Just bought a new car? I am sure you are basking in the supple leather and that new car smell with a full-tank, ready to ride off into the sunset.
But are you really ready to drive off? Once your car has gas, it may seem like you have all the essentials, but not quite. These 18 items are absolute must-haves for every car owner. They will see you out of trouble and make the difference between a good day and a bad day.
- The owner’s manual: as a new car owner, your manual is your best friend. Apart from giving you insight into all the tricks and fittings your car has, it will also be helpful when you are faced with your first car issue.
- Car documents: your registration papers, insurance details and license information should ALWAYS be in your car to prevent unpleasant confrontations with law enforcement agents. Remember, that the law demands you have all these documents at hand if you are driving. Keep them all in one place for ease of access such as in the glove-box.
- Repair information: always have a business card or the contact information of your auto-repair company so you are not left stranded. Your insurance company may also be helpful in this situation so keep your claim forms easily accessible.
- Insurance: a new car is like a baby, you have to protect it. The best way to do this is by getting insurance. Car insurance gives you coverage during accidents, vandalism, fires, theft and many other situations. If you are in New Zealand, consider using a provider such as AMI Insurance or talk to your current insurance provider about providing cover for your new car.
- Jumper Cables and a battery booster: jumper cables are used to kick-start weak batteries. If your car battery dies, you can easily give it some juice and be on your way. This is very useful if you are in a hurry, or running late. You can also get a compact jump-starter kit, many of which have USB connections that can charge multiple devices.
- Duct tape: the usefulness of duct tape can not be overemphasized. Car owners have used duct tape to hold up their fenders, to keep wind-shield wipers in place, to keep the spare key stashed under the back tire, in short, to do a thousand things and more. You need it.
- Lug Wrench and Tire Jack: one of the first skills you should acquire as a new car owner is how to change a set of tires. To change them you need these two tools, a tire jack and a lug wrench, and most importantly, an inflated spare tire. If you have a jack and leave the lug wrench at home, you will not be able to change your car tires should the need arise.
- Lug nut key: depending on the type of car you have, your lug nuts may have special locks, so you will need a lug nut key in this situation in order to change your tires.
- Tire Pressure Gauge: this handy tool helps you check how much air your tires have lost and how much to add. Tires may not look flat, but it is still advised that you check them regularly.
- WD 40: next to duct tape, WD-40 is the second holy grail for car owners. WD-40 is a degreasing agent traditionally used for squeaky hinges. But, it can also be used to clean rusty license plates, clears carbon residue from spark plugs, protects spark plugs from moisture and removes grease, dirt and grime from car parts.
- A Multi-Tool kit: multi-tools give many different tools in one compact package. Most multi- tools contain screwdrivers, scissors, sharp edge, and a pen knife that you can use in indifferent situations.
- Reflective Triangles and Flares: another night-time essential, reflective triangles or flares are placed on the road, if you have pulled off to the side of the road, in the direction of oncoming traffic to prevent other drivers from running into you or your vehicle. They increase visibility for other drivers and keep you safe until help arrives.
- A change of clothes: this is very essential, you don’t want to miss an important meeting because someone spilled coffee on your shirt or you got caught in the rain. Neither does it paint a good picture for you to show up wet or stained. Also have gloves, a warm jacket, a spare tie, a scarf and a warm cap or hat.
- Glove compartment essentials: there are certain things that must be in your glove compartment. Having them there will save you time, prevent stress and even save your life. They include:
- Pen/pencil and paper
- Emergency money (keep this stashed in more than one place)
- Sanitary towels, pantyliners or tampons
- A car hammer to break windows and seat belt cutter for dire emergencies
- Instant cleaning items: antibacterial wipes, tissue, paper towels or a regular hand towel, and hand-sanitizer.
- Fire extinguisher
- Emergency supplies kit: you are going to spend a lot of time in your car so it makes sense that you are ready for emergencies. You can keep your emergency kit in your trunk.
What should this kit contain?
- Tactical flashlight: useful for night-time situations
- Lighter, matches and any other fire starting equipment
- Snacks such as energy bars, granola bars, and protein bars , also instant foods such as noodles. Dried foods such as jerky are also good to have.
- Weather radio
- A physical map
- A space blanket
- Umbrella or raincoat
- Chains, carpet or cardboard scraps: you can place these under your tires to gain traction on snowy, icy roads.
- Wind-shield Wiper Fluid: when driving in winter conditions, wiper fluid will make it easy to keep your screen clean and get slush, sludge and ice off. You need clear visibility when driving during the winter, wiper fluid will help you.
- Ice-scraper and Snowbrush: a winter essential, ice-scrapers will help you get ice, sludge and snow off your windshield without any scratches or damage to your car. Use a snowbrush to get snow off your car roof, this prevents the snow from sliding down your screen when you start driving or flinging off onto other cars and people.
Now, you are ready to drive off into the sunset without looking back. But you can get a theoretical lesson on how to change your tires or jump-start your battery here.