• A Great Tool Kit to Keep in a Car

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  • I'm looking for suggestions for pre-packaged tool kits that would be suitable to keep in my car. I'm not necessarily looking for an automotive tool kit, but instead just a general tool kit that would be helpful for most situations that arise. Screwdriver sets, pliers, socket wrenches, etc.

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    Question by forgueam

forgueam, forgive me for beating around the bush and not answering the question you really asked, but there are some things to think about when outfitting yourself like this-- things like where are you going to put this tool kit, and what do you expect from it and from the new improved forgueam with a tool kit? Knowing where you're going to put it isn't unimportant- storage options vary widely from one vehicle to another, and you need something that'll fit the space available and still be easily available to use. Knowing what to expect from yourself and your tool kit may keep you out of some trouble. If there are specific tasks you know how to do, and expect to have to do, you may want the specific tools for those tasks-- things like changing a battery, for instance, or tightening a loose connection of some sort. Those tasks will vary based on the type of vehicle you're dealing with and the combination of your competence and confidence in dealing with it. I still see the old Ford tool kits around that you could fix just about anything that was liable to go wrong on your Model T or A, right by the side of the road.

You may be overlooking an opportunity here. Myself, I enjoy putting together a custom-made kit a lot more than letting someone do it for me, but finding good tools cheap at a pawnshop, used tool place, thrift store or flea market may not bring everyone the joy it brings me, and that's all right. Not everybody has my kind of time on their hands, either.

Something else to think about is what you expect from yourself once you've got your tool kit in your car. I don't know how many tools I've bought for no other reason than for the idea of the new improved me I'd be with this new tool, which I might use someday under some obscure circumstance. Sometimes I've surprised myself and actually used it. When it gets right down to it, though, if I've got a good stout screwdriver to use for all the things you're not supposed to do with it, a multi-bit screwdriver that'll fit the kinds of screws on my vehicle, a good pocketknife, a pair of channellocks big enough to hammer on item #1 if I need to, a crescent wrench, some wire cutters, and those specific tools for the specific tasks I expect, from experience, to need, I'm happy. As long as I've got a telescoping magnet and a hemostat to get the things I drop into inaccessible places. So good luck, and maybe somebody will provide with an actual answer to the question you asked!

Answer by dave

Personally, I keep:

  • cell phone charger and my cell phone
  • sunglasses
  • small amount of cash, extra credit card, extra car keys (hidden)
  • bottle of water
  • USB charger for gadgets
  • jumper cables
  • qt oil
  • antifreeze
  • First aid kit (ibuprofen, BandAids, disinfectant, topic pain reliever, child motrin, allergy medicine, extra of my medications)
  • Blankets
  • Flashlight
  • good Leatherman
  • Vise Grips
  • Tire inflator that runs off DC (aka, cigarette lighter socket)
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Rags
  • Roll of duct tape
  • defrosting washer fluid
  • Ice scraper
  • Pen and paper
  • snacks, and fruit
  • change of seasonal clothes, extra shoes

Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes:

  • a shovel windshield scraper and small broom
  • flashlight
  • battery powered radio
  • extra batteries
  • water
  • snack food
  • matches
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • blanket(s)
  • tow chain or rope
  • road salt and sand
  • booster cables
  • emergency flares
  • fluorescent distress flag

What to carry on winter trips: Keep a basic winter survival kit in your vehicle:

  • flashlight,
  • batteries,
  • blanket,
  • snacks,
  • water,
  • gloves, boots,
  • first-aid kit.

Load your car with winter travel gear:

  • tire chains,
  • ice scraper/snowbrush,
  • jumper cables,
  • road flares.

See more winter preparedness tips at www.takewinterbystorm.org.

