Intro: How to Build a Minimal Tool Kit and Prepare for the Open Road.
I am trying my best to keep this simple. Somewhere between how-to and adulting 101 so please bare with me.
Be it car, truck or bicycle you will never want to be caught without the right tool for the job. At the same time your gas gauge and legs will thank you for not carrying a lot of unnecessary weight. Here is how you can take what you need to survive on the road with you and not much more. This guide will help you choose what you may need and probably will not among other useful information.
There is really no need to carry an expensive(or worse cheaply made) set of all in one hex keys if you only use like 2 out of 10. Why carry a 30+ piece mechanics tool set if you will only use a fraction of that. This is all about keeping your transportation light and mobile yet still being prepared.
I implore you to learn about your vehicle before heading out on the road. The first thing you need to collect is knowledge. Learn common car/bike problems for your vehicle. What you can fix at home, roadside and what is better left to the professionals with specialty tools. The areas you can place a jack under your motor vehicle so you do not ruin the underside, as well as how to change a tire. Buy a manual for the make, model and year of your motor vehicle or at least Google a reliable source. No one*my self included* is responsible for the care, the repair bill, and working condition of your vehicle but you. Do not let this daunt you! You are awesome and you got this! This is just about the basics
Step 1: How to Build a Minimal Tool Kit and Prepare for the Open Road.
First we will assume you have a decent amount of tools and want to streamline. But if you do not here are some basics you may need for both car and bike.
First is your car/bike American made or made abroad. As the USA uses standard measurements or SAE (First two photos,uses fractions until you hit 1") and most other nations are commonly metric ( Second two photos, Solid numbers with an MM ).
*The above does not apply to screwdrivers*
Using the wrong type and size can cause tools to get stuck, stripped nuts, bots and slots for screwdrivers or ruined tools (last photo). For cars here is a short list of US car companies. Check online to make sure before buying tools as owners manuals tend to tell you very little nowadays.
- General Motors
Now if your vehicle was made by a company abroad you are going with metric. This goes for both wrenches, hex keys as well as lug nuts and even tire iron.
For bicycles this is the same. You will need to look for the 'made in' mark on the bike. Otherwise an online search of brand and year if you know it will yield this information.
Step 2: What You Will Need
- The proper type of socket wrenches & sockets (for cars, bike if you really want it)
- Wrench set:Box on one side and open on the other (forget the box end if you need to on a bicycle and go with a shorter type as seen in second photo).
- Adjustable pliers
- Hex keys set (loose key type not linked together)
- Screwdrivers both standard- and Philips + (Shorter ones for a bike and assorted for car.)
Good things you have with you for saftey:
- Headlamp style flashlight.( extra batteries)
- A number of good sized glow sticks (for visibility on the road during night time fixes)
- spark plug socket
- fuse puller and extra fuses
- 4 way lug wrench(the one that comes with you car is not always quality)
- Jumper cables
- Can of fix a flat (for when you can't just change a tire)
- Gas can
- Tool bag
- jack: hydraulic or scissor. (if your car does not come with one or the one it comes with is flimsy)
- Extra Lug nuts
- slim bike pump & patch kit
- Bike mounted tool pouch.
- Extra axle nuts (last photo)
- Bike wrench (black wrench seen above in the far left side of second photo with many sized bolt holes)
*Not everything is shown here*
Step 3: At Last!!!
Now at long last here is at long last. The part where we get to making the kit you carry with you. First go over to your vehicle with your tools. See what size wrenches,sockets and keys fit parts you can reach and will need to repair. On a bike that is near everything. A car on the other hand you will probably not be taking off the crank case or the oil filter road side so avoid things like that and see what fits stuff like hose clamps and bolts, battery terminals, the case that goes over it as well.
Make sure you have a snug fit and there is not a lot or any of play between the blot/nut/slot and the tool. Same with the hex keys.
When you have a fit on something vital throw it in the tool bag you carry with you. If it does not put it your home tool box for later use.ll as anything else you can reach know how to fix.
Step 4: Done!
You are done! After you have all your tools figured out. Put them in your trunk or lash them to your bike and prepare for the road ahead!
Thank you for reading my Instructable! Stay safe out there and happy trails to you all.