What tools do you carry?

dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
A cell phone and a AAA card.

Other than a flat tire there's not much on new cars you can fix by the side of the road.


  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,340
    I haven't for over 25 years but I'm still in the habit of carrying a mall toolbox with multiple screwdrivers, box and socket wrenches, wire strippers etc, a tire guage Not to forget Duct tape(the handyman's friend) and a pint of oil. When I had my '66 TR-4A I carried a spare fan belt, spark plugs, distributor cap, radiator cap and plenty of wire in varying guages, and spare points and condenser, as well a guage for gapping plugs.
    I seldom need the tools I carry nowadays--nor should I with a '98 Audi--but they come in handy sometimes for non-automotive tasks that come up at work or when I'm not near my regular tools @ home.

    I got the idea for this topic from Jamie Kitman's column describing an interstate jaunt he made recently in an old Lotus Elan. He ran into car trouble and found himself w/o proper tools. I'm not sure how someone who owns 10 old Brit and Italian cars could ever leave home without tools(?).

    What about you? Do you carry anything besides the jack and screwdriver your car came with?

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Ditto here. I don't get paid to work on my own car at the side of the road.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    Money aside, On new cars you really can't figure out what the problem is without an OBD computer. And even if you could what spares would you carry? Nobody is likely to keep a spare ECU in the trunk. Even replacing the serpentine belt is not something I would want to attempt at the side of the road.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    My 96 Riviera's a treat. The right engine mount has to come apart to replace the serpentine belt. I'd love to meet the person responsible for that setup.
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 582
    Been carrying mine for 20 years now.
  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,340

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • andys120andys120 Member Posts: 23,340
    the impossibility of doing roadside repairs in the computer age. As I originally said, I carry mine mostly out of old habit and because they're sometimes handy for non-auto uses.

    Having said that how about:
    Jumper cables, a fuse puller+spare fuses, a tire gauge, small portable compressor, small spare gas can(empty but will hold abt 2 pints). Emergency
    reflectors or flares, a small razor knife. I've had occasion to use all of these in the past 5-7 years. How about you?

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I've got one in every vehicle I own. Those things are almost a complete tool set. As far as tools go, I carry just about everything in the toolbox on my truck. You never know what you'll need when you'll need it.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    for little tickles on various things, I continue to carry...

    straight and phillips screwdrivers from 1/32 or number 0 on up

    standard and metric sockets up to 3/8 inch

    assorted flare nut and combination wrenches in both standard and metric

    single-edge razor blades

    needlenose pliers and 6-inch diagonal cutters

    lineman's pliers

    2 Vise-Grips, standard 12-inch


    spare fuses and lamps, at least one of everything

    25-foot 3000 pound logging chain and 24-inch bucksaw with two spare blades for downed timber on the road (yes, it's an SUV and I vacation in designated international wilderness areas, what's your excuse??)

    20-foot woven snap-strap for towing

    jumper cables

    empty 1 gallon jug and empty 1 gallon gas tank

    duct tape

    washer fluid and a spare quart of oil

    winter survival kit for 36 hours, including heater, in appropriate weather (this is blizzard country)

    cell phone

    extra medicine for 2 days

    small roll of pink construction site warning ribbon

    I tend to at least touch everything once per year, even in my 2000 that hasn't had one running breakdown. I really should put a spare V-belt back in now that I've got the 2-year mark, will do that next payday. I have had to replace belts twice in east Hell over 35 years of driving, and one was a serpentine.
  • 0patience0patience Member Posts: 1,712
    If my vehicle breaks down on the road, I call a tow truck, tow it home and repair it there.
    I too, don't get paid to work on my vehicle, so that being the case, it better be in a toasty shop with all the tools. ie; mine.
    The only time I ever lift a tool without getting paid for it is on my own vehicles and if it is not warm and dry, that vehicle sits. LOL!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I used to pack around a small tool kit with a few spares, flares etc...

    NEVER ONCE used any of it so I no longer bother.
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    Flares or reflectors are a good idea.
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    my vehicle is fairly new. i only carry spare light bulbs, blanket, spare fuses, screwdriver with multiple bits, pliers, jack, tire wrench, cell phone, AAA/CAA card and my tank is always full/topped-up.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    I hate stopping for gas and only do so after the low fuel light comes on!

    And, yeah...carrying flares is a good thing to do.