See also: Some of the basic items include:

  • 12-foot jumper cables
  • Four 15-minute roadside flares
  • Two quarts of oil
  • Gallon of antifreeze
  • First aid kit (including an assortment of bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic cream, instant ice and heat compresses, scissors and aspirin)
  • Blanket
  • Extra fuses
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Flat head screwdrivers
  • Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Vise Grips
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Tire inflator (such as a Fix-A-Flat)
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Rags
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Spray bottle with washer fluid
  • Pocketknife
  • Ice scraper
  • Pen and paper
  • Help sign
  • Granola or energy bars
  • Bottled water and
  • heavy-duty nylon bag to carry it all in.
Answer by courtney ostaff

Pre-packaged kit? Never seen one for this purpose I have liked.

To best answer your question, we would need to know your skill level, driving conditions, and, ideally, the kind of car you drive. There is not much the average owner can do on the side of the road to a car nowadays, so perhaps the most useful tools are a working cell phone (with good local coverage) and a roadside assistance membership.

For basic tools that may come in handy... pop over to your local Harbour Freight and get...

  • A small zippered tool bag for storage
  • A ratcheting screwdriver with multiple bits, including a Torx set, and socket adapter(s). I generally get a 'stubby' one and include an extension in my kit.
  • Small socket set of common sizes, either SAE or metric, depending on your car-
  • Set of open-end wrenches, also either SAE or metric
  • Allen key set, SAE or metric
  • Big adjustable crescent-type wrench, one you can even use as a hammer if needed
  • Multi-tool, good quality, largish size, so you get a decent set of pliers, cutters, knife, can opener, etc.
  • Duct tape (small roll), electrical tape, Super glue, nylon zip ties, small can of WD 40, small tube of thick grease
  • Nuts, bolts, and fasteners kit
  • Flashlight, even if you have a better one elsewhere
  • Tire gauge
  • Lug wrench (a better one than usually provided can come in really handy)

This all assumes you already have other emergency stuff available, like a flashlight, safety triangle or similar, first aid kit, etc. and that your car has a good spare, jack, etc. -

Answer by mark adkins

Here are my suggestions:

  • First and always: A 12 volt cigarette lighter charger for your cell phone
  • medium sized socket set that includes some open ended wrenches
  • medium adjustable crescent wrench
  • needle nose pliers
  • slip-joint pliers
  • Phillips #2 screwdriver (don't use a set - the bits get lost and they can't be used for prying)
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • tire gauge
  • 12' jumper cables
  • 12 volt tire inflator
  • long zip ties
  • roll of stove wire (great for so many things - e.g. hanging up exhaust)
  • headlamp (ever try to fix a car at night with a regular flashlight?)
  • a roll of the waterproof "magic" tape that can seal rad hose leaks
  • small inverter for plugging in electronics (e.g. 75 watts)
  • a pair of 6' or 12' ratcheting tie-down straps
  • a 12' to 20' tow strap with hooked ends so you can get pulled out of the ditch
  • in winter a big sleeping bag in a stuff sack and a small snow shovel

Things you can forget in my opinion:

  • duct tape (it practically ruins everything it touches with residue)
  • vice grips (again they practically ruin everything with teeth marks and are rarely very useful)
  • multitools like a leatherman (every job they do is awkward and better suited to a real tool)
Answer by jspenfold

I want to buy a cordless screwdriver as a gift for my dad's birthday, any suggestion for this?

Is this ok?


Answer by mybestdegrace

I just bought a cloth tool bag and filled it with all the tools I thought I might need. Hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, hacksaw, etc. The only unusual tool in that kit is a ryoba (Japanese pull saw) with a detachable blade.

I also keep a long breaker bar, torque wrench and a deep socket that fits the wheel lugs. It makes changing a tire SOOOO much easier than the crappy lug wrench that comes with most cars, and you can properly torque the lugs afterwards.

Other items I always carry in my car include a blanket (useful for keeping warm in winter or for a picnic, a fire extinguisher, a 6 D-cell Maglite (can use as a baton in a pinch), an electric air pump, a folding shovel, some rope, a few garbage bags, zip ties, a half roll of toilet paper and a couple "TravelJohns".

It also wouldn't hurt to have a few lifeboat rations and some bottled water, especially if you live somewhere that's prone to natural disasters.

Answer by Captain Packrat
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