In years gone by, a car tools kit would include everything from a hammer for panel beating to screwdriver and pliers. These days things are a bit different. For a start it’s pretty impossible to do anything technical to a car, unless you have a computer. And most of the mechanical bits are hidden away beneath plastic covers. But there are some things you can carry.
Jack and wheel brace
Although a lot of today’s cars have a tyre inflation kit rather than a spare wheel, it’s still handy to have a jack and wheel brace in the boot as the basis for any car tools kit. You’ll need the wheel brace for undoing the car’s wheel nuts. When you buy a jack, check your car’s weight in its user manual and make sure the jack will support it safely.
Locking wheel nut key
You may already have one of these but it’s worth checking. If you don’t, you won’t be able to undo the locking wheel nuts which will make the jack and wheel brace redundant. In addition, if you do have a tyre inflation kit, you will need to get a punctured tyre replaced at some point – for which you’ll need the locking wheel nut key.
This may already be in the car but if you don’t have one, it makes sense to buy one that fits your model. These used to be fixed to the car permanently, usually welded on beneath and behind the bumpers. Now you have small removable panels in the front and rear bumpers which you can screw a towing eye into. Get one for your model of car so you know it’ll fit.
We’re big fans of carrying reflective jackets. They weigh nothing. You can buy them for buttons from DIY stores and they could save your life. If you ever have to get out of your car at the roadside, it makes sense to have one of these to hand so you can pull it on. No matter how light your clothing, one of these will make you even more visible.
Spare bulbs and fuses
These are a legal requirement in some European countries, even if it is impossible to change the bulb in many modern cars. Check your car’s user manual. If it is possible to change bulbs, it makes sense to have some spares with you.
Tyre valve caps
Valve caps are one of the hidden heroes of motoring. They keep dust and dirt out of tyre valves and protect them from being damaged by debris. But they have a habit of going AWOL. It makes sense to have a couple of spares in your glove box in case they do go missing.