What Equipment to carry during a road trip

Discussion in 'T&AA - Travel and Anything Automotive' started by JD666, Apr 21, 2013.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    For a good safe road trip, it is not just necessary that your vehicle be in a good condition, but also that you are prepared for all possible emergencies and issues that could arise during a road trip.

    The importance of being prepared for a road trip increases drastically when you have family/females/kids/elders traveling with you, and the roads are desolate and stretch long between cities.

    Here are some tools, gear that one should carry with them in their vehicle to ensure that their trip is safe and as uneventful as possible.

    Starting with equipment for Cars -

    Disclaimer - All images have been taken from the internet and are not owned by me in any manner, these are indicative only.


    1) Tyre repair kit -

    Most cars today have tubeless tyres. However most villages in India still do not have the provision to fix tubeless tyre leaks or punctures. Even if they do, what I have faced is that most of them do not have the sealant to fix the puncture.

    tubeless repair kit.JPG



    This costs barely 100-120 Rs, and will save you a lot of headache and hassle.

    2) Portable Air Compressor -

    For owners of SUVs and vehicles with tyres above 13-14 inches, a portable compressor makes much more sense. It will reduce the effort, though will take longer to charge your tyre.

    Also If you have tubeless tyres, and a slow leak, sometimes it would make more sense to simply charge your tyre with air for a short period, and drive on. The benefit of having tubeless tyres. The object causing the puncture, itself acts as a sealant, and reduces the amount of air escaping.

    air compressor.jpg

    This will allow you to drive to a safer location/city to get your punctured tyre fixed. Around 600-1200 depending on which Chinese item you buy. I have the one that states it charges upto 100-150 PSI, but I'll be glad if it can do 45. Ill overcharge my tyre in the event of a puncture ( so that I can drive longer ), and reach a place that allows me easy repair of my tyre.


    Now that we've covered the most anticipated form of breakdown, here's preparation for others.


    3) Fuses -

    Always carry at least 3-5 spare fuses. Note down the ratings of all the fuse required in your car. Manufacturers generally provide 1-2 spare fuse for each rating. However over long distances, and prolonged load on the battery/electricals, the chances of more than one fuse going increase. Especially if you have auxiliary equipment like fog lights, power horns, Sound System with amplifier and what not installed.

    car fuse.jpg

    Generally carry 5 of each rating. And if something goes wrong in the middle of the Road, don't panic, Check the fuse box first! If you find the fuse at fault, replace it with a similarly rated fuse (10A ~ 10 A not 15 A). If the fuse still goes, and you are in a risky situation or in a unsafe area, go up 5 Amps on the rating and install a higher fuse.

    But don't let the car run with that. This is just to get you out of there. Understand that there is a reason why the fuse of the correct rating is blowing its top. A lot of mechanics simply increase the rating to prevent this. However this results in more electrical load on the system, alternator, wiring etc. This could cause a much bigger issue/incident than the one at hand.

    Always get it checked at the first available instance.


    4) Jumper Cables -

    Will come handy in the event if you accidentally leave your headlights or parking lights on, or some electrical equipment like Fog lights drain your battery. A Push Start will help, however if your battery is way to weak to provide the sparking current even, then a Jump Start is the only option.

    jumper cables.jpg

    Note - Be aware of Jump Starting procedures, before blindly buying Jumper cables. The amount of current that these cables carry can be as much as 100-150 Amps DC, which is enough to kill a person. To be safer, invest in insulated gloves as well.

    Also buy good quality Jumper cables. Remember, current flows on the surface only. So a multi stranded Jumper cable will allow higher current to flow thru. Also, higher the gauge, better will be the current transfer.

    If your Jumper cables develop cracks or breaks, best to discard and buy new ones rather than attempting to repair them.


    5) Tow Cable -

    The next essential item after loss of Drive in your vehicle. Loss of drive could happen due to any reason, Mechanical (Engine, clutch, gearbox, drive shaft, differential), Electrical(Battery, alternator, ignition system, ECU, Fuel Pump), or Physical (Accident, damage).

    tow cable.jpg

    Towing a vehicle with another vehicle will work only in the following cases and should be avoided in all other circumstances.

