When we first learned to drive a car, our parents had some words of wisdom that they heard from their parents who heard it from their parents and so on and so forth until the days of covered wagons. Everything from “Make sure to call me when you get there” to “Here’s how to change a tire.” I was very lucky. Apart from my parents imparting their wisdom, they also gifted me with several things that have been essential in my survival on the open road.
I can not tell you how many times I have used this particular set of jumper cables. They are at least 25 years old. I have not just used them on my vehicle, but many a stranded stranger as well. The concept is not rocket science. My father first told me DO NOT EVER touch the battery clamps together.
- You work with the dead battery first.
- First, connect the red (positive) side of the clamps to the red dead (positive) battery post.
- Then, connect the red (positive) clamp to the charged battery.
- Third, connect the black (negative) clamp to the charged battery
- Fourth, connect the black (negative) clamp to a ground on the dead car. An example of a ‘ground’ would be any part of the metal frame.
Start the charged car first and let it run. Then start the dead car and let it run. You are going to remove the clamps in reverse order. Black ground/ Black Charged/ Red Charged/ Red Dead
TIPS: If your battery is dead, it is usually one of two things. You either need a new battery, which you can change out at any automotive place OR your alternator is out. The alternator charges the battery when the car is running. If it goes out, then things like headlights, cabin lights, windshield wipers, will not work and they will drain your battery so that you can not start it.
Having an ice scraper in Texas seems like a minor thing. We are known for our triple digit temperatures, not our frigid winters. But ice scrapers can be used for so much more than scraping ice. You can now purchase ice scrapers with a small enclosed blade on the handle. It looks a bit like an envelope cutter. This little piece of ingenuity is a seatbelt knife. It is used in the event of an accident, especially one that involves water. It will allow you to safely cut your seat belt off. The ice scraper is also sturdy enough to break through the glass on your window. I have seen people use their ice scraper for more than just ice. It works great as a paint scraper or to scrap the dough off of the countertop. I have even seen one used to spread caulk.
A First Aid Kit
Another thing that my mother was adamant that I packed was a first aid kit. Thankfully I was able to find a travel sized first aid kit in the camping section of my local grocery store. It has bandages and ointments and medicine for heartburn. The most important thing it had in it though was an emergency blanket. In Texas, we have fairly mild winters, but if you were ever stuck out in the middle of nowhere, and a headlight goes out, and then the alternator goes out, that blanket will be your saving grace until help arrives to save you. No one wants to freeze waiting for help.