Prepare Your Auto

More than a spare tire, make sure your car is emergency ready.

As the seasons change be sure your car is prepared for them. You may need new windshield wipers and fluid, anti-freeze, heater/air conditioner service, and always scheduled regular tune-ups to keep your car running. But you should also be prepared should you become stranded in your car.


Five simple steps:

  • Make sure your car is equipped with a first-aid kit, booster cables, distress flag, reflectors, tow chain or rope. An inexpensive set of reflector triangles can help save your life by making your stopped vehicle visible on the road.
  • Keep a flashlight in your glove compartment along with an extra set of batteries. It can come in handy should you need to see under your hood or alert oncoming traffic if your car breaks down on the highway.
  • Check your spare tire often. If your spare is heavily worn, most garages will sell you a decent secondhand tire at a low price.
  • Keep a cell phone charger in your glove compartment. Your cell phone will be vital if your car dies while on the road or if you have an auto accident.
  • Get in the habit—make sure your gas tank is always half full.

Other steps:

  • Depending on the distance and weather, make sure you have plenty of water and snacks packed should your car break down miles from any town or store.
  • In the winter, warmth is a must for an emergency car kit so be sure to pack blankets in case you get stranded or stuck in cold and icy weather.
  • Also for winter storms, be sure your tires have enough tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most conditions.
  • During heavy rains, be alert to the possibility of flooded streets and never drive into a flooded street or underpass.
  • During hot days, use a sunshade to lower the temperature inside your car. And never leave children or pets unattended in your car.
  • During power outages, if a traffic signal isn’t working, treat it as a four-way stop sign.