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490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I keep a Jump Bag in my car with various survival items addressing shelter, water, fire and food and feel pretty good in that department.

I'm interested in putting together a tool kit for my car - not necessarily for 'survival' but for everyday use. All of the items below are things that I've needed at one time or another.

Tool Bag
Pry Bar
Duct Tape
Small Fire Extinguisher
Needle Nose Pliers
Sharp Blade
Length of Rope - 100' or so to tie things on roof or possibly I.C.E.

I wanted some suggestions for other items that might help me out in a pinch.


Today's Survival Show
348 Posts
Keep a little extra food and water in that tool kit. I got stranded once for 10 hours before anyone could help me. I didn't have any food and water during that time. Hard lesson learned, while you're using your tools to fix your car, you could get pretty thirsty and hungry. Have 24 hours of food and water stored in there. I keep it my trunk in a separate container.

2,688 Posts
Socket wrench and sockets
At least a few combo wrenches in common sizes (11,13,14,16mm) or (7/16", 1/2", 9/16", 5/8") -- because sometimes a socket just won't reach it
Depending on make/model a few Torx head bits for your socket wrench or a driver would be helpful
Crescent wrench
Vice grips
Mini can of WD-40 (bonus you can use it to start a fire)
I presume you already have jumper cables? Can of fix-a-flat? Tire plug kit?
Medium-sized pair of channel-locks
Spare fuses
Small roll of 12ga wire

I realize this is a lot -- I've done plenty of car work while stranded with plenty less than above, but it sure makes things easier. All of the above plus your list will fit in a small gym bag.

If you don't have room, there is some duplication above . . . for example the crescent wrench in most cases can do the job of the sockets & combo wrenches. Vice trips can suffice in lieu of pliers. Also to save space get a driver and a little box of interchangable bits, rather than a bunch of fixed-end screwdrivers. I don't find much use for a hammer when I'm working on a car but if you want it hey it's your kit.

Ditch the duct tape and get a small roll of high-temp tape from the automotive store. Works just as good as duct tape, except designed for high temperatures, such as wrapping up a leaky radiator hose.

490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Unfortunately - when it comes to car repair I'm pretty useless. My intent for this isn't to fix my car but to help in general situations.

For example: Not sure if you read my Nashville Flooding thread - this morning I had to break a window + wooden slats in order to feed the end of a big pump through to pump a bunch of water out of our basement at work. A small pry bar would have made for a much neater and safer job. In stead I had to use my Gerber knife and my feet which could have ended badly :/

I will add a can of fix-a-flat and I've got tire patches in there already.

A good pair of heavy wire cutters may come in handy too.

Survive... for what?
1,412 Posts
I would say get a general automotive tool kit. It be good to have even if your not skilled in auto repair <--- Learn basics! At least 24 hours of food and water, I keep vacumme sealed 2400 calorie rations and mylar bags of water in mine, they can deal with the heat of being in a car all day. A good tire iron can be used as a pry bar, and to smash windows.

Bugging In
1,825 Posts
OK, you've got your map, compass, jack, spare, rope, shovel, jumpers, flash light, bazooka, kukri machete, MREs, first aid kit, wool blanket, and bottled water. Good start; probably farther than most already. To go beyond that will be a little expensive at first, but will save you money later. Gonna have to get your hands dirty now.

First, use the owner's manual to do what's called a PMCS on your vehicle: preventative maintenance checks and services. Make a list of anything that needs to be repaired or replaced, and mark the page where you found it in the manual. Then go to the auto parts store. Load up on the usual oil, filters, antifreeze, belts, fuses, hoses, clamps, zip ties, tire puncture and refill kit, duct tape, and WD40, along with a basic automotive tool / breakdown kit. Medium quality is OK. It would also be nice to have warning triangles, for when flares can't be used (like drought conditions).

