Save yourself from extra hassle when and if you have a breakdown or emergency by ensuring you have these essential items in your car boot. While not all of these seven things will save your life, they could all save you inconvenience and unnecessary expense.
Even modern cars burn some engine oil, and some of them can burn up a litre every couple of thousand miles, so every driver should carry a can of engine oil in the boot – and if you buy it from the supermarket you won’t end up having to pay over-the-odds from the petrol station when you discover you need some urgently. Although buying manufacturer approved oil tends to be the best option for the maintenance of your car.
Running out of screenwash can be a potentially fatal problem if it leaves you unable to clean your windscreen; we’ve all come up behind a lorry and found ourselves groping for the controls to spray the windscreen of a mud splash, so it doesn’t take a vivid imagination to see how frightening it would be to find the windscreen wipers just smearing the dirt across the glass rather than washing it clean because the reservoir has run dry. Also, it’s really important to ensure that you use screenwash and not just water. Screen wash will actually clean your windows and remove dirt, whereas water will just move dirt and only temporarily fix the problem.
Hazard warning triangle
Few cars come with one as standard, but having a hazard warning triangle in your boot might be a lifesaver if you break down. You can buy one for around £10 and, if you need to use it, The Highway Code suggests that you place it a minimum distance of 45 metres from your car. It is actually a legal requirement in a lot of European countries to have a hazard warning triangle.
For more information on what you need to legally have to drive in Europe, read this blog post we previously created that explains all!
The ease-of-use of a sat-nav will probably always be the go-to option when talking about navigation, but there is no harm having a spare map in the boot for those times when you need to plan a different route to dodge traffic or your sat-nav stops working mid-journey.
Spare bulbs and fuses
While we are all aware that we need to carry them with us for foreign travel, few of us would think to carry a set of spare bulbs and fuses, even though logic would suggest that we are far more likely to need them on home soil than on holiday.
The cost isn’t prohibitive and if you do buy a set then it’s worth spending half-an-hour with your car’s handbook to familiarise yourself with how to fit them in the comfort of your own driveway, rather than discovering how awkward it is in the dark at the side of a busy road.
Tyre wrench and locking key
Not all cars have a spare tyre anymore, but if your car does have one, have you checked that it is fully inflated and that you can find the locking wheel nut key and tyre wrench?
Also, do you know where the jacking points are on your car? Again, it’s better to sort it out at home rather than on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
Wet wipes and an old towel
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve used both at the side of the road or at the end of a long, muddy walk. The cost of buying a pack of cheap wet wipes is under a pound, yet having them to hand when you really need them is priceless. Especially in the event of a breakdown and you need to clean tools or your hands in order to perform a fix, this small purchase will come in very handy.