With cold and snowy days here, it’s best to be prepared for worst case scenarios. Here are 10 emergency kit items to have in your vehicle.
1. Ice Scraper
This is a necessity! When driving, visibility is key and having a sufficient ice scraper is the only way to get the job done. Throughout the winter keep an ice scraper in your trunk or back seat to ensure you’re ready for snow.
2. Portable Shovel
Hardly anyone has one in their trunk, but let’s be honest, getting stuck is pretty likely scenario in Minnesota. We’ve all been there. Having a portable shovel will help when digging the snow out from under your car.
3. Salt or Sand
Along with a shovel, top of the list in getting your car unstuck is salt or sand — or better yet, kitty litter! Some people even use the tiny rocks that go in fish tanks, because it gives the vehicle a pretty big “oomph” of traction. To help regain traction, spread the salt, sand or kitty litter around your wheels, especially the front wheels if you have a front–wheel drive vehicle or the rear wheels if you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle.
4. Jumper Cables
Car batteries die easily in cold weather and having a dead car battery is a pain! Instead of making the expensive call to a road side assistance or tow trunk company, have some jump start cables in your vehicle so you can get back on the road after asking a nearby driver for help.
To connect them, first look at the batteries and find the icons for positive and negative. Then (and this is important) connect the red clamps to the positive bolt of the dead battery. Then connect the matching red clamp to the positive bolt of the working battery. Afterward, connect the black clamp to the negative bolt of the good battery and then connect the black clamp to any metallic part of the car’s frame or engine block of the dead car (just NOT the battery).
5. Tool Kit
When it comes to a flat tire or other emergencies, sometimes those fixes can be repaired with the help of a tool kit. Have a kit in your car with basic tools such as a torque wrench with the correct size socket and extension, car jack, tire flat repair kit, electric air compressor (to air tire if you used a tire repair kit), or a Fix-A-Flat aerosal can.
6. Hat, Gloves, and Blanket
If you’re stuck and can’t get yourself out, having warm extra layers to stay warm is an essential – especially if you’re in a storm where a tow truck can’t get to you right away. Always pack an extra pair of hats, gloves, and a blanket to keep warm. That way, regardless if you’re changing a tire or stuck in your car, you’ll be warm.
7. Have a flashlight
Be sure to pack a flashlight with fresh batteries for when you have to check under your hood, change a tire, or if you’re waiting for help late at night and want to signal where you are.
8. First-Aid Kit
Getting hurt while changing a flat tire or during other emergencies can happen to anyone. When those moments happen, you’ll appreciate having a fully stocked First-Aid kit there for you. A First-Aid Kit should include bandages, gauze pads, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, skin inflammation/rash cream, aspirin, ibuprofen, or other pain-relieving medications, cotton swabs, sunscreen, aloe vera, a thermometer, and hand sanitizer.
9. Portable Phone Charger
Calling for help is the best way, to well, get help. Having a dead phone prevents that! Be sure to have a charged portable phone charger in your car to always have your phone when you need it.
10. Spare Tire!
It’s one thing to have a flat tire, but it’s a whole other level if you don’t have a spare. Having a spare tire takes the situation from bad to manageable – as long as you have your handy dandy toolkit with you!
When changing a flat tire, be sure to pull over in a safe location, turn on your hazard lights, and apply the parking brake. To change the flat tire, you’ll need a spare tire, carjack, lug wrench, and gloves.
1. Loosen the lug nuts
With the wrench, turn each lug nut clockwise until they’re able to be loosened by hand.
2. Grab your carjack to lift the car
Place the carjack under the metal portion of the car’s frame. Use the carjack until the tire lifts off the ground.
3. Loosen the lug nuts by hand
Once the wheel is off the ground, loosen the lug nuts by hand clockwise and place them in a pile together (so you don’t lose them).
4. Remove flat tire and put spare on
Remove the flat tire and line up the holes of the spare with the lug nut posts and position the spare on the wheelbase. Be sure to push the spare tire as far onto the wheel as you can.
5. Tighten lug nuts
Place the lug nuts on the tire, but do not tighten all the way! Next, lower the vehicle until it is touching the ground and begin tightening the lug nuts in increments. You will alter every other lug nut to help keep the tire straight.
6. Lower vehicle and further tighten lug nuts
Once the nuts feel tight enough, lower the vehicle completely and tighten them up as best as you can to keep the tire from loosening by itself.
Now that you have your emergency kit already to go, you’ll be prepared for whatever this winter has in store. Be safe, have fun, and enjoy the winter!