Everything you need to keep in your car
So today I’m going to write something a little different. I’m going to confess to you a true story of a recent
disaster adventure that I had a couple of weeks ago…I think I’ll rename this post:
Confessions of the Time Fairy
I was with a client, and we had just been to the shops to stock up on groceries. My beloved car (nicknamed Bav) had been driving a little oddly of late, and on the way back from the shops, the car suddenly overheated. My client is pretty knowledgeable about cars (I expect her husband may find this amusing!) She certainly knew more than me anyway, and was able to advise me on what to do.
I immediately pulled over in the quiet country lane and popped open the bonnet. It turned out that my poor car had literally no water and we were out in the middle of nowhere. Being the organised person that I am, I happened to have a big bottle of water and a funnel in my boot, so I slowly filled up the water reservoir. The car guzzled the whole bottle, and for about 10 minutes we both listened with horror at the noises coming from my thirsty car. I was worried the car might either explode or vomit, but she assured me it wouldn’t!
While the car was guzzling away, I checked the oil and, as I had a rag and some oil in the boot, I topped that up too. It wasn’t really low, but hey, why not! I also topped up the windscreen washer fluid. Then I pulled out the bottle of coolant from the boot to add to the water. I don’t know what my client was thinking, but at this point, we were both laughing (at me) because of all the things I had in the boot for events like this!
I proceeded to add a second bottle of water but still the water was not at the minimum. Luckily my client had bought some water bottles and she kindly let me use a bottle to get it up to the minimum. Then when it had stopped making horrible noises, we set off – very slowly – and I watched the temperature dial all the way back! Thankfully we made it back safely, and Bav also got me home just fine.
I tell you this story because behind it is a message that you can never be too organised! I had enough of the right things in my boot to make the car work again. In fact, I had a lot more too. If my client had seen everything she probably would have been in hysterics!
We take cars for granted, but so many things can go wrong. I know how to do simple things like check levels, top things up, use the jumper cables. I know how to change a tyre, although I can’t actually do it because I’m not strong enough to undo the wheel nuts as they’re always on so tight! Here is a list of some of the things I always carry in my car:
Water, oil, windscreen washer fluid, funnel, rags, tyre gauge, tyre sealant, warning triangle, hi-viz jackets, jump leads, atlases, spare bulbs, a blanket, ice scrapers, gloves, plasters, change for parking, and a CPR mask (yes, really!)
My dad is probably the reason I have so much in there. He loves cars and I guess his passion for keeping them well looked after rubbed off on me a bit. Not enough for me to remember to check the water often enough though! And if you think I must have a big car, you’d be very wrong – it’s only a little Rover 25, but the boot has a huge box with all this stuff, so there isn’t a lot of room for much else!
Anyway, since this adventure, it turns out that my car’s head gasket was on its way out and the car broke down a week later, rather embarrassingly in the middle of a junction. I don’t know how much I am to blame for this because I didn’t top up the water often enough, but I like to think that it would have happened anyway! It’s a very common fault for this car, so I’m told. So now my poor Bav has gone to the big garage in the sky. I have replaced Bav and have promised myself that I will check the water and oil levels more frequently.
Since this incident I have had a look to see what the recommended things are that you should keep in your car for emergencies, and I actually only have 22 out of 42! I think you’d need a bus if you had everything. Here are the most common things, some of which are obvious, as well as a legal requirement! See how many you have , and maybe there are some things there that you think would be a good idea:
Breakdown cover information
First aid kit
Matches & candles
Seat belt cutter
Maps (in paper form)
Mylar blanket (space blanket)
Cardboard or carpet (for traction in mud or snow)
Petrol canister (empty!)
Windscreen washer fluid
Car battery charger
Change of clothes
Pen & paper
Mobile phone charger
Battery powered radio
An old mobile (turned off but 100% charged)