    I remember seeing a display of flares in an auto parts store once. The sign said..." When you NEED flares, you can't buy them!" True!
  • vwracervwracer Member Posts: 90
    Used to carry a toolbox with $200 worth of tools untill car got broken in to and tools and stero stolen a few years ago. Just bought a new truck and gotta agree with the very first poster, A CELL PHONE AND A AAA CARD.
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    its a very bad idea and practice to wait until fuel light comes on before u fill up your tank! not only is it dangerous but it can damage your vehicle!

    dangerous coz u can get stuck in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night or u can run out of gas while you are crossing the railroad tracks! it can be expensive coz each time u wait until the light comes on, your fuel level can be quite low and the pump starts sucking on dirt which in turn can block your injectors and so on.

    so i always fill up when the needle reaches 1/4 or half.
  • bburton1bburton1 Member Posts: 395
    Replaced a flat tire in -25 weather without gloves. The lug wrench actually feels like it is burning your hide at that temp. Ever since then I have a pair of cheap leather insulated gloves on top of my spare plus a full set of metric wrenches, sockets, drives, plugs and a set of drive belts. Also assorted screw drivers, vise grips etc. Never used it on my vehicles but always a sucker when see older people or females broken down on road.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Battery cables
    Combo screwdriver
    Couple of fuses
    flashlight, small enough to stick in mouth
    cell phone
    paper towels
    piece of folded cardboard to kneel on.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    the electric fuel pump is cooled by the fuel, so if you're running on fumes, you're also baking the fuel pump in a number of vehicles.

    in the case of ford explorers, at least, and I have heard rumbles of several other of their SUV line, the way the gas tank baffles are laid out, you can stall on low fuel with a quarter-tank left... if you are making a turn from stop or heading uphill. another reason I almost never drop below the half-full level. my gas tank is plastic, so I don't have to worry about the condensation from air in the tank starting rust any more.
  • topseatopsea Member Posts: 47
    It's one of the reasons that I drive an Astro. I carry two tools boxes. The heavy one weighs about 75 lbs and contains amoung other things: a complete 1/2" socket set, complete 3/8" socket set, complete 1/4" socket set and a complete 3/8" metric socket set. 1 complete combination end wrench set up to 1-1/4" and the same in a metric set up to an size 18. Then I carry a 12V Makita portable electric 3/8 drill, a volt/ohm meter, set of drill bits for metal and another set for wood and plastic. I carry a set of metric allan and a US allan set and a gapping set. There is also a complete screw driver set in that box as well as a magnet on an extension handle and a grasper on an extension handle, a set of ezeouts, Loctite, wire lube, sheet rock knife and a box cutting knife,various wire strippers and wire crimping tools, a metal 1/2 hole punch, a set of metal hole saws and mandrels, 2 different tape measures, a measuring caliper. Then there are the pliers and vise grips. Several side cutters and needle nose and channel lock water pump pliers and 3 different vise grips. A small US standard tap and die set, a hack saw with extra blades, a rubber mallot, a small ball peen hammer, a small level and a small square, several [non-permissible content removed] files and 2 different size rat tail files, wire bristle brush. There is a tubing cutter and reamer, several special screwdrivers with screwholding devices attached, 3 different sized adjustable wrenches and a few other odds and ends in that tool box which travels with a portable hand truck that folds flat.

    Under the front seat is a small toolbag with 3 different sets of Exelite tools another vise grip, set of pliers, side cutters and needle nose as well as a set of US open ended wrenchs down to 1/4". In the back of the Astro is a battery air compressor that will go up to 160lbs(if you wait long enough), empty 3 gallon container, tire sealing solution, a large light with a big single cell in it, in the front door is a double c cell Mag lite and for emergencies is a cigar lighter plug in light.

    In the center console is a battery laser pointer.

    On the dash is a Garmin Street Pilot Color trac with a 128mb data card and the western US highway system(called Metroguide) downloaded. (That way I can tell someone where I am right down to the 1/1000ths of a minute). I carry 2 cell phones, one on a different service than the other and a pager. I used to have a portable cb but got rid of it a few years ago.

    In addition, I have a supply box with various types of tape, tubing and wiring nylon line and poly line and various gas and electric fittings. There is a metal folding stepladder that goes along, a gallon of washer fluid(RainX) and a quart of oil, a box of latex exam gloves and pair of leather gloves as well as a pair of cotton gloves. I have an emergency kit with airways, H2O, fire starter, water proof matches, lighter, first aid stuff, flares, signal mirror, whistle, 2 moving blankets, battery cables, and a poly tow rope.

