While I was checking my spare tire a few days ago, I was reminded that I never got around to replacing the emergency toolbox I took out of my truck. Somehow water got into it, probably from a carelessly spilled drink or slushy feet. Most of the tools were rusted beyond saving and the toolbox was horribly stained.
It probably wasn’t a very effective emergency toolbox anyway. When I put the first toolbox together, I was much younger and less experienced with vehicles and tools. I just threw in spare tools I had lying around that I thought might be useful to make roadside repairs
Here are the contents of the previous box:
- Ball peen hammer
- Bit driver with multiple bit storage
- Vise Grips
- Strap Wrench
- Various sized combination wrenches
I stored all of these tools in a small plastic blow molded Craftsman toolbox — that obviously wasn’t waterproof — under my back seat.
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Now you can obviously buy emergency tool kits at any auto parts store, but usually the quality of the tools are atrocious and everybody’s needs are going vary by quite a bit. So rather than purchase a kit, I’m going to put together a box with quality tools.
Drawing on my life experience and some careful thought, I came up with several factors that should go into preparing an emergency toolbox.
- What kinds of emergencies should I plan for?
- What are the likely things to go wrong with a specific vehicle?
- How far away is help going to be?
- What is the repair proficiency of the driver?
Unfortunately, many vehicle repairs require replacement parts, so that really limits the number of repairs you can perform on the side of the road. That doesn’t mean this is a futile exercise, there are still plenty of problems that can occur that are easily fixable given the right tools.
Here are some of the likely scenarios I’m thinking about for my 2001 Chevy Silverado:
- Flat tires
- Fluid leak
- Fender bender
- Electrical problems
I’m focusing on roadside repairs and purposely leaving out personal emergency supplies and “getting stuck” scenarios, because those could be two other full posts in themselves.
So given those scenarios, I’m thinking of loading a new emergency tool kit with the following:
- Floodlight flashlight, LED of course
- Tire plugs
- Small compressor
- Gorilla tape
- Silicone tape
- Ball peen hammer
- Metric combo wrenches
- Pliers wrench
- Bit driver with bits
- Wire and connectors
- Complete set of replacement fuses.
It would be nice to find a small waterproof box that would fit under my back seat to fit all of these tools. Plus I’m thinking a nice touch would be to embed all the tools in Kaizen foam so they don’t rattle about.
So what roadside repairs would you prepare for?
What tools do you carry in your vehicle for roadside emergencies?
Stuart’s Note: A couple of feet of twine might be a good idea, or even better – a coil of paracord plus scissors or a utility knife. A multi-tool would be a good stand-in for a knife, and adds in pliers that might come in handy. Maybe some alcohol or cleaning wipes? Not even Gorilla tape can securely stick to really dirty surfaces.