If you drive frequently, you would have had at some point come across situations in your car where you wonder why you were not ready for that nasty surprise that was sprung on you. While Singapore is a small city with easy access to many of the essentials, this accessibility also becomes an excuse for many of us to be unprepared. We may not have long winding roads to take on or harsh, risky conditions of winter that batter drivers in temperate countries, but we are still at the mercy of wear and tear, reckless drivers and things as primal as hunger pangs. Here at BizLink Rent-A-Car, Singapore’s best car rental company, we have curated a list of essential items for you to seriously consider equipping your car with. This is not a one-size-fit-all list but it would surely serve as a checklist for your time on the roads of Singapore. We have divided the items into three categories: Emergency, Health and Safety, and items that would Make Life Easier.
REPAIRS AND BREAKDOWNS
It seems hardly plausible that we would ever get into our cars without our phones. However, having a charged phone would put us all in better positions in emergencies. We do not need the added anxiety of a battery in the red beeping its low battery notification while we are scurrying to reach the workshop or the car rental company. A car adapted phone charger would be ideal to maintain that steady supply of juice while you navigate the roads with the GPS, humming to your Spotify playlist.
Whether you are fixing your own vehicle, awaiting someone from the auto shop or car rental company, drivers could be kept away from your stationary car better with reflective triangles. They do not solve existing automobile problems but would prevent additional ones from coming your way. This is especially useful if your vehicle happened to break down after a turn.
Tyre sealer, Digital Air Compressor or Spare Tyre
Not all cars come equipped with a spare tyre and some of us may choose not to bring around one on board since we are not all capable of changing it ourselves. A tyre sealer is a great albeit temporary alternative to a mildly punctured tyre. This cheap sealant halts escaping air and works within minutes. It is not however recommended for full blowouts or as a long-term solution and should only be used to get to the auto shop or car rental company. In Singapore, with our proximities, this would be an effective band-aid.
The Digital Air Compressor would work alongside the tyre sealer for punctures that leave your tyre with little air left. It is easy to use and mostly require only a cigarette lighter socket for power. Given our little patience in a fast-paced city, you would save yourself from a tired and frustrating session of working the manual air pump.
Compact Battery Jump Cable Starter
In the event of a dead battery and the probable chance of nobody willing to stop their car to jump start yours, these nifty little things the size of conventional power banks would be your saviour. Like a power bank, they would need to be charged to work so it is critical to include this in your regular maintenance routine.
While the tendency to call an auto shop is higher in cities like Singapore, having a manual for simple fixes could be useful especially if you only need some guidance for a forgotten but easy repair. This beat waiting for service while saving you some money too. For rental cars, this would be taken care of if your service provider has a 24h hotline.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit on board should carry allergy meds, creams, ointments, plasters, gauze pads, painkillers and antiseptic wipes. A peanut allergy may happen when a child consumes it by accident in the car and a fall could occur at a picnic in a park you drove to. If you already get around to most places with the car, having accessibility to a first aid kit would make health emergencies more manageable. Besides, a painkiller would always be much welcomed for that migraine in the middle of a traffic jam.
While snacks may seem like an odd choice on this list, many of us cannot deny the hunger pangs we sometimes experience rushing between two places. Unlike commuters, we may not always have the option to grab a quick bite of a red bean bun before getting on the road. This is especially critical for those with low blood sugar and quivers when they get hungry. This affects one’s ability to fully focus or have complete control of the wheel. Watch that expiry date though as we would not want a quick bite to turn into a toilet run.
MAKING LIFE EASIER
We all have that moment where we are in a stationary queue of cars behind the exit gantry of a carpark because someone ran out of credit in their CashCard. A spare card with value would save you both and that drive of shame past angsty drivers cursing under their breath.
With an increase in the number of carparks using electronic parking systems, parking coupons are used less frequently than before. Yet with this decreased frequency of usage, the diminishing stack of coupons often goes unnoticed until we arrive at a carpark that requires it while having none of it in our gloves’ compartment. Coupons may be available at many stores and petrol kiosks but when we are in a rush, we do not always have the luxury to look for and purchase them.
Water and Wipes
Not meant for consumption as a thirst quencher, a 1.5L bottle of water would come to your rescue when the car overheats. As a temporary alleviation, you could top up the radiator before quickly getting to the auto shop or car rental company. Water could also be used in conjunction with wet wipes to get rid of stains from bird droppings and for the umpteen times your child’s candy fall out of his mouth onto the car seat.