A word regularly used in our daily lives during this current situation. We hear or read about the word almost every day, so much that we have nearly become desensitized about the fact that it can mean our survival for the long term.
In our motoring lives also, there are also essentials. Let’s call these items motoring essentials.
These motoring essentials help make our travels in our vehicles stress- and hassle-free. Even in this day and age of technology laden vehicles, there are still some things that we should consider as an essential but we don’t get driving out the dealer’s showroom floor.
While some of you may consider different things as an essential for driving but that comes down to personal preferences. I have shortlisted a few items that, ideally, should be part of your motoring essentials.
Let us begin with an item that would seem so insignificant, we take it for granted until that point in time that we actually wished we had it. The lowly tire pressure gauge. Not just a regular, run-of-the mill one though but an accurate tire pressure gauge. Granted that, these days, there are some vehicles available from the different car manufacturers that offer tire pressure monitoring systems, these systems are usually available on their higher end models or top variants of some models.
Ideally, you should check tire pressure levels before the first drive you make for the day. This is done to get the cold tire pressures and allows you to visually check the tire’s condition before driving out. The factory recommend cold tire pressure levels can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or a sticker in the door jamb area of the driver’s door.
Tire pressure gauges are usually simple, single purpose tools but what if you could have it do other functions as well?
The Trenz Digital Tire Gauge is an 8-in-1 tool that does more than just take tire pressure measurements. It measures tire pressures in four different scales: PSI, Bar, Kgf/cm and Kpa. It also features a tire wear gauge that measures tire tread depth in mm or inches. The tire pressure and tread depth can be easily read though it’s digital display that is back-lit for easy reading whether it’s day or night. It also incorporates a bleeder valve feature for pressure adjustments.
On non-tire pressure related features, it has a bright LED flashlight that can shine some light on the proverbial subject. There are two features that could come in handy in times of dire need. There is the glass hammer and the seatbelt cutter. One to free you from a jammed seatbelt and the other to break your windows if you find yourself without an escape route whether on land or underwater.
The last feature is the most basic of the features, scouts honor. A simple compass is built into the body of the handle for that technology independent method of finding your way or roughly locating yourself for assistance.
This item I recommend that you store inside the car. Like the glove compartment or center console compartment for quick access. Access points with easy reach from the driver’s seat.
Next on our list of motoring essentials is for those occasions when you find yourself with an under inflated (or over inflated for that matter) tire. Running under inflated tires is like thrown money out the window because under inflation does affect fuel economy.
The increase in fuel consumption is mainly due to increased friction between the tire and the road, which will require more engine power to get the tire rolling. Below recommended tire pressures can also affect handling and braking badly due to more sidewall flexing. The excess sidewall flexing combined with the increased friction between the tire and road surface may also be detrimental to service life of the tires. The tire’s out edges also wear out faster, given enough time, when driving below recommended tire pressure.
Inversely, an over inflated tire is also not a good thing. The saying goes, “Too much of anything is never good.” The same principle still applies in motoring. An over inflated tire has reduced friction between tire and road surface. While a long term reduction in fuel consumption may be seen, it does so with reduced safely. With reduced friction between the tire and road surface, braking capabilities are also reduced to a certain degree. With the tires being your vehicle’s only contact point to the road surface, you would like have as much of it within the technical limits.
Uneven tire wear is also a concern here. The center of the tire wears out first in a tire regularly over inflated tire. Something you don’t want to happen on a daily driver vehicle when you want to maximize the use of your tires. Another issue with over inflation has to do with comfort, or the lack of it. A rougher ride quality is another result of higher than normal tire pressures. It may also shorten the durability of certain suspension components due to rougher ride brought about by the higher tire pressures.
A robust tire inflator (TIF) goes hand in hand with a tire pressure gauge. Tire inflators like the Blaupunkt TIF1.0 would help make doing tire maintenance an ease, not a chore. And in the event of a full tire deflation, it is capable of pumping up a completely deflated tire. You’ll have that peace of mind that you or a fellow motorist won’t be left stranded on the side of the road due to a flat tire. All you need is a 12V power supply which your vehicle as abundant of.
The Blaupunkt TIF1.0 has one more feature you, your friends and family can enjoy too. For those of you who like playing with inflatable anything, it comes with an adaptor so you can use it to inflate items like balls, toys and even an inflatable swimming pool.
The compact size of the Blaupunkt TIF1.0 (150mm x 130mm x 54mm) is easy to store in the trunk or the rear compartment of a vehicle. With a weight of less than 1kg, it does not add much to the overall weight of the vehicle. As you know, carrying a lot extra stuff affects your overall fuel consumption.
In the event you discover that your tire has a puncture and there are no tire service centers nearby, all is not lost. The next motoring essential should be a god send during those times.
A tire sealant, like MAG 1’s Fill and Seal Tire Inflator, will be handy during those occasions. Tire sealants allow to you to fix most punctures by temporarily sealing them and also inflating the tire without taking the wheel/tire off your vehicle.
This allows you to safely drive on, after applying the sealant, to the nearest service station or tire repair shop for assistance in properly addressing the tire puncture.
Ideally, tire sealants are stored along with tire inflators in the trunk or rear compartment of the vehicle. In general, vehicles that do not come with spare tires have both items stored conveniently together.
We move on the last item on this list.
Picture this scenario, you and your friends or family are all geared up. Ready to go wherever. Then the next you know, nothing. The dreaded sound of silence each time you turn the key. Or the lethargic cranking of the engine as you push on the engine start button.
You discover your vehicle’s battery has run down and lacks any power to even light up an interior lamp. You franticly look for anyone willing to give your battery a jump charge.
Not a problem if you came prepared for that eventuality. With battery technology allowing for power storage in smaller form factors. Having a capable jump starter in the palm of your hand is now possible.
Jump starters like THOR’s Multi-Function Jump Starter is now a possibility and a reality. Capable of jump starting gasoline engines up to 5.0 liters and diesel engines up to 2.0 liters, the THOR also has a few tricks up its sleeves. The jump starter also has dual USB ports that allow you to use it as an industrial grade power bank for your mobile phones, tablets and anything that you can run of a USB port.
And if jump starting your car and USB power supply for your mobile devices isn’t enough. THOR throws in adapters and laptop connectors to maximize use of the 19V charge it can hold. With the relatively compact dimensions of the THOR Multi-Function Jump Starter, you can store it with its PU bag or Thor box (included) in the same location as the tire inflator and tire sealant, in the trunk or rear compartment of your vehicle.
And there you have it folks. A simple and short list of motoring essentials that covers the rudimentary maintenance and troubleshooting of everyday motoring. They make a perfect companion to the basic tools that come with your vehicle to have a worry-free and stress-free commute.