Road trips are an affordable and more flexible alternative to travel by air or rail, the downside is your vehicle will need routine maintenance and the occasional major repair. Over countless miles and traveling in probably every conceivable weather condition, I’ve come to depend on these two pieces of critical automobile safety gear.
1. Diagnostic Scanner Engine Code Reader
A diagnostic scanner engine code reader tool is a useful “troubleshooting” device when your car breaks down and you don’t know which section of the user manual to turn to first. We recently owned a vehicle that would stop running on any trip greater than two hours from home; having a code reader tool helped me to better communicate with both the tow truck driver and remote repair shop (knowing which body shop could handle the repair). Typically you plug the receiving end into a panel on the front dashboard (identify where this is and practice before you head out on the open road).
2. Battery Powered Jumper Cables
Battery powered jumper cables are a must have for anyone living in a cold-weather climate, and an excellent backup plan for anyone with an older vehicle or traveling to a remote corner of the country (kids that leave a dome light on overnight, etc. etc. ). Being able to jump start your own car is empowering; no more asking for a jump or having to manually maneuver your vehicle to a position where it can face another engine block. Some units slowly lose a charge over time, so regularly check the gauge and know that it typically takes several hours to replace the juice in the battery.