What's something you should ALWAYS keep in your car?

Do I need to legally carry my driving licence?

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to legally carry your driving licence with you when you are driving. However, it is strongly recommended.

A Police Officer can ask to see your licence at any time and if you do not produce it immediately, then you will have to produce it at a Police Station within 7 days. If you don’t, then it’s an offence and you will be prosecuted. So, while it’s not illegal, it’s highly recommended. Most people have their licence with them in their wallet or purse anyway. However, if you lose your licence then it needs to be replaced straight away.

What should I do if I lose my driving licence?

If you have lost your licence, or it has been stolen or damaged, then you need to get it replaced immediately.

But don’t worry, getting it replaced is pretty straightforward. You can do it online with the DVLA. If you go here, you will be able to do it. You will have to do this as soon as possible. As we said above, you will only have 7 days to produce your licence if you are asked and it can take longer for your new licence to be delivered.

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Winter Accessories to Have on Hand

While not essential, there are numerous other items that might be worth keeping around just in case. You never know what might be useful, so here are the top things that online driver reviews suggest you keep around:

  • Things to keep your car clean, such as paper towels in case of a spill, windshield washer fluid, or even some polish
  • In winter, it definitely helps to keep a blanket or jacket in the car, and a foldable shovel might come in handy if you ever find yourself snowed in
  • Similarly, if a sudden downpour should hit, you’ll thank yourself for packing an umbrella or a raincoat
  • Some emergency food supplies might come in handy if you break down overnight. High-calorie food that provides a lot of energy is your best bet, but be sure to pack some bottles of water, too.

It can be useful to keep a mobile phone and a charger in your vehicle

Although you should never use your phone while driving, Edmonds said AAA recommends keeping a cell phone and a charger in your car in case you get lost or find yourself in an emergency situation. Most smartphones can be used as a compass or a GPS and, of course, they can be used to contact someone for help.

In an emergency, you may be glad to have a spare tire and jumper cables in your vehicle

Jumper cables can help start a car battery.
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State Farm Calabasas insurance agent Mike Martinek told INSIDER that it is important to keep a spare tire and jumper cables in a vehicle, as both can offer makeshift solutions to common automobile issues. 

Jumper cables can be used to jump-start a car, which can temporarily a vehicle’s battery get a boost. Spare tires can come in handy if you need to replace a flat or blown-out tire for a short period of time. 

Tire Pressure Gauge

Monitoring tire pressure levels is something every driver should do regularly. Proper pressure levels on tires increase stability and safety, and can even save you fuel costs by making your car move more efficiently. A tire pressure gauge will allow you to measure which tires need to be inflated or deflated, and by how much.

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Shovel

If you often drive in snowy or muddy areas, having a shovel on hand to dig your way out of a jam can save you the time and expense of getting a tow.

29. A three-pack of windshield de-icer for melting snow, frost, and ice from any exterior glass or metal surface on your car with a quick and simple spray

Amazon Promising review: “The winter weather here is unpredictable so some days it’s warm and the next it’s freezing and I come out to a car that needs the windows scraped and defrosted which takes time I don’t have to spare since I’m typically late getting out the door already. With these handy dandy canisters however I can quickly spray the windows and go! —D Thompson Get it from Amazon for $22.99.

7. A car windshield sunshade to keep you from burning your hands on the steering wheel after you’ve parked in the sun for hours

Amazon As one of the car products that must’ve been designed by geniuses, it even comes in multiple sizes (depending on your make and model) with a money-back guarantee. Promising review: “This is super easy to use. Open and put it in the window, can’t get any easier than that. My GMC Denali sits outside in the Southeastern NC sun all day and this really made a difference. When I get into my truck I can actually sit on the leather seats without being burned. It also keeps the sun off my dash which is important down here in the Southeast. I would definitely recommend it.’ —Sharon Get it from Amazon for $11.89+ (available in sizes XS–XXL).

What safety equipment should I legally carry in my car?

Unlike France, we do not have any laws that require you to carry certain equipment in your car. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Being prepared in the event of an accident or a break-down is invaluable. While you hopefully will never need to use it, you’ll be glad you were prepared in the event you do.

So, no laws that require you to carry any equipment with you. However, you should have a few things in the event of an emergency. We recommend things such as;

  • A high visibility jacket
  • A hazard triangle
  • Spare tyre/jack
  • First aid kit
  • Mobile phone and charger
    • One of those old phones that have a long battery life will do, our smartphones aren’t built to last a break-down
  • Water
  • Waterproofs
  • A road map
  • Details of your breakdown cover and insurance company details
  • A blanket
  • Non-perishable food
    • Things such as crisps or cereal bars
  • A torch
    • Preferably wind up unless you want to keep spare batteries in your car as well

So those are a few of the things we recommend you keep in your car. We definitely recommend stocking your car up if you are doing a long journey or during the colder months. While you don’t have to have everything in your car all the time, having the essentials could prove invaluable.

How Long Should I Let My Engine Warm Up?

This is another question that bothers many car owners.

In winter, how much time is usually enough for the car’s engine to warm up?

And since we have already figured out that repeated warming up ruins the engine, you might want to complete the procedure as fast as possible in order to cause the minimal damage to the vehicle.

As for that, the ideal required amount of time you should spend on warming your car up is thirty seconds.

Of course, it does not mean that you must stand beside your car with a stopwatch counting seconds while the engine is getting warmed up! But at least you can approximately calculate how long it takes to be able to stop it when it’s enough.

