Truck essentials to get out of a mess

You may believe your vehicle is invincible to the surrounding environment with big tires and a flashy grill guard. These items help, but to get out of a mess that may include snow, mud, a deflated tire or even a needed repair, you need recovery gear in addition to those oversized tires.

TOOLS

Bumps and jolts rattle loose nuts and connectors, plus sometimes mechanical systems just fail. An assortment of tools could be your saving grace miles from a NAPA store. Modern vehicles may be assembled via metric connectors so add appropriate wrenches and sockets to the kit. Also add pliers, screw drivers (all types), wire cutter, hammer, pry bar, Allen wrenches (all types), wire connectors, electrical tape, duct tape, zip ties and a bright flashlight to illuminate a nighttime repair. Include additional tools as you see fit depending on your vehicle’s makeup.

TIRE REPAIR

You’ll get a flat tire so why not be prepared? Begin by checking the pressure on your spare regularly throughout the year. Next, add a 12 volt-powered tire inflator to your tool kit. Back that up with several cans of Fix-a-Flat. And back that up with a tire puncture repair kit to plug any massive tears in a tire that may not seal otherwise.  Some tire-unfriendly environments may require you to carry two spare tires and you’ll discover that need soon enough.  

EXTRACTION

Here’s the biggy; getting stuck or hung up. Snow, mud, rocks or uneven terrain have the nasty character of stopping your vehicle cold. First, add in a jack to lift your vehicle to remove the obstacle or add elements for traction. Most off-road enthusiasts carry a Hi-Lift jack that is tall and can also be used as a winch in a pinch. A stout bottle jack is also a good accessory over and above the meager jack that is included with your vehicle.

Next, purchase a heavy-duty tow strap to allow someone to yank you out of a mess. Use this over a chain that can break and possibly fly uncontrollably to damage a vehicle, or worse yet, injure someone. To add traction under your tires, consider traction mats or tire chains. Jack the truck up and add either for footing.

You may have a winch already installed on your vehicle. Extra clevis hooks, tow straps and a snatch block could improvise rescue in unforeseen predicaments with this unique tool.  

Closing out the extraction segment, make sure you have a shovel to remove snow, mud or add rocks, and gravel for added grip. A folding model collapses to reduce storage issues.

EXTRA FUEL AND BOOST

And just in case you go farther or are forgetful, stow along at least 5 gallons of extra fuel. Make sure the container doesn’t leak and strap it outside in your truck box or to a tailored carrier. Jumper cables also should be a no-brainer in case your battery dies unexpectedly and it will. 

Vehicles save a lot of boot leather, but to save even more boot leather, make sure you have the right gear to keep your vehicle going when the going gets tough.

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