Whether it’s the self-quarantining and working from home or just amended travel plans, a May 2020 consumer sentiment study by J. D. Power found that many people are expecting to drive less in the foreseeable future. Of course, driving less does not mean that you should be driving unprepared. Here are ten essential things to have in your vehicle to keep you ready for life’s unexpected happenstances.
- Documents & User Manual. It may seem obvious, but it’s worth making sure you keep your registration and proof of insurance in your vehicle. Also, be sure that you always have your license when driving.One thing people often forget to keep in their vehicle is the user manual—that book could provide essential guidance if any warning lights appear on the dashboard, or if you have questions about the usual (or unusual) operation of your vehicle.
- Mobile Phone Charger. Your mobile phone is an important tool whether you need to call emergency services, a tow truck, or even just seek directions. Of course, your phone won’t do much good without a charge, so keeping a spare charger close at hand is a smart move.
- Pencil/Pen & Paper. Sure, it may seem like you can do everything with your mobile phone, but an old school pen and paper is a useful set of tools to have in your vehicle.
- Jumper Cables, Car Jack, & Spare Tire. Many vehicles have a spare tire and a car jack, but it’s worth making sure that you’re covered in case one of your tires needs to be replaced. In that same vein, it’s a good idea to have a set of jumper cables in case your battery dies. It’s much easier to find another vehicle to help get your car started than to find another vehicle and jumper cables to get you going.
- Tire Pressure Gauge. This little tool doesn’t take up much space, but it could save you an immense headache in the future. If a tire looks low, you can check it before you irreparably damage the tire or rim. Also, St. Louis temperatures fluctuate so much that tire pressure can both dive too low and jump too high—a gauge helps you identify what’s happening with your tires.
- Flashlight. One of the most useful and versatile tools to keep in your vehicle is a good flashlight. Even if your phone has a flashlight, it’ll likely drain your phone and may be less useful than a powerful utility flashlight. A solid guiding principle: make sure your flashlight is bright enough to provide sufficient light to change your tire on a pitch-black night, or during a rainy evening.
- A Multitool or Tool Kit, and First Aid Kit. It’s impossible to plan for every unknown but keeping a set of tools or multitool in your vehicle is a step in the right direction. In addition, a first aid kit could be very useful for any of life’s little surprises.
- Water & Nonperishable Food. If your vehicle gets stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck, it can be helpful to have water and a snack in the hot St. Louis summer. Since you can’t plan for how long you’ll have to wait, it’s a smart idea to cover your bases with a few water bottles and granola bars.
- A Spare Set of Clothes & Shoes. It’s not something that might immediately come to mind, but if you’re changing a tire on the side of the road in the hot sun, you might want to change afterwards. Similarly, if you accidentally spill coffee or something on you, a spare change of clothing could provide a much more comfortable drive.
- Towels or Rags. Spills, messes, and even rainy days happen. Keeping a few rags or towels handy could be a quick fix in an otherwise messy situation.
- Refinance your vehicle. So, you didn’t finance your vehicle with Vantage—it’s ok, we’ll forgive you. We’ll also give you $100 cash or more if you move your vehicle loan to Vantage. * That could mean not only mean extra cash in wallet, but more breathing room in your budget.
- Insurance. Besides packing your vehicle for the great unknown, it’s worth doing a quick check-up on your insurance coverage. Does your insurance coverage match your driving needs? When’s the last time you double-checked?
Get the guidance you need from our dedicated representatives at Credit Union Insurance Agency (CUIA). **
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You can also contact a CUIA representative with any questions at:
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* $10,000 minimum loan. Refinance is only for non-Vantage loans.
** The Credit Union Insurance Agency, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Members Resource LLC, a Credit Union Service Organization, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vantage Credit Union.