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It’s May, it’s May!
I can hardly believe that it is May already – if it weren’t for the jam-packed schedule from all the end-of-the-school-year activities, spring sports, and graduations are piling up in the calendar, I probably would still think it was March.
But May means much more than graduation, zoo trips, and field day! It also means that it’s a great time to make sure that your car is prepped for the next season. While there are some tools and necessities that you’ll need in your car all year-long (like jumper cables, first aid kit, etc.), there are some that we want to add or refresh in preparation for summer travels. Hikes, road trips, and adventures make the summer bright, and we always want to be ready!
How to Prep Your Summer Car Emergency Kit
Today I’m going to share with you my favorite additions to the summer car emergency kit. If you have the room in your car, you can always add more items, but these are the ones that are of the most use for my family in our car.
My Summer Car Emergency Kit Items
Here are the items that I use in my summer car emergency kit:
We all need water – but it’s especially important in the summer! It is generally recommended that you bring 1-2 gallons of water, plus an extra bottle of water for each person in the car. If you’re going on a long trip, always pack extra water!
Check your supply of coolant and oil – you definitely need coolant in the summer. We choose a prediluted variety so that we don’t have to use our precious water diluting it. Plus, it is way easier and that helps in an emergency. You’ll also want to make sure you have extra oil – you don’t want to find out that you need it when you’re trying to get home from a hike and you’re far from town!
Summer means warm weather – but don’t take out your blankets from the car! Summer nights can still be very cool, and if you’re stranded on the side of the road, it might come in very handy. Plus, you never know when you’ll have a surprise perfect picnic place come up in your travels! Bring the towels for when you have to change a tire in the rain – but they also make excellent slide dryers – if you stop at a park in the morning when the dew is still on the slides, wipe them down with a towel and you won’t have any wet bums running around.
Snacks are super important – you probably already have some from your regular car emergency kit, but now is a great time to refresh your supply or replace with new ones. For us, we like to pack snacks like jerky and granola that offer a great kick of nutrition with as few extra ingredients as possible. And good ol’ hot sauce because when that surprise picnic pops up, you definitely do not want to be without hot sauce!
You’ll also want to make sure that your general survival gear is still packed. You may need to replenish your supply, or at least make sure you have extras. You don’t want to drive off on an adventure without a knife, fire starters (dryer lint and old wax in paper cups), or matches and a lighter. What about the battery? In an emergency, you can use a key and a cell phone car charger with the 9 volt battery to charge up your cell phone – it’s not something you want to do all the time, but in an emergency, it can get you enough juice to call for help. (To learn more, check out this post on Lifehacker)
When traveling with kids, entertainment options are important. I like to try to pack extra activities for kids to do – whether we’re going on a long trip, stuck on the side of the road, or even heading off to that surprise picnic, a simple activity like crayons and coloring books go with us so that we have even more options to play and be creative together.
We also use the FRAM Extra Guard Air Filter – having clean air helps your car’s engine because it helps keep dirt out of the engine. With a clean air filter, you may notice increased acceleration, horsepower, and engine performance – that’s definitely a great way to start a summer road trip!
Installing a FRAM Air Filter
All of the items in the summer car emergency kit list are fairly easy to find and use – but what about the air filter? I’m happy to tell you that the air filter is quite easy as well. Not too much effort to install – and it packs a great return with the benefits!
My husband went with me to pick up the FRAM air filter – as you can see from the shelves there are many ones, so you have to pick the one that fits your vehicle. You can use the machine there in the aisle, or you can find FRAM at Walmart. It’s very easy to look it up online, then you can walk right up, grab the one you need, and you’re ready to go!
FRAM recommends that you change your air filter every year, or every 12,000 miles, but of course you will need to follow recommended change intervals as noted in your vehicle owner’s manual. I wanted to see how easy it really was to change the air filter, and it was absolutely no problem at all. In just a few minutes, I had a fresh air filter installed – no tools or other people required!
Step 1: Find and open your air filter housing
First, you’ll need to locate your air filter. Check your owner’s manual. Mine has a little air symbol on it. You’ll need to open the locks that hold it in place (top and bottom of picture).
Step 2: Remove your old filter
You’ll need to carefully remove your old filter from the housing. Mine is a bit of an odd angle, but you unhook the snaps (right side of the pic, just below the middle) and remove the old filter
Step 3: Add the new filter
Get your FRAM ExtraGuard filter out of the box and put it in the filter housing where you removed the old one.
Step 4: Close the filter housing
This was the hardest part for me because I kept not getting the little feet in the little brackets right – the filter was in perfectly, but you have to make sure it’s aligned correctly when you snap the locks back closed. It still only took me a few minutes and now, it’s perfect!
So there you have it! Those are the items that I use in my summer car emergency kit, as well as a tutorial on how to install a FRAM air filter.
Other summer car emergency kit suggestions
Here are some other suggestions for items you may want to keep in your summer car emergency kit:
- Tweezers/tick removers
- Bug spray
- Lip balm
- Rain coat
- Aloe vera gel
Year-Round Car Emergency Kit Items
Here are some suggestions of what you might want to include in your car emergency kit year round:
- jumper cables
- red bandana
- 9 volt battery
- cell phone car charger
- cones/flares/warning triangles
- tire pressure gauge
- first aid kit
- transmission fluid
- toilet paper
- hand sanitizer
- pocket knife
- fire starters
- spare tire/donut
What do you keep in your summer car emergency kit? Do you change items out with different seasons?