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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]
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