    Then since it's winter I have two sets of tire chains, a grain scoop shovel(for moving snow), a bag with my down sleeping bag,ski gloves, insulated pac boots, extra socks, knit cap, balclava,and Whall cover-alls. I always carry a box of heavy duty garbage bags and a couple rolls of paper towels and a fresh plastic container of wet wipes. Sometimes in the winter I also take along my Oly Mac chain saw. I won't go into what I carry in the way of fluids on board but I do have MSDS sheets for all I carry.

    I know I've forgotten a few items but that's mostly it. OH ya a AAA card................
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    Where do you sit? On the hood??????
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    WHY ???

    Are Astros THAT much trouble?
  • amoralesamorales Member Posts: 196
    1/2 and 3/8 drive sockets, assorted screw drivers, torque wrench, battery cables, duct tape for radiator hoses, switchblade stilleto (to cut duct tape), K40 CB RADIO with 130% forward modulation and Ant., kleenix, cotton towels, napkins, salt, peppar, rope, flashlight, blanket (in case heater malfunctions), hitch receiver, etc.. under and behind seat. Have not had to use items yet. Driving a '00 C2500 3/4 ton 5.7L reg cab pick-up with 46,000 trouble free miles.
  • topseatopsea Member Posts: 47
    That I carry all those tools and I still have room for 6 passengers. I occasionally carry several pieces of equipment that does take up the seating area in the Astro but for the most part everything goes behind the last seat or under the seats. My Astro is my office and I use the tools in my work so they are not just along for the ride. So far I have not used any of them on the Astro.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Makes sense now!
  • ramblinonramblinon Member Posts: 80
    Given that I enjoy traveling and often travel in the West VA and Central and Western PA in the winter, I stock the SUV with the following:

    .a Leatherman
    .a Swiss break down wood saw
    .a Browning folding saw
    .a Woodings Cruising Axe
    .a KaBar military knife (heavy duty)
    .12 Meals Ready To Eat w/ 12 chemical heaters
    .Well equipped First Aid Kit
    .Common over the counter Rx; Tylenol;aspirin
    Benedryl; extra instant cold packs and heat
    .six one litre bottles of water in pack
    .several 120 hour candles in a can
    .several 44 hour candles in a can
    .Brass enclosed candle lantern w/candles
    .water/wind proof matches
    .Gerber Strike Force fire starter
    .two down mountain sleeping bags rolled and
    .Hudson Bay Wool Blanket
    .military rain poncho w/thinsulate liner
    .Gore-tex lined -30 degree down parka w/hood
    rolled and compress in bag
    .Gore-tex over pants
    .Gore-tex, thinsulate LL Bean Hunting Boots
    .Serius Wind/Waterproof thinsulate gloves
    .2 pair Trekker Mountain Wool knee socks
    .2 pair lightweight fleece liner socks
    .Serius balcava
    .Compass/topo maps
    .MountainSmith Back Pack
    .Walking staff with carbide tip and rubber tip
    .Coleman Black Cat Catalytic Heater w/fuel
    .100' rope
    .nylon two strap
    .compressor w/12V outlet and 12V charger
    .2 Rx Stout mystery books (Nero Wolfe)
    .Cell phone
    .CB Radio
    .portable digital multi band radio with seper-
    ate long line antenna. Extra batteries.
    .4 D Cell Flashlight; extra batteries/bulbs
    .3 D Cell Flashlight; extra batteries/bulbs
    .2 AA Cell Flashlights; batteries/bulbs
    .l military goose neck 2 cell flashlight with
    several different colored lens
    .12 hour light sticks; Yellow/Red
    .Folding Military entrenching shovel
    .compact 35MM camera w/film
    .compact 8 x 35 binoculars
    .compact folding triangle warning kit
    .surplus military tool bag w/tools
    .extra pair of glasses
    .lip balm
    .extra boiled wool watch cap
    .Quart 5W30 oil; duct tape; plastic bags

    All this and more fits in waterproof compact bags that can be removed in a minute. Any thing with an expiration date is noted on a pad and replaced when necessary. A list of all contents is immediately inside each bag. The BackPack is self contained, medium sized and is used to store specific items.

    I carry all of this in a rather small area in the rear of my current SUV, a 2001 Isuzu Trooper. I remember not so long ago when a 100+ vehicles were stranded for days on Route 81 in the PA Mountains during a terrific snow storm.

