Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How To Survive Your Car Breaking Down

1.) Have a properly inflated spare tire or donut in your vehicle available for use along with a jack and tire iron. I would also keep some work gloves and a few towels in the trunk to aid you when you need to change a tire.

2.) Have some road flares or reflective triangles available to place safely behind your vehicle should you break down to keep other drivers in "the know" that you are disabled and on the side of the road. This could help prevent your vehicle from being struck from behind.

3.) Have a cell phone charger in your car that runs off your cigarette lighter in your vehicle.

4.) Keep a quart of oil and some anti-freeze in your trunk, you never know when you may need them.

5.) Throw and extra jacket or sweater in your vehicles trunk

6.) Keep a few bottles of water in your vehicle to be used in the event of an emergency.

7.) Invest in one of those battery charger/inflators. These things are fantastic and you need to make sure to keep it charged or make sure it can plugged into the cigarette lighter (won't help with a dead battery). You will be ok if you take it out every few months and ensure it is charged.

8.) Keep a small first aid kit in the car incase someone hurts themselves (like when they are changing the tire or lighting the flares).

9.) Always may sure you have some cash or at least a credit card with you in case you need to be towed. Most towing companies can be real pains when it comes to this and they won't tow without something up front.

10.) Always have a decent set of jumper cables available, they have saved me on a few ocassions and I have also been able to help a few folks out as well.

...that is all.

 Subscribe to Be A Survivor and Follow me on Twitter

Buy Be A Survivor stuff! ~ Donate to Be A Survivor! ~ Join "The Survivalists"!


  1. Items to add to number 1: a 4-way tire tool, or at least a longer lug wrench than the silly thing that probably came in your car. Tire shops torque the heck out of lug nuts and they can be hard to get off. I had to borrow a tool the first time I had a flat because the little wrench that came with the car was so short I couldn't loosen the nuts. I bought a big lug wrench that day. If you get the 4-way kind you probably won't have to buy another when you get a new car if the lug nuts are a different size. Make sure that everyone who drives the car is able to get the lug nuts off. Especially important for small framed teenagers and the elderly. Also, get a small hydraulic floor jack and a heavy board to set it on. These are much easier to use than the little jacks that come with most new cars. The board is important if you have to pull off on an unpaved shoulder as the jack may be pushed into the ground instead of lifting the car.

    Other items to have:

    A flashlight with spare batteries. I have several in all of my cars. A headlamp is great to have, too, if you are changing a tire at night in a rural area.

    I keep a spare pair of boots (already broken in) in my car and a complete set of clothes including socks and underwear, as well as a rain suit that has a jacket and pants. Don't forget a hat, and maybe your old spare pair of prescription glasses.

    When you change belts and hoses you might stick the old ones in the trunk as spares unless they are already to worn out for that purpose. A spare belt or hose may keep you driving, especially on a Sunday. Out here a lot of the stores and all the shops are closed on Sunday.

    A small set of tools or at least a Leatherman type tool.

    An air compressor or air pump. A compressor that runs off +12VDC is great. If you get a slow leak in a tire out in the middle of nowhere you can stop from time to time and pump it up. A hand pump will do but make sure everyone that drives the car can use it.

    A heavy rope or one of the tow straps are great to have for obvious reasons. A come-along might is a good idea but they are fairly heavy and bulky. No problem if you have a pickup with a toolbox but you don't want that in your compact car.

    A folding shovel.

    In the winter you might put some sand in a bag in the trunk in case you need just a little traction.

    You could substitute distilled water for the antifreeze. If you had to you could drink it.

    A tire plug kit and/or Fix-a-Flat are a good idea.

    A fire extinguisher.

    An empty gas can. A 1 gallon one like they sell for use with chain saws will do. If you run out of gas you can carry a fuel back to your car. A 5 gallon can takes up a lot of space and is very heavy to carry very far.

    Duct tape, bailing wire, and tie wraps. Many uses. If you get into a minor accident they can be used to keep body trim from vibrating when you drive home, for example. I repaired a damaged trip molding on one of my vehicles 5 years ago with tie wraps and it works so well I've never had to get it repaired "properly".

  2. I just have to say that I found your site some time ago, and posts like the one today are so helpful. I've put a link to your site from mine - hope that's okay.



    Mungo Says Bah!

  3. Great post!
    Gets the brain to working on what to carry. Looks like others are already chiming in!

    Keep Up The Good Work!


  4. Bitmap...all great suggestions!

  5. Flea,

    I check your blog regularly. Thanks for your unique angle on being a survivor; I find many useful nuggets of information that I can use on your site.

    I mention the following because you have discussed some of the mainstream survivor shows previously. When you have time, I would highly recommend that you check out the very interesting Patrolling video series by Sean Kennedy. For example, check out the following Google video of Season 1, Episode 8. These episodes, like your blog, are chock-full of fantastic information on gear and the preparedness mentality, and the shows are highly entertaining for survival-minded people.

    They are all free to view online, just do a search.

    Season 1, Ep. 8 link:

    Like the movies you review, maybe you could use your blog-eloquence to do a review of some of the Patrolling episodes?

    -a prepped' PhD
    (Please note that I'm in no way affiliated with the above mentioned show. I'm just spreading the word because I found them very useful, like your work.)

  6. Found you through Blog Catalog. Inviting you to Win Pirates of The Caribbean: At World's End DVD