These tools might get you out of a tight spot

Thursday July 23 2020


By Roland D. Nasasira

Edward Nsubuga, a motorist, believes that a motorist should avoid getting stuck by the roadside, especially if they had time to look for and prepare all they needed before the ride.

He arrives at this conclusion, recalling an incident in 2017 when he got a puncture as he returned from a workshop in Arua. After driving over Karuma Bridge on the Gulu highway, the car started making sounds. This was followed by a gradual reduction in speed even as he continued to accelerate.

“When I parked by the roadside to check what had happened, I realised that one of the tyres was deflated. I opened the car boot to replace the punctured tyre with the spare tyre but it was not possible,” Nsubuga recalls.

“I had all the tools (spanners and car jerk) to replace the punctured tyre but the spare tyre did not have pressure. I had to drive for about 30 kilometres to the fuel station where I could get pressure. Driving on a punctured tyre had an impact on fuel consumption but it was the only way out late in the evening,” Nsubuga adds.
Like Nsubuga, most, if not all mechanical challenges on your car happen unannounced. They also tend to happen at awkward hours of the day or night in places you least expect. Before starting your journey, it is important to make sure that you have all it takes to make the journey a success, including an inflated spare tyre.

Jump starter cables
Nothing is as frustrating as your car failing to start, especially when you are in a hurry, simply because you forgot to turn off the head or fog lights that drain your battery of its power. In such a situation, jump starter cables are the only tools in your car that could get you back running.

According to Irene Ninsiima, a motorist, when you have jump starter cables, it is easy to flag down another motorist or source for a charged battery to help jump start yours.


Ninsiima advises that jump starter cables should be approximately two metres long so that they are able to reach the battery terminals of the car from which you are tapping.
Durable jump starter cables, according to Alex Kadoli, a mechanic, cost between Shs50,000 to Shs100,000 depending on where you buy them.

A torch, just like your headlights, aids in seeing. For instance, you could use it for lighting when changing a flat tyre or tightening a screw.

According to Kadoli, every motorist should have field gloves in their car, similar to those used by telecom engineers or plumbers when pulling and laying rough pipes and cables. They are normally thick and have a body protective layer that cannot be penetrated by any sharp objects, unless when a lot of force is applied.
“The primary role of such gloves is to protect your soft and delicate fingers or palms from injuries such as bruises and burns you may sustain as you change a tyre or as you open the warm radiator to add coolant,” Kadoli says.

Fire extinguisher
The size of a fire extinguisher you keep in your car is relatively smaller and lighter to carry than the one in your home. Much as it is rare for a vehicle to catch fire, David Katongole, a long distance motorist, says on the road, any vehicle can abruptly catch a fire. As such, you have to prepare for the unexpected.

“Your mechanic could have put a strain on your brakes by over tightening them. As you drive, the car suddenly catches fire. It could as well be a fuel leakage, especially petrol on a hot flame such as the exhaust system component of the car. A fire extinguisher helps put out such fire before it engulfs the entire car,” Katongole explains.

Towing strap or rope
According to Eric Amadi, a mechanic, one of the commonly ignored tools to have in your car is the tow strap or rope. The reason you should buy one, he emphasises, is that you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot access services of a towing car yet a tow strap could come in handy at that moment. He, however, recommends one made of material that does not easily get broken or damaged. It has to be strong enough that when you hook it onto the rescuing towing car, it is able to pull yours with ease.

What you have
According to, if you have bought your car second hand, it is important to check that all the tools provided by the manufacturer, including tyre changing equipment, are still in place. Do not just assume they are there. You will find a full list in your handbook. If your car has a spare wheel, you should have been given a jack, a wheel wrench with extension bar and, if appropriate, a locking wheel-nut adapter.

Of course, many cars do not have a spare wheel so, if that is the case, check that you have a complete post-puncture repair kit with spare CO2 canisters (or a pump) and sufficient glue. These are an alternative to the tyre changing equipment provided with spare tyres.
“Your vehicle handbook is one of the most useful pieces of equipment you need need,” the portal states.

First aid kit
Having a first aid kit in your vehicle will help you give out timely assistance. Waiting for help from emergency medical services may be putting the lives of other people at risk. You can salvage the situation as you wait for medics to arrive. Having a first aid kit in your car makes this possible.