Summer Road Trips: Emergency Items for your Car

People are prepping for road trips this summer, especially over this upcoming holiday weekend and Les Schwab wants to get your vehicle ready to go. So, before you head off on a road trip, bring your car to any Les Schwab location to get a free pre-trip safety check. You don’t need an appointment and it’s completely free. They check your car's tire pressure, tread depth, visual alignment, brakes, shocks and struts, and battery. You'll feel safer knowing your car is ready for the miles ahead of it.

However, there are times when even the best cars breakdown on the road and Les Schwab says some of the most common, avoidable culprits are dead or faulty batteries, fuel problems, and flat or damaged tires. They say tires are actually one of the most overlooked parts of a car. An under-inflated, over-inflated or worn tire can be extremely dangerous especially in hot summer weather. Even people who check the condition of their tires often forget to check their spare. If your spare tire is in poor condition, it won’t do you any good. You’ll need to make sure it too is properly inflated with good tread.

Many issues can be prevented or handled with little trouble, without needing a tow. What should you have in your car in case of an emergency during the hot summer months?
Emergency kits are a must for people before heading out on long trips, but contents should vary depending on the season and road conditions. First, you definitely make sure you have a spare tire in good condition, and the tools you will need to change a tire. Make sure you have the correct lug nuts and wrench. Les Schwab says, you wouldn’t believe the number of people who call us for roadside assistance because they have a faulty or worn spare tire, which would take just a few minutes to check in advance.

Other important items to have on hand:

Water and food – You should have at least a gallon of water in your car to stay hydrated during the hot summer months, and in case you need to cool off your radiator. For food, have nonperishable items that will help give you energy such as nuts or energy bars.
Reflective rain jacket or poncho – You won’t likely need a blanket in the summer months, but it can rain unexpectedly or cool off after the sun goes down – especially in higher elevations. If you are working on your car near the road, it is important to wear something reflective so cars passing by can see you at night.
First aid kit – If you are stranded due to an accident, you may need things like anti-bacterial ointment, Band-Aids, gauze and aspirin.
Flash light –There are some great options available for emergency situations such as a crank-powered light and some with a radio and flare-type lighting as well. If you have a standard battery-powered flash light, make sure you have an extra set of batteries. Either a crank-powered flash light or with extra set of batteries is a must.
Extra cell phone battery or power bank – Having a cell phone is great but you will also need to make sure it is fully charged. There are power banks available that will allow you to connect your phone and get a full charge should your phone battery run out.
Basic tool set – A basic tool set should help you in many situations. Make sure to include a pocket knife as well.
Jumper cables or a charged jump set – If you have a dead battery on your hands, you will need jumper cables to give your car the power it needs. Standard options require a second car to jump your vehicle, but some stores sell pre-charged boxes that will allow you to jump your car without needing assistance.

It’s also a good idea to have these items in a central location, such as in a bag or box so you can get to it easily, if needed.

For more information and for your pre-trip safety check visit a Les Schwab near you.

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