Like that, if you don’t overrun the engine for warming the car, you will reduce the potential damage significantly, and your vehicle will serve you longer.

Credits: Mac99, via Canva.com
Credits: Mac99, via Canva.com

What to Do If Your Car’s Engine Is Frozen And It Won’t Start?

All right, we have shared a few easy to use tips with you on how to keep your car warm overnight in winter so that you can start it in the morning with no effort.

But what if it already happened that the engine of your vehicle got frozen and it won’t start no matter what you do to it?

This can happen to any of us and of course, the very first reaction will be panic.

Credits: dnberty, via Canva.com
Credits: dnberty, via Canva.com

However, to be able to cope with that, you’d better to calm down and make use of one of the following recommendations we offer to you:

  • Jump the car’s battery. The manual of your car must have instructions on how to do it, and we recommend you read them very carefully since if you do anything wrong, the battery can explode!
  • Also, it will be better if you leave your car running for at least twenty minutes after you jump-started it. It will let your battery recharge, otherwise, you will face the whole problem once again when trying to restart it.
  • Bring your car to the auto shop to find the source of the problem.
  • Hold the key in the ignition for ten seconds to let the engine warm up.
  • To start your car when it is freezing cold outside, start with switching off any accessories, such as lights, radio, or heater. Then start the engine.

These simple tricks may help, but if they don’t, then your car must be examined in order to find the flaw and fix it.

Credits: Simon Greig, via Canva.com
Credits: Simon Greig, via Canva.com

Documents to keep at home

Sale documents

Since you don’t need your bill of sale, transfer of ownership or certificate of inspection to drive you should keep all of these pieces of paper out of your car and in a safe place. These items are proof that you own the car and that it’s safe to be on the road.

If you ever want to sell your vehicle you’ll need to provide the new owner with these documents. Make duplicates, store them separately and keep digital versions on file.

Maintenance Records

It’s also not necessary to keep your maintenance records in your vehicle — for the sake of a clean car, it’s best to file those receipts as soon as you get home from the mechanic. Maintenance records can help you predict when it’s time for a tune up or an oil change.

Don’t get caught driving without the necessary documents and keep vital ownership information far away from your car.

Get in touch with Birchwood Credit Solutions today to find out about the documents you need when applying for a car loan with us.

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March 27, 2022 Did you know you don’t need a license to buy a vehicle? However, you’re legally obligated to have vehicle registration, insurance and a license in order to drive it. Learn more: https://www.birchwoodcredit.com/blog/do-i-need-a-manitoba-driver-license-to-buy-a-car/.March 21, 2022 Believe it or not, it’s the first day of Spring – the perfect time to start thinking about getting your car ready for the new season. Even if the snow doesn’t disappear for a while, read these 7 car maintenance tips so you’re prepared for warmer weather: https://themufflerman.com/tips-from-the-man/7-important-spring-car-maintenance-tips/.March 19, 2022 We helped Georgie get into a vehicle quickly and we can do the same for you! All you have to do is fill out our online pre-approval and we’ll contact you to discuss your budget and vehicle preferences. Get started today: https://bit.ly/2PlhWFe.

FAQs

What things are you required by law to keep easily available in your car?

While there are a lot of things you should keep in your car, only a select few are legally essential. You must, at all times while operating a motor vehicle in the USA, have a valid driver’s license, a copy of your car registration, and your car insurance information.

What are the most important things to keep in your car?

A simple beginner’s checklist of things you should always have in your car includes: a car emergency kit with a spare tire and tire-changing tools, a properly stocked first-aid kit as well as your medical information in the event that paramedics need to rescue you, legal documentation such as your license and registration, a fire extinguisher, and emergency contact info in case you lose your phone and need to call for help.

How do you keep things cool in your car?

The best way to keep things inside your car cool, is to keep your entire vehicle cool. There are some pretty simple ways to do this, as well as a few life hacks you may want to consider. Firstly, be sure to avoid parking in direct sunlight whenever possible. Covering your dash and steering wheel also helps to keep the ambient temperature down, and using a sunshade or window visor further helps in this regard. You can also rely on a solar-powered fan when on the move, since it won’t draw from the car’s electronics, which can actually increase overall heat instead.

How do you keep things in your car from freezing?

In particularly cold areas of the US, it is actually possible for certain liquids to freeze inside your vehicle. When it comes to the water flowing through your engine, you should be using anti-freeze. However, for bottles of water or other liquids inside your car, you may need to resort to a cooler. Yes, you hear correctly. Coolers are more climate-controlled than a steel box. The plastic maintains the internal temperature far better, especially if you warm it up before storing your food and drinks inside. This will help offset the slow cooling process a bit and prevent your goods from freezing or potentially exploding.

What are the essential things to keep in your car in case of an emergency? In the event of an accident or a breakdown, there are a number of tools and gadgets that can make your life a lot easier. A fire extinguisher will come in handy if you have a particularly explosive accident or your engine overheats to the point of combustion. If you simply have a flat, some sealant and a tire pump might solve the problem, or you can replace the tire with a spare and your tire jack. In either case, a reflective emergency triangle will help steer other motorists away from your vehicle and reduce the risk of further harm. Should you break down in the middle of a blizzard, attaching some colorful material to your car antenna can help emergency teams to locate you, although flares do the job even better. If you live in an area where it can sometimes take days for emergency response teams to reach you, it is imperative that you keep enough non-perishable food and water on board to carry you through.

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