Then, ask the parts guy what they sell the most of for your vehicle, and consider getting a spare part or two. Rebuilds are generally good enough. Next, get a Chilton manual, which will give you step by step text and pictures of how to install the parts, and will also list any special tools that would be needed. Put like components into heavy-duty zip lock freezer bags, then everything goes into in the trunk, in a large, zippered gym or duffle bag. Might also want to toss an old t-shirt, orange poncho, baby wipes, and gloves in on top.

Congratulations! You're now better prepared than most mechanics and tow-truck drivers want you to be. (been there, done both)

Survive... for what?
1,412 Posts
Load up on the usual oil, filters, antifreeze, belts, fuses, hoses, clamps, zip ties, tire puncture and refill kit, duct tape, and WD40,
Fine for a BOV but IMO, I think if you keep up on regular maintenance you can save yourself 100lbs worth of stuff in your trunk. Maybe I am just anal about my cars but I check hoses, air pressure, fluid levels weekly, and do all preventitive maintenance. I do agree with the duct tape and WD40 though.

531 Posts
Chilton/Haynes are better than nothing, but if you can find one for your car I suggest getting a factory shop manual. I have one for my 68 caddy.

Do keep some fluids, maybe not enough for a full change, but a quart of oil for example. It can be a real life saver.

I keep a jumper pack over jumper cables because you won't always have the option of using another vehicle. Just be sure to check the charge about every month or so.

Sibi Totique
1,074 Posts
From my blog:

In case of an emergency or crisis situation it is good if you have your vehicle in a good condition and with some basic gear in it. A car with four wheel drive is good for getting around in off road driving and if the roads are being full of snow. Make sure that the fuel in your car don’t get to low, check the tiers regularly and maintain a good service. Make sure to keep your windshield clean so can get a good view. I strongly suggest that you get some extra rear view mirrors so that your passenger can help you keep an eye out.

There are combination safety tools with a seat belt cutter and glass breaker that is very good to have in your car in case of an accident. Victorinox has model of the Swiss Army knife called Rescue Tool that has a seatbelt cuter, glass breaker and other features.

Some basic gear that can be useful to have in your vehicle in addition to your pocket survival kit:
[ ] First Aid Kit
[ ] Road map, compass and GPS
[ ] Things that help you stay warm, extra clothing, wool blankets, sleeping bags etc.
[ ] Water and Food
[ ] Flashlight or headlamp, extra batteries (lithium), chemical lightsticks is also good if you have to make reparations or change a tire during the night.
[ ] Extra fuel
[ ] Folding or compact shovel (E-tool)
[ ] Short wave radio or Citizen Band (CB) Radio
[ ] Jack, Spare tire , Tier iron and Fix-A-Flat Spray.
[ ] Adjustable wrench, Duct tape and screwdriver
[ ] Fire extinguisher
[ ] Driver license and registration
[ ] Windshield scraper and towel
[ ] Snow chains (during the winter)
[ ] Towing cable
[ ] Jumper cables

If there is a crisis and you have to go somewhere I suggest that you try to take the following steps:
* Make sure that you always travel at least two persons in the vehicle if that is possible.
* Always go with two vehicles or more if possible. If you are travelling with two vehicles walkie talkies is good tool for communicating between the vehicles.
* Make a radio check before you leave. The passenger should act as radio operator and navigator.
* Make sure to inform someone about where you are going, what route you are planning to use, how is travelling in the party, what you are planning to do and when you are planning to get back. Also make sure that everyone in the party that’s going knows this information.
* Don’t let the distance between the vehicles get to big, if you get pulled over at a check point make sure to park the vehicles close together so that no one can get their vehicle between the party. When you park your car, park in the direction you intend to drive if you have to leave fast.
* Don’t leave any valuable items in plain view, for example on the dashboard. Cover all equipment. Don’t carry fancy jewelry or expensive watches in plain sight.
* Roll up all the windows and lock the doors before you go.
* Don’t have alcohol containers, illegal drugs or other something else that is illegal or can be seen as suspicious in your car. Be aware of your passangers so thay dont carry anything likes this.
* In countries with civil war it is common that mines may be placed in front and at the rear of vehicles at improvised checkpoint to keep them from escaping. If you travel in a high risk area the most important part of your travel is to get intelligence about what areas that are safe and not. If you must travel in such an area it may be best to contact your embassy or UN Security officials.