    - All 4 wheels of the vehicle are intact
    - Steering is functioning normally, with or without power
    - The brakes can be applied and are functioning normally, without any leaks
    - There is no leakage from the vehicle that could cause loss of traction on the road (Engine oil, gear oil).
    - The vehicle will roll freely down a hill i.e. the brakes are not grabbing or arresting the vehicle.

    How to tow, is a talent/ability that needs a discussion of it's own, but in the event of an emergency, I'm pretty sure we'll all come up with something. :)

    Invest in a Tow Cable that comes rated for a vehicle higher than yours. However the hooks should be small enough to fit the tow points on your car.

    Avoid lesser known/untested cables. Someone would have been foolish enough to buy em online before you, follow the reviews and order your cable.

    In some cases, people do find it comfortable to get their own tow cables made. It is easier than it sounds. All you need is 2 hooks, A good strong length of metal wire (The kind used on lifting cranes), a couple of butterflys (not the living kind, but the kind used to create a stopper with wire). And a good iron smith.


    6) Tow Hooks -

    As frequent as breakage of a tow Cable, Tow hooks are also prone to breakage. If you do not wish to damage the under body or front member of your vehicle, looking for a suitable towing point, it's always wise to have a few spare Tow Hooks handy.

    tow hook.jpg

    Note - Spare hooks would be more applicable on vehicles weighing 1700 kgs and above. So if you have a breakdown prone Tata or Mahindra, then this is something you should consider investing in! :p


    7) Multi-Tool -

    From opening beer bottles to Stripping a wire to make a make-shift fuse. To open a stuck cap, or to simply tighten something that's gone loose, a multi-tool is one handy piece of hardware everyone should carry.

    It's portable, compact, easy to carry (most have a belt Holster) and provide a variety of tools and options for use. From cutting wood, to a metal file to a bone saw, most tools have nearly everything thought of and provisioned.

    These are two of my favorites, the LeatherMan Wave and the Stanley Multi Tool -

    leatherman wave.jpg

    stanley multi tool.jpg



    Note - Multi-Tools make for a quickly accessible tool for a quick job. I swear by these now, especially how handy my Leatherman came during my bike ride to Leh. Just holster it, and you are good to go.

    However, remember that these allow for limited application of force. Using them in any unnatural manner will damage them, and render them useless. So use them wisely.

    And do not compare with the cheap Chinese soft metal kinds that are readily available in the market for 500 Rs.

    A good Multi-Tool can cost you around 1800 for the Stanley, to 4000 Rs for the Leatherman, and like the one owned by the missus, around 8000 Rs for the Victorinox Multi-Tool.


    :cool: A Generic Tool Kit -

    In addition to the spanner for the wheel nuts provided by the Manufacturer, one should have a bare minimum of the following tools that would allow for a multitude of repairs on your own -

    - Pliers (Electrical)
    - Screwdriver set (1-2-3), both Flat (-) and Philips (+) - Yes its called a Philips Screwdriver not the 'Plus wala'
    - Spare spanner for wheel nuts ( in case the default spanner breaks )
    - Spanners for opening battery terminal nuts (Check and purchase)
    - Spare wire (for makeshift fuses and other repairs, handy in holding items in place as well)
    - M-Seal, Aralite, Fevi Quik
    - Spare bulbs
    - Electrical Tape, Loads of Electrical tape
    - Broad plastic tape - To cover a broken light or window, or windscreen even.
    - Rags for cleaning hands and tools
    - Hammer - only in the most dire situation.
    - Cutter - For seat belts and other obstructions. A tool available online does solve this purpose.

    Well these are some of the items I would put in my tool kit.

    An other item that I carry is a portable tyre gauge, coz mostly wherever you stop in rural India, you are simply going to get a compressor and a filling nozzle, with someone insistent on filling the air in your tyre to over 45 and 50 PSI.

    portable tyre gauge.jpg


    Note - Most are made in China, well actually all of em are made in China. So their calibration can be really off the hook. Best bet? Get air filled at a station with a digital gauge, and correspond the readings with your gauge.

    If the gauge at the pump reads 30 and your newly bought portable gauge reads 28, you know that you would have to follow a plus 2 readout on your portable gauge.

