So last night I was headed home after dropping off some papers at a client’s home in local low income housing projects when I learned the hard way that my ball joint on the front driver side was no longer attached. It felt like a flat tire but luckily a guy who lived there saw me pull over as he returned home from a day at the neighborhood auto repair shop! We found my comes-with-the-car jack set and he got to work on it. A couple of the lug nuts were a different size and we had to rely on another guy’s tool to get the tire off and when he went to get the missing bolt he brought back a light, and a kneeling pad thing. I see now that even though I have road side assistance I need to have more than the standard issue jack. I’ve been looking online to see which of the emergency repair roadside kits had the best reviews- I can’t find one that has a jack and the wrench thingy and a pad for kneeling on and a light (nevermind looking cute!) so if anyone HAS found this sort of thing (even if it is minus the cute) PLEASE let me know, let me hear any suggestions you may have.
You can buy what you need at Sears. They sell emergency kits and small hydralic jacks. Reality is you can’t carry everything you need to fix everything in your car. A bad ball joint might need a tow to a shop for repair.
The mfg supplied jack was put there to replace a tire, not rebuild the front end of your Ranger. If you have room to carry a hydralic jack, jack stands, and some spare parts there is nothing keeping you from doing so.
Thanks for the input- I think you missed the point of my question, though.
I know that I cannot carry an entire shop’s worth of stuff- I want to be sure that I have the stuff I need. I’m not at all skilled at car repair or even how to change my oil. That’s not what I’m looking to do. The incident last night simply made me see that I am ill prepared to change a tire, even. My goal is to get a little kit that contains the items I might need to handle something minor so that I can get moving out of a less than spectacular area. I know how to change a tire and I want to be able to do that without as much trouble- I don’t like that there were lug nuts keeping the tire on that I would not have had the tools to remove. So I’m looking to get some device that lets me change more than one size/ shape. I’d like to have something that I can kneel on so that in case I am wearing a skirt or thinner pants I can get to it without getting scraped up in the process- or at least have better protection from scrapes. I’d like to get some kind of jack that doesn’t require all of that turn, adjust, repeat, repeat, repeat and perhaps something that I could pump with my foot or electronically or something. I would like to have a light so that I can see what I’m doing as well. I know how to jump/ get a jump and cables would be good. I don’t have the best upper body strength so that is something that might be considered when looking at a jack and wrench and also when figuring out how to get this spare from under the truck. I don’t know how to get at that and can look it up but if there is something that might make it easier for me to do- something minimal that I don’t know about since I have minimal knowledge- I thought that sort of something might be included in a tire change/ roadside kit of some kind. Maybe some kind of, “Hey y’all please don’t hit me,” stuff would be good, too.
I’m asking this question- about heads up on a tire change kit thing so that if there is one that has what I need (and likely I’m forgetting something, uninformed about something existing so one that includes those staple items as well) so that if someone has come across a good one with solid items I can check it out for myself. I’m pretty sure that there are some Sears stores in the suburbs so if I were to go what are the items you would suggest I pick up to make my own kit?
It is very difficult to be able to predict what might be needed. In addition to the OEM tools provided I carry a leatherman's multi tool and several old towels. The most important thing I carry is a cell phone and a few phone numbers. I have been driving since the early 1960's and I have had a few breakdowns and accidents. I don't recall a breakdown that needed a tool or part I did not have, that I would have ever needed road side. I would put the tools needed for a ball joint among them.
My garage is full of tools I had to buy over the years, and most of them have only been used once. The automobile gods seem to enjoy providing us with new, unexpected challenges.
buy a kneeling pad from a garden store. buy a good 4 way lug wrench. a good bottle jack. a good flashlight. have the vehicle inspected to make sure that the lug nuts are all good and the same outside diameter. have the lug nuts loosened and then torqued to proper specs. i would be talking to the person that does your maintenance about the lack of inspection. a ball joint does not go bad overnight. it takes a while. get the vehicle inspected by a good auto tech
Sears sells a hydralic jack that comes in a plastic carrying case. Easy to use, you just need to take it out and practice a bit. Jack stands are for safety, store easily and you put them under the car in case the jack itself fails.
Sears sells “emergency road kits”. A good “star” lug wrench has 4 different size sockets so it should fit a variety of lug nugs. If your truck has fancy wheels sometimes there is a “locking” lug nut that takes a special socket to remove. If this is the case you need to know where that socket it located and practice how to use it.
Changing a tire without getting dirty is a tough one. You need some rubber gloves, a mat to put on the ground, and some towels for wiping off the dirty wheel as you remove it. Just getting to the spare tire in a Ranger is messy as it sits under the bed of the truck and is exposed to rain, mud, etc.
I don’t know of a “kit” that puts all these items together. A trip to Sears, Pep Boys, and/or your favorite auto parts store should have all you need. Buy what you feel is important and figure out how to wrap it up and store it in the truck for future use. You might need to buy a locking tool box and bolt it to the truck bed to keep your “kit” from being stolen.
Three words—AAA. Relying on strangers to fix your car in a “local low income housing project” is asking for trouble. There are a lot of creeps no matter where you are.
I think you’re missing a point here, though.
If there are lugnuts on your wheel that your factory-supplied jack does not fit on, then you have mismatched lugnuts. You don’t need a whole bevy of tools to fix this problem - just go get a set of the correct lugnuts.
Also, I’ve become a pretty firm believer in AAA. I can do pretty much any job my car needs doing except perhaps a transmission rebuild, but if it’s dark and I’m on the side of the interstate with a flat tire, I want AAA to handle it for me. Not because I’m lazy or afraid of getting dirty, but because there are cars whipping by me at 70+mph and I don’t want to be sitting next to a jacked up car with that going on. Plus, I want the tow truck with the flashy lights on it to be sitting behind my car as a buffer to my car getting hit.
I also like being able to have my car towed home if it needs repair without having to pay for the tow truck.
I would recommend that you put the proper equipment on your vehicle, and get a membership in AAA.
If you’re still set on getting a kit, go to an RV supply store and get the emergency roadside kit. It will give you reflective triangles and/or road flares to set behind your car. Then get a kneeling pad from a garden supply store, and latex surgery gloves from just about anywhere. Go to Target/Walmart for an LED headlamp - -it’s easier to work if the light is on your forehead than if you have to constantