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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

Tools and Spare Parts That Should Be Kept in Your Classic for Road Trips

Your classic car or truck may be in pristine shape, but everything eventually wears out and breaks.  Even the finest restored classic cars encounter mechanical problems out on the road from time to time.  The risk of something happening certainly increases the longer of road trip you plan on taking.

When it a mechanical failure happens to your classic, you will be happy that you have these tools and spare parts on hand to help fix the issue and keep you safe.  Flat tires and issues with the engine are the most common problems. Here is a list we put together of items most commonly needed when something goes wrong with your classic car or truck.

Tools to Have

Basic Tool Kit – At a minimum we suggest you carry a flat head and Phillips-head screwdriver, good channel lock pliers, an adjustable wrench. If possible, carry a socket set with you as well. You might want to bring more tools than this, but we suggest these as must haves. Throw in a roll of duct tape as well. This stuff can work miracles in an emergency.

Flashlight and Extra Batteries – Day or night you might find yourself in need of a flashlight. Need to see the fuse panel better or look at the underside of your vehicle? You will be happy you have that flashlight on hand. Might want to store some extra batteries with it as well. If you need to leave your vehicle at night and walk to find help, the flashlight will be priceless.

Jumper Cables – Who hasn’t encountered a dead battery at some time or another? Having cables can make all the difference. The difference being you getting a jump from another motorist or waiting for the tow truck to arrive.

Tire Iron/ Car Jack – A spare tire should be an obvious thing to have in your vehicle. Flat tires are the most common issue causing motorists to be stranded. You are also going to need a working car jack and tire iron to remove the lug nuts. It’d be pretty tough to put on the new spare without them. Tossing a tire pressure gauge in the glove box is also a good idea.

Fire Extinguisher – We pray you never have to use this tool, but it can be one of the most important on the list. Don’t learn the hard way by overlooking this crucial tool. Having a fire extinguisher can stop a minor fire from becoming a complete loss of your classic collector.

First Aid – You don’t need much with this tool. A small, basic kit from your local grocer or pharmacy will probably be enough for any minor injuries you might encounter out on the road. Add specific items to the first aid kit to meet any specific needs your family members may have.

Basic Survival Gear – Drinking water, non-perishable food like an MRE, and a blanket are also good items to have just in case you get seriously stranded. Water also can come in really handy if you need some extra for an overheated engine.

Warning Triangle/Flares – Safety first! Emergency triangles and flares let other motorists know you are on the side of the road. They are easily spotted from a safe distance which helps prevent collisions. Flares are a great additional level of protection during nighttime breakdowns.

Spare Parts & Fluids to Have

Fuses – Fuses are an absolute must have!  So many things throughout your vehicle depend on a fuse.  Carry a variety of amperage so you will have what you need when one blows.

Light Bulbs – Bulbs are more likely to fail than any other part on a car.  It is best to keep a variety of brake, headlight, and turn signal bulbs in the glove box.  Good to have at night and get you out of a ticket from the local authorities.

Oil and Coolants – Always carry at least 2 quarts of oil and a gallon of coolant. These two fluids are essential for a vehicle to operate. You might want to consider an empty gas can as well just in case you forgot to fill up and run out.

Spare Tire– Not much of an explanation here.  It’s just always a good idea to have a spare tire on any vehicle you plan to drive.  One other handy item to keep with you… a can of Fix-a-Flat!

Points and Condenser – Points can certainly fail while you are cruising down the road.  When you do a tune up and replace the points and condenser, put the old one in your trunk box as a backup.

Spark Plugs – You don’t need a whole set.  Keep one or two new plugs that have already gapped.  If you have the room, store an entire extra tune-up set of plugs.

Hoses – Carrying extra radiator hose is a good idea on longer journeys.  Of course, you should inspect them well before you start your trip.  Still, having spare hose can really come in handy.  Some extra ring clamps are good idea too.

Belts – If possible, carry one belt for each required system…alternator, power steering, fan, A/C belt.  Whatever your vehicle requires.  Doing so will save you from finding it while out on the road.

Lug Nut and Lug Bolt – They may be small in size, but they are mighty important.  Strip one while changing a tire and you will be thanking your lucky stars you remembered to throw some extra lugs and bolts in the spare parts box.

Distributor Cap / Rotor – You may or may not be able to find one of these nearby if you break down.  It’s easy to package a distributor cap with the points, condenser and rotor and keep it in a parts box in the trunk.  It’s better to have it and not need it.

We admit this is somewhat of a long list (actually we could add more items), but if you have the room in the truck of your classic car or room in the bed of your classic truck, we suggest having these things on hand if you are going on a road trip.  It is certainly better to have these things and not need them.  You can cruise with confidence that if there is a mechanical breakdown, you and your classic vehicle will be better equipped to make it back home safely.

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