In a few months, the pandemic will be mostly over, which means we can once again embark on the Great American Road Trip. But nothing makes a driving vacation go south faster than unexpected breakdowns.

We'll start with the basics that all drivers should have in the trunk. These include things like a flashlight (with fresh batteries!), spare tire, and a lug wrench; some non-perishable food, water, and a blanket are always good to have, too.

Next, you should have a few items specifically aimed for on-the-road repairs. Remember, you don't have to bring your road-trip toolbox everywhere you go, but to be completely prudent, you should probably have some form of the following items in your car at all times.

Your fluids are a little more cumbersome to travel with, but they will all fit in a standard-size milk crate. Again, you don't need this everywhere you go, but on a long road trip you probably should have some or all of these:

  • Engine oil—make sure it is the prescribed type that goes in the vehicle you're driving
  • Transmission fluid—ditto above
  • Antifreeze—better than water, but water is fine in a pinch and can also be used for drinking
  • Radiator stop leak—this isn't great for your system, but it will get you out of leaky jam

    Finally, the tools. These sets are all relatively cheap if you wanted to put together a separate, spare road trip toolbox, but you probably have many of these already, too. If you have everything on these lists, it'll take a serious breakdown to keep you from reaching your destination.

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