Top Ten Everyday Motoring Essentials
It makes good sense to have a list of essential items you should keep in your car at all times. And to check they are still there on a regular basis.
My car is an extension of my home and office. I always seem to need more space in it. The next time I go car shopping I'll be looking for more storage spaces so I can be better organised on board in future.
The contents of your car often tell you more about the individual of course. For example, my husband keeps a loo roll in his for sniffles, spills and other emergencies. He clearly places practicality higher on his list than I do whereas I have a nice looking pack of tissues to serve the same purpose.
I also find that the contents of my car vary between summer and winter. More water were I to be car stranded in summer and warmer clothes and footwear in winter. Other than that I have a 'taken for granted' list including a well serviced and maintained car, my mobile phone, prescription sunglasses, umbrella/raincoat, SatNav device and emergency breakdown cover.
So after some serious thinking in this area, I've come up with my Top Ten 'everyday motoring essentials' list which I expect will vary from yours if you drive children or grandchildren, which I don't for now.
My Top Ten Everyday Motoring Essentials
1. Car handbook
I am always amazed at the number of motorists who buy a used car without a handbook telling me it's such a good deal. Here's why you'll likely need a car handbook in future - to identify what a new dashboard light means, to know the best oil for your engine and to appreciate your car's controls.
2. Essential phone numbers including emergency breakdown, insurance company and ICE
If you break down you need to be able to know and call your breakdown recovery service as well as keeping those at home/work informed. If you're involved in an accident, make sure that this information is quickly to hand for others to find. Maybe in the glovebox? I am assuming your mobile is always topped up but I have a phone charge cable onboard in case it isn't. Remember to add your ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact name and number to your phone's address book, just in case.
3. Wheel nut key
To stop anyone stealing my wheels the nuts holding them on are locked to my car. To change my car wheel or fix a tyre the tyre fitter will likely need my wheel nut key. This is therefore an essential item because without this we can't get the wheel off. And because these wheel nuts so often get lost, according to FOXY's helpdesk call log, I keep my wheel nut key in a bright orange bag to see/find in my glovebox. I always check it's there after any tyre check, fitting or car service, just in case.
4. Book of Road Maps
As wonderful as my car's SatNav system is, I may need to look at a map occasionally. For example when the motorway I need or am on is closed. Try as I might not to, my SatNav always wants me to return to it, so I need to know the destination towns to programme en route before I let technology take over again.
5. Coins for tolls/shopping trolleys/20p tyre tread checks
There are enough places where you find yourself facing an unexpected toll bridge that doesn't accept cards. I've seen embarrassed motorists begging cash from others in this situation. I plan ahead and have my own. The 20p coin is probably the most valuable coin in my wallet because it means I can keep an eye on my tyre tread levels. See under More Information below for a helpful video so you can do this too.
6. Carrier bags
As we all do our bit for the environment we need to re-use plastic bags not just buy new ones. Having collected too many new ones in the past I now make a point of storing these in the covered floor section of my car boot. All I need to do now is to think of a way to remind me to take them into the store when I need them.
7. A pad and a working pen
If you see something odd on your travels you might be able to pull over and make a note. If you see a car and its driver behaving badly you might want to make a note of the time and that car registration too. If you are involved in or witness an accident you'll need something to write with and on. So I always have a small pad and pen handy, just in case.
8. A refillable water bottle
This is an essential for me on any significant car journey. I now use a bottle that I can refill not just throw away.
9. A spare tyre or puncture repair kit
I haven't got a spare tyre so if my TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system) tells me I have a tyre pressure problem I can either tackle this myself using the repair kit/canister in my boot or go to my nearest FOXY Lady Approved tyre centre. The last time this happened to me, as luck would have it, I was near Protyre HQ in Micheldever where they checked and topped up my tyre reassuring me that all was fine.
10. Comfy driving shoes
I have shoes I enjoy driving in and others I definitely don't. So I always keep a pair of the first variety in the boot.
You may find it useful to do this exercise for yourself, especially where children are involved. Start with your 'taken for granted' list and then add your motoring essentials. You then need check to make sure these stay in your car, not in a handbag which might not be the handbag you have with you at the time, so your motoring essentials are always at hand when you need them.
For other helpful advice and useful tips visit our Car Help & Advice section.
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