    While this may be rather anal to some, it is rather fun when sitting in the garage with a couple buddies having a beer and discussing our "kits" and what trips each of us have planned.

    Have a sealed metal box at a cabin, so animals can't get in, with some essential supplies. No electricity. So, the SUV stuff could come in handy there also.

    I love retirement:)

    P.S. One Litre Bicardi Rum for Medicinal Purposes :)
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    Doesn't all that stuff come as standard wquipment in an Abrams?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I really ought to get more clothing and food into my REI large duffel that I have loaded with

    >3.5 pound polyester/cotton sleeping bag
    >set fleecewear

    >3 sets wicking synthetic winter socks
    >deerhide choppers with 2 liner sets (mittens from Hell for those in warmer climates)
    >5 bottles isopropyl gasline antifreeze (undrinkable)
    >certain amounts of ready cash
    >chopped gallon jug (disaster chamberpot)
    >pint cooking pot for snow melting
    >candle lantern with 6 refills
    >mechanics wire for slinging same overhead
    >24-hour candle furnace
    >burns anywhere matches
    >antihistamine, aspirin, rolaids, etc
    >2 days of necessary prescriptions (asthma and heart attack patient)
    >DC cord for the PCS phone
    >2 movers' quilts for extra warmth always in car
    >2 sets batteries and bulbs for the 4-cell lantern
    >big bag gorp
    >empty gallon jug
    >flashing bike safety light with extra batteries to catch attention
    >roll of showy fluorescent pink builder's marking tape to catch attention
    >I put the Sorels boots in for every long drive
    >couple paperbacks
    >two grocery-size paper bags with handles
    >roll tp in ziploc bag
    >scoop shovel
    >half dozen kitchen garbage bags
    >weatherproof oversize rain suit

    and I have been remiss in not adding lately, especially since this weekend looks like heavy weather and I plan a road trip...

    >extra long wicking underwear set
    >rabbit fur balaclava and fleece gloves
    >lowfat crackers etc
    >the second first-aid kit
    >used screwdrivers for use as ice grabs in case I have to haul my sodden, frozen butt out of an ice break-through (a single 4-in-one and a 1/2-inch cabinetmakers' screwdriver won't do it, a pair of super-stout blade-through Philips #1 or #2 would be much better)
    >canoeists' dry sack to hold a full change of wicking synthetic clothing and keep it dry no matter what
    >second LED camper's light, 30+ hours on two AA cells and good for reading by (places like www.rei.com and www.piragis.com sell them around $20-25)

    I don't think a hip flask makes a lot of sense the way our fine regional constabulary assumes if you have been in the ditch a day and still have a gleam in your eye, you had an elephant's snootful when you spun in there in the first place.

    and of course, as always, enough tools to do half of a disassembly/reassembly of the Exploder and log a forest, as way up the list.

    and the 35mm with spare film and battery in the front for documentation in the face of insurance claims agents who think it's their own money, not mine....
  • ramblinonramblinon Member Posts: 80
    do you mean I'm not the only person out there that remembers the old Boy Scout "Be Prepared".

    This may be one of the really great topic areas around. Lets hear from some more folks on this topic.
  • mdecampsmdecamps Member Posts: 115
    A roll of toilet paper!!!! You need that far more often than any other tool....
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    stuff blows around the road, and you wouldn't want pre-owned TP sticking to your windshield, either. it is incumbent to carry plastic bags for the appropriate purpose, take it home, and dispose of the insides if you use the paper for its intended use.

    TP tends to be too quick to disintegrate for use as a wipe rag on cars; a half-used roll of paper towels is of great value, and of course the shop rags when they're on sale at your local parts place are great for wiping down nasty messes. not very water-absorbent, though they are good on grease.
  • mdeymdey Member Posts: 90
    In Columbia, SC, it gets rather warm, so winter gear isn't quite the priority.

