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Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: I Already Have a Car Emergency Kit, What Other Accessories Do I Need?

Mechanic Shop FemmeChaya Milchtein is an automotive educator, writer, and speaker. She'll be here every other week answering all your car questions. Need to know what engine oil you need? She's got you covered. Wondering what gas your car really needs? She has an answer. Let's untangle cars together.

Top Product: Seat Belt Extender Pros E4 Seatbelt Extender | $14 | Amazon

I know that you’re a responsible car owner. You have a small emergency kit, and you take good care of your car. And for good reason: cars are expensive, and we spend a lot of time in them. Given the amount of time we spend in our cars, emergencies, and car accidents are inevitable. In fact, there are approximately six million car accidents a year in the United States. And although you may have a great emergency kit, it’s possible that you can do better, and that’s why you’re reading this. An emergency kit is a great start, but it covers just the basics in the event of an emergency.

In this article, I’m sharing four things that can make your car a little safer and upgrade an item that you probably already have. This, in addition to the basics that every car owner should have like a tire pressure gauge, a rag, and of course, a roadside assistance membership, will have you on your way.

A Seatbelt Extender

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Image: Seat Belt Extender Pros
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Did you know that larger people are between 21 and 80% more likely to die in a major car wreck than their smaller counterparts? There are a number of reasons for this, but an easy way of reducing these numbers is having a seatbelt that actually fits. You see, many people in larger bodies don’t wear a seatbelt, or wear it incorrectly, simply because it doesn’t fit, which is extremely unsafe.

Buying a seatbelt extender for your vehicle is important no matter your personal size because the extenders are vehicle specific. That means your larger friend can’t simply walk around with one in their bag. You should be able to provide one for your specific vehicle. And before you come for me, these are relatively inexpensive and available from some dealerships or Seat Belt Extender Pros.

Here’s a TikTok video that I did showing how to easily use this.

Jumper Pack

Illustration for article titled Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: I Already Have a Car Emergency Kit, What Other Accessories Do I Need?
Image: WeeGo

Ok, most folks own jumper cables, but actually using them? That’s a little tougher. Usually, you have to approach a stranger, if there even is one, and hope they are willing to help. Don’t worry, there is a simple, $60 solution. While jumper cables do the trick if you have another car, they are clunky and annoying at best. I haven’t tried this Weego jump starter before, because I still have the slightly more old school DieHard booster, but this comes highly recommended by Amazon reviewers. It’s small enough to fit into your glove box, made with lightweight lithium-ion batteries, and it holds a charge for a long time. Better yet, it can even charge your phone.

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Car Escape Tool 

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Image: resqme
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It’s bleak, I know, but did you know that it takes two very short minutes for a submerged car to fully sink? When the car is underwater, the pressure can make it impossible to even open the door and make your escape. With the electrical components submerged, the windows likely won’t work either. If you’re in this situation, there is a $12 keychain that can give you a fighting chance, and may even save your life. The Car Escape Tool has both a spring-loaded plunger to shatter a window and a blade designed to cut your seatbelt. It might easily be the best $12 you’ll spend in a while.

LED Warning Lights

Illustration for article titled Ask Mechanic Shop Femme: I Already Have a Car Emergency Kit, What Other Accessories Do I Need?
Image: Garage Monkey Engineering
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Warning lights are critical in the event of a breakdown, and flares are just a little too clumsy for my liking. So you might have good old flares in your emergency kits, but you should upgrade those to these LED Roadside Warning Lights from Garage Monkey Engineering. With an impressive 4.7/5 stars rating and nearly 3,000 reviews, they are a no brainer. Since they have a magnetic stripe, the lights easily adhere to almost any vehicle (ones with steel paneling.)


Chaya Milchtein is an automotive educator, freelance writer, and empowerment speaker who's made it her mission to engage and empower people in her community and beyond.

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