It's a good idea to keep a few items in your boot to get you out of trouble if you're unfortunate to have a problem during a journey. It's worth noting that in some countries, it is compulsory to carry certain items, such as a warning triangle, first aid kit and spare light bulbs.
The basic tool kit supplied with your car won't allow you to do much more than change a wheel! It's a good idea to carry a few extra basic tools just in case - even if you can't fix a problem yourself, someone else might be able to help if you can supply a screwdriver.
In some countries it's compulsory to carry your vehicle documentation with you at all times (driving licence, certificate of insurance, vehicle registration document and vehicle test certificate), and you should do this in any case if you're travelling abroad. But remember not to leave them in the car.
Emergency Kit and Spares
Here's a selection of items and spares which you might want to carry - the list could be endless, but it's a question of striking a balance between taking up space and having the necessary item to get you out of trouble.
Here are some tools which won't take up much space, and will help to fix simple problems at the roadside. If you decide to carry out DIY maintenance, you'll need these tools anyway - refer to the Haynes Service and Repair Manual for your car for more information.
- 1. Extension light & lead, fitted with crocodile clips for battery or (preferably) cigarette lighter plug
- 2. Screwdrivers (1/4 in slot and crosshead, or combination)
- 3. Pliers
- 4. Combination spanners covering the range 10 mm to 19 mm, or elementary socket set
- 5. Spark plug spanner and gapping tool (petrol engines)
- 6. Metric feeler gauges
- 7. Tyre pressure gauge
Check your car's handbook, or look for a sticker under the bonnet, to see what oil the car manufacturer recommends.
Brand is not important. The two things to look for are the viscosity (thickness) shown by the SAE rating, and the quality (indicated by the API or ACEA rating).
The cheapest oils are mineral-based, the mid-price oils semi-synthetic and the most expensive fully-synthetic. Again, check the manufacturer's recommendation.
It's almost always cheaper to buy oil in a car accessory shop rather than on the garage forecourt - so it pays to carry some in the car.