We always keep a few tools in the car. I’m in awe what Greg could accomplish with nothing more than a pair of channel-locks (tongue and groove pliers) and a couple of screwdrivers.
Not that I can perform the same kind of magic, but it’s nice to have a few tools in case I need to fuss with the battery cables or change a tire. Tires, battery, and windshield wipers are the extent of my automotive experience–and that’s only if my auto club can’t help me.
First, a tool bag. They’re not terribly expensive, so make the investment. I’ve found it’s a lot easier to find things if they’re all in one place instead of scattered all over my car. If I’m stuck somewhere I’m already rattled so I don’t want to waste time looking for a wrench in the boneyard I call my back seat.
• ChannelLocks: That’s a brand name. I never knew that! I’ve called them ChannelLocks for so long I thought that’s what all these pliers were called. Greg says you need two, but I’ve survived on only one.
• Screwdrivers: One flat head and one Phillips head. You can invest in one of those screwdrivers with tips that can be changed. I have one, but I still prefer a regular screwdriver. It’s stronger and there’s no chance of losing the tips.
Greg bought GRDE Zoomable Headlamp. I didn’t want to spend $20 on a headlamp (I use a cheaper one) but his is far superior to my cheapo version. Very sturdy, secure on any size head, with a tremendous amount of light. We use this a lot more than I expected.
• Bungee cords: Buy a pack of them. We used them ALL the time to keep things from shifting inside the car, or to tie things to the roof.
• A good knife: Greg always carries a knife on his person, but I prefer to keep mine in the vehicle.
• A multi-tool: Kind of like a Swiss Army knife but with pliers. Very handy! Greg likes the Leatherman brand. He says Gerber is also a good brand. They’ve come down in price in recent years, so grab one if you need an all-purpose kind of tool. If you can only keep one tool in the car, this one handles a lot of sins.
• Pliers: If you don’t have a multi-tool, toss in an extra set of all-purpose pliers.
• Leather gloves: I never know if I’ll be hauling lumber or untangling wire. Saves the hands.
A tool bag doesn’t need a lot of tools, just the right tools. Most of us can’t work on our cars, so you need only enough for the mundane tasks that crop up. Go with the bare minimum tool kit if you must but if you’re on the road much I recommend the more stocked bag. I’ve been stranded on more than one occasion (despite the auto club!) so it pays to be prepared.
On the left: The bare minimum tool bag.
On the right: The fuller tool bag–but don’t
forget the screwdrivers like I did in that picture.
In the picture on the left, I added a measuring tape. They come in handy if you shop garage
sales like I do.
Do you keep any tools in your car? Have you ever been stranded?