    Everyday kit:
    a basic tool wrap with combination wrenches (ASAE and metric)
    a 3/8 and 1/4 socket sets (ASAE and metric) (including universal joints)
    a full set of screw drivers
    a variety of pliers
    a large adjustable wrench
    two flashlights (big and small)
    jumper cables
    wrags and a towel
    a full first aid kit
    a compass
    a swiss army knife
    tire gauge
    a pack of moist towlettes and tissues (good for toilette paper too)
    a couple bottles of water that I rotate to the fridge for fresh bottles when I change the oil
    floppy hats and sun screen
    hitch receiver with 1-7/8 ball
    chain extensions
    a 4-wire harness extension
    an adapter for the RV plug reciever to accept a 4-wire trailer harness
    when I change the serpentine belt, I put the old one in the car
    when I change the plug wires, I put the longest old one in the car (two of my cars now have coil on plug, so that item is out of the car)
    an extra hose clamp
    razor blades
    electrical tape
    duct tape
    a hand broom
    extra circuit breakers (fuses)

    When I pull a trailer I have a kit in the garage that I put in the car that has:

    a small jack
    an air pump
    a can of fix-a-flat

    In the winter I add:

    boots and thermal socks
    a warm coat
    a blanket
    I have a pair of warm gloves I leave in the car year round
    an 8' chain
    a small shovel

    I don't carry motor oil normally because my cars don't use oil, but I'll throw in a quart when I travel.

    When I travel, I do build a travel kit.

    appropriate clothing and boots and a blanket for cold weather
    I also throw in a 3/8 torque wrench because I had to change a water pump 800 miles from home once I also carry food when I travel
    a spare headlamp (I had to drive overnight on an 800-mile trip with one headlight because parts stores close at 8 p.m. on Saturday night in Detroit).

    I am pretty meticulous about maintenance, and wearables get replaced long before they wear out. I did have a flat recently while traveling in the old Explorer. Left front tire and I can speak from experience on Explorers and tires; it's the car. I wish I had something to kneel on and I could have used two rags, not one. Some dry hand cleaner might be a good addition if I could find some. I put a pack of those moist towlettes in the car instead and added a towel.

    I haven't had to use the tools on my own car nearly as often as I have on cars belonging to others. But I feel better that the stuff is there.
  • jpc47jpc47 Member Posts: 62
    A cell Phone
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    great choice, the old Motorola flip-phones can make good wheel chocks for the lighter cars in the crowd.

    the rest depends on how good the AAA mechanics are ;)

    but in the hands of most people, a cell phone is arguably the more appropriate tool for any mechanical adjustment :-D
  • ata3001ata3001 Member Posts: 30
    I drive a 2001 Toyota Corolla. What else do I need to say! I don't carry any tools, Don't need to. ;-)
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    in my case, I haven't NEEDED to make a roadside repair in 14 years. but I WANT to have a bunch of stuff around for the odd camping fixup, and everybody knows having a full set of sockets in the truck provides two extra horsepower in any tailgate-down discussion ;)
  • nippononlynippononly Member Posts: 12,555
    I make sure to always have a cell phone and a working flashlight with me. Then of course, there is all the standard jacking equipment the car comes with, and I also carry a Sears socket kit, which has a full range of sockets with two drives, flat-blade and Phillips screwdrivers, and pliers. Don't feel I need much more than that, altho I always keep an old towel in there, which has come in handy on more than one occasion.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • handelyourselfhandelyourself Member Posts: 26
    A hammer, hacksaw, screwdriver, Slim Jim, and a Glock (j/k).


    I carry jumper cables, screw driver, two cresant wrenches, flashlight, pliers, cellphone, and AAA card.
  • beachfishbeachfish Member Posts: 97
    The usual small hand tools, tape(duct & electrical), entrenching tool, couple of boards, snatch strap, flares, cell phone and a handgun(no joke). And yes, I do have a permit to carry it loaded.

    If I'm going to the trap, sporting clays or rifle range I'll be better armed :) Daddy was a state trooper and didn't raise no fools(as the saying goes.)

  • julusjulus Member Posts: 26
    I have saved a lot of bad evenings for a lot of desperate people with a set of jumper cables. It is the only tool I carry which did not come with the vehicle.
  • almaggalmagg Member Posts: 15
    97 Buick Skylark
    i was going to look at the air filter and it requires a straight-head screwdriver and a hex key wrench for the clamp. all i had was a phillips and needle nose pliers:-)

    soooo what is needed for an adequate starter, nothing major, tool set.
    do i need metric and non-metric sockets, wrenches?
    kragen's has those Team Mechanix kits. cheesy?
  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    I would get one of those fairly compact tool sets that you can find in most auto parts stores, or Wal-Mart, for around $30. They have an assortment of sockets along with some end wrenches, a couple of screwdrivers, pliers, etc. I have seen them contain both metric and SAE, but if you can't find one like that, get two sets just in case that Buick has both. I would be willing to bet it does. Even if it doesn't, you'll be a hero to someone stuck in the middle of nowhere at 2:00 a.m. if you have the right tool to fix their car.
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