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How to prepare for a roadside emergency

Snowstorm at night with a car, headlights on, driving through it

Essential car maintenance skills

Help may not always be available immediately, or sometimes at all, when your car breaks down. Knowing very basic car maintenance can help get you on your way again.

  • How to change a tire
  • How to jumpstart a car
  • How to check and change a battery
  • How to get a manual transmission car going when it won’t start

Roadside assistance

You can get roadside assistance through your car insurance company, dedicated roadside assistance providers, and it may be a feature in your vehicle’s navigation system. Having roadside assistance will make a breakdown much less stressful and costly, so shop around and see what option is best for you.

If you have to wait for roadside assistance, you should carry a few essentials in your car.

Here are some items to include:

  • Jack, spare tire, air pump, tire patching kit, wheel removal tools, and locking wheel nut adaptor
  • Blankets and a change of clothes, especially in the winter
  • Chains, sand, and shovel in case you get stuck
  • First aid kit
  • Flares
  • Jumper cables
  • Duct tape
  • Water and non-perishable food
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Cell phone charger
  • Tarp
  • Rain jacket
  • Tool kit
  • Candle in a can and matches
  • Whistle
  • Maps
  • Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid

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