Make us your home page

Be prepared in case of a breakdown

While it's true that today's vehicles are more reliable than those of past years, it still makes sense to be prepared in case of a breakdown. Having an emergency kit on hand is a good idea for any driver, but it can be especially important if you live or drive in rural areas or places that experience extreme weather. Here are some ideas from auto experts and the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration for preparing kits:

The most important, and most basic, items to have on hand in case of vehicle breakdown, our experts say, are a charged cellphone, a charger that works in the car and an auto club or insurance card that allows you to access towing or basic mechanical assistance.

Other items that you would do well to include in an emergency kit include:

• Drinking water

• Nonperishable food and snacks

• Flashlight and extra batteries

• Blankets

• First-aid kit with, at minimum, bandages, gauze, tape, antiseptics and hand cleanser

• Jumper cables (make sure they have good cables and grips)

• Vehicle jack and a spare tire, or some other fix-a-flat solution

Keep these in a hard plastic case in your vehicle. In addition, the NHSTA suggests adding these to your kit:

• Flares, warning triangle and/or a white flag

• Medicines

• Emergency lamp, extra batteries

• Warm clothing

You might want to consider including a fire extinguisher. Our experts say the best kind is a 2.75-pound dry-chemical type, which should be stored in the front seat area or in the glove compartment and not in the back, which is nearer the fuel tank.

If you're handy enough to consider working on a vehicle problem, you may want to keep on hand a supply of tools, parts and supplies, such as:

• Duct tape, which could be used to repair a hose so you can drive yourself to a repair shop

• A basic tool kit of standard screwdrivers and screws, screw holders, Allen and socket wrenches, hammers and pliers

• Extra air and fuel filters, rotors and fan belts

• Metal or plastic funnels, which can help with filling the radiator or adding oil and transmission fluid

• Clean, lint-free rags

Be prepared in case of a breakdown 09/13/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 13, 2013 8:51am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item,

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain


    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  3. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]
  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity


    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  5. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]