    9) Torch -

    With spare batteries. Not only do these act as a deterrent (if you buy the expensive bright ones), but also come handy as a cudgel for self-defense.

    maglite torch.jpg

    Having used Maglite extensively when at the Airport for aircraft inspection and other minute work requiring a steady, even spread of light, I would recommend investing in one or two of these excellent devices.
    Long life on AA cells, and durable, robust construction.

    These come with a belt Holster, so carrying them is easy, and they come handy at any time of the day!

    More items to follow in the next post. Please feel free to add any that you feel should be carried along on a trip. Items to come. - Engine oil, Brake oil, Communication equipment etc.
     
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  2. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    10) Oils - Engine and Brake -

    During sustained high speed running on the highway, a normal engine that would not consume oil, does burn a bit of oil. Now this is more for higher capacity engines, even more so for Diesel than Petrol. However irrespective of whether your car consumes engine oil or not, it is always wise to have atleast 1 litre of engine oil spare with you.

    engine oil.jpg




    Note - Do remember which oil type (Mineral, Semi-Synth, Fully-Synthetic) was put into your car's engine at the last service, and the grade (20W50, 20W40 etc etc). And ensure that your spare oil is also of the same spec. You can deviate a bit on the grade in the event of a necessary top up. However if you do not meet the oil type requirements, you do stand to muddle the oil in your engine. Mixing of Mineral with Fully Synthetic and Semi-Synthetic is not recommended at all.



    - Brake oil - DOT3 or DOT4? -

    Brake oil.png
    Most higher end cars today use DOT4 brake oil. While some lesser, smaller vehicles use DOT3. DOT4 is rarer in rural areas (like I found during a recent break down) as compared to DOT3.

    However in limited quantities, DOT3 can be mixed with DOT4 brake oil. The difference between the 2 is the level of water absorption by the oil (DOT4 has lower absorption than DOT3), and boiling point (DOT4 has a higher boiling point than DOT3).

    In the event of a brake oil leak, and the need to drive to a safe location, you can top up with DOT3 Brake fluid even. Upto 25-30% is permitted. However once you reach a proper service centre, your brakes will have to be drained and the entire brake fluid replaced.

    Carry a spare 150-250 ml bottle with you.

    Remember - Brake fluid is highly corrosive and toxic. Contact with skin and eyes can be extremely painful and harmful. Best to have a lot of rags, and gloves, and a funnel to ensure nothing spills or damages anything. Close the bottle carefully after use and ensure that it does not leak.
     
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  3. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    11) Communication Gear -

    More applicable for a Multi-Car Convoy. I have a set of these Motorola Talkabout Walkies, that give me a range of about 1-1.25 kms on open highways. These do come handy in quick instant communication between cars, rather than giving hand signals, and waiting for Cell phone calls to connect or be answered.

    Walkies.jpg


    Note - These cost about 1500-1800 Rs if someone you know is coming from abroad. However do check the local regulations before use. Mostly these are harmless, but like we found out in Corbett, use of portable Walkies is not permitted.

    These allow you to add more units on the same channel, so that more than one set of people can communicate with each other.
    I have been using em for over 9 years now, And I won't pack a trip that has more than one car without these.
     
  4. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Thanks to Kumar HV of HVK Fame (HiVayKing) for the following inputs -


    12) Hydraulic Jack -

    The regular screw or bottle type jack does what it says, jack up your car. But in the event of a tyre blow out, or a hurried replacement, most will notice that the most amount of time taken is in jacking up the car rather than changing the tyre. This is something that I implemented long back for my mother's car (She's 60+ and loves driving by herself).

    hydraulic Jack.jpg

    A small portable hydraulic jack. When I demonstrated it to her, she was able to jack the car easily, all by herself.

    Note - There are mostly Chinese brands in the Indian Market for this again. Preferable buy a jack that is rated above what your car weighs. What I use is a 1.5 Ton rated jack.
    And remember these are notorious for failing. So unless you have a suitable support, Do not work under the car with one of these holding it up.

    Should cost between 600-1200 Rs depending on quality and rating. The good quality/higher rating ones can be 4000+ even.


    13) Tyre tube -

    Should have covered this in the first post, but then since this is a WIP, might as well post it here. Even though you may have tubeless tyres, many a tyre have been saved by inserting a tube inside the tyre.