Bikes are an excellent way to get around and really good exercise. I suggest that you a good reliable bike that you can use every day and a mountain bike that you can use if you want to go off road. A bike rack for your car is a good accessory if you want to take your bike with on a camping or hiking trip.

The most important safety feature is off course a good helmet. I prefer the helmets from Protec myself. When you take your bike out I recommend that you carry your pocket survival kit and folding knife, Swiss army knife or a multi tool. Wenger has a special model for bikers of their Swiss Army knife called Biker 37.

A good front light and a headlamp plus a red rear light is good when you ride your bike at night. Fenix has good flashlights and bikes mounts that work really well. A small GPS unit that you can mount on your bike is available from Garmin. Gaiters are good for keeping your trousers away from the chain.

Checklist for other equipment:
[ ] Puncture repair kit
[ ] Pump
[ ] Spare valve
[ ] Adjustable or barbell spanner
[ ] Screwdriver
[ ] Helmet (I recommend the ones from ProTec)
[ ] Water bottle

I'll fix it
2,547 Posts
black electrical tape / wire nuts / heat shrink tubing kit
Craftsman small plier set (wire cutters, needle nose, chain nose)
tape measure
long shaft screwdrivers
green excelite pocket screwdriver
jewelers screwdriver set
Cresent wrench
allen & torx driver set
nutdriver set
stubbie screwdrivers
wire strippers
small paint brush
super glue
machine oil
fuse kit
utility knife
digital multimeter
butane soldering iron with butane canister, solder & solder wick.
ball point pen
needle sharp probe
tactical LED flashlight
roll of 16-14 awg red & black hook up wire.
magnifying glass
spare batteries
Glock :D:

33 Posts
Power Tools!!!!

I've picked up some used 14.4 volt cordless tools online.

They either didn't have battery packs, or a charger or neither.

I'm currently adding a cord and some cigarrette plugs so I can swap them out but should have a set with a drill/driver, impact driver and a 5 1/2" circular saw when I'm done.

I also bought one of those jump starters for $39 from Harbor Freight that I can use as a power supply away from the vehicle.

173 Posts
Before my Jeep got totaled I kept a good size amount of survival gear in my vehicle, in addition to many of the above mentioned items; large first aid kit and basic FA manual, a small survival tin (fully stocked) for treks away from vehicle, Highway flares, some aerial signal flares, small bolt cutters, poncho, packet of baby wipes and a WWII entrenching tool.
In a 30 cal ammo can that stayed in the jeep I had; an El cheapo 25 cal pistol, 50 Rd's ammo, note pad and pencil, small FA kit, cable ties, water purification tablets, roll booby trap wire, safety pins, needle and thread, suture W/needle and thread, Candles, and many of the things already listed. TP

Like MacGyver, but w/guns
315 Posts
I've always kept my tool bag separate from other supplies in my car. First, learn the basics of automotive design and principle. You can't fix it if you don't know how it was running in the first place. You also have to know your car.

Hose clamps
spare tubing or plastic for patching hoses (attaching a piece of plastic to a bust hose may slow it enough to get somewhere)
silicone sealant (dry the part completely before applying)
zip ties (can be used as hose clamps too)
bailing wire (for when a zip tie would be burned through)
ratchet strap (for recovery or holding your bumper on)
plain manilla folder (can be fashioned into a paper gasket if needed)
socket set (in the sizes that your car uses)
adjustable wrenches / pliers / vise grips / wire cutters
duct tape
allen or star key folding set (cars seam to have alot of these nowadays)
spare wire to fix wiring issues
bike pump (or other way to inflate a tire)
A few essential fluids (oil and water)
(I keep a whole lot more in my trunk because I always end up saving my friends cars from near death)
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