Like the Scouts, the clever motorist is always prepared and part of being prepared is carrying a few essentials in your boot, just in case.
While not all of these seven things will save your life, they could all save you inconvenience and unnecessary expense.
1. Engine oil
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 or somewhere like Halfords you won’t end up having to pay over-the-odds from the petrol station when you discover you need some urgently…
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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.
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3. Hazard warning triangle
Few cars come with one as standard, but a hazard warning triangle might be a lifesaver if you break down on a blind bend.
You can buy one for under a tenner and, if you need to use it, The Highway Code suggests that you place it a minimum distance of 45 metres from your car.
4. 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 familiarize 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.
Simple car maintenance tasks you can do yourself.
5. 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?
Have you checked that the spare tyre is properly inflated and that 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.
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6. 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.
7. A map
I am still enthralled by the sophistication and ease-of-use of a sat-nav, but there are still times when I find myself reaching for a map to plot a route around a traffic jam or road closure.
Do you have a must-carry item in your boot? If so, why not share it with us in the comments section?
For more tips and useful information, browse our motoring articles.
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