    Generally if the tyre gets a rip in the sidewall, it can be fixed by inserting a tube between the rim and the tyre. This will have to be done by a mechanic, unless you planning to build your muscles with a bunch of tyre irons.

    tyre tube.jpg




    Note - Just remember to test the tube before hand, and make sure it's of the right rating. Some shop keepers will offer you a 155 R 13 for a 145 R 12 tyre size (WagonR/Santro Tube vs M800). Nope, nope, nope. Not happening. Should cost between 300-500 Rs depending on company and quality.


    14) Tyre nozzle valves -

    Always good to carry a few spare ones. And if you have a compressor, and find a leak, you can change the valve yourself (provided you buy a valve changing tool), and fix your tyre.

    nozzle valve with tool.JPG


    5-10 Rs for the valves, 20-50 Rs for the tool.
     
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  5. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    15) Spanner -

    For the wheel Nuts. You could either carry a spare spanner, or invest in a 4-way Spanner that allows a greater exertion of force for a hard to open nut.

    wheel spanner.jpg

    16) Water Dispenser -

    I purchased this 1.25 Gallon or 5 litre Water dispenser from Home Centre. Around 700 Rs. How it helps is helps store water for drinking, so you don't have to spend on buying Mineral water bottles. And in the event of being stranded will provide much needed relief. We can do without food for a few hours, but not without water. Always bear than in mind when going out to help a stranded vehicle, or going anywhere for help.

    water dispenser.jpg

    This is completely leak proof, the tap at the bottom makes for easy dispensing. And if you have family with you on board, this will come handy for sure.

    If needed, the amount of water is sufficient to top up your radiator (in a small vehicle), and give you some more kilometers to drive!
     
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  6. dbg

    dbg RAID Staff Staff Member

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    Carry a set of Work Gloves too .. It would be much better if you ever needed to use these tools.
     
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  7. rpm

    rpm Lizard king Staff Member

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    You, of all people, should not talk about jump cables.
     
  8. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Lol, pray why do u say that?
     
  9. BANHAMMER

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

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    oh you girly girl!!!!
     
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  10. dbg

    dbg RAID Staff Staff Member

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    Better than to injure/cut yourself if you are stranded somewhere.
     
  11. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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  12. BANHAMMER

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

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    bah! Real man cherish the scars.
     
  13. Rockfella

    Rockfella Nordic Staff Member

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  14. BANHAMMER

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

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    In summers balls can be very saggy and sweaty, if there are no chances of getting laid, I would suggest detaching them and leaving them at home.
     
  15. Rockfella

    Rockfella Nordic Staff Member

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    Another option is to carry a set of tools to remove them IF they get sweaty or there are really no chances of getting laid. Walkies is the best equipment as i know JD's car will be serviced and running in optimum condition anyway ;)
     
  16. TheDuke

    TheDuke RAID Rookie

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    Any differences for two-wheelers/motorcycles?
     
  17. BANHAMMER

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

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    If I were you I would not take any tools specific to the car because using car tools on bikes may not work. Carrying stuff like car jack for a bike would be total waste since real man would life bike with one hand and change tyre with other.
     
  18. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    lol init, no! one would carry a tubeless repair kit or a spare tube or a puncture repair kit with tyre irons.

    During rallying riders put two tubes in the wheel, with 2 nozzles drilled in the rim. In the event one gets a puncture, they can fill the other with air and continue.

    Jack would not be needed for a motorcycle, coz you have the all important main stand, and the bikes that don't have it, use tubeless tyres, which don't even require the wheel/tyre to be removed from the bike.
     
  19. sohail99

    sohail99 RAID Rookie

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    Tetanus and wound infections are a real possibility in case one cuts his hands while working on cars!
    That's why I use mechanix armored gloves while working around the engine and wheels! Even a knife has a hard time damaging it! :p

    I'd add to that a rollable solar film to trickle charge the battery through cigarette lighter socket!
    Some quick detailer and quick waxes and some microfiber cloths to keep her shiny! :p

    First Aid kits etc. Betadine or cutasept just in case!

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
     
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  20. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Can you post some pictures of the gloves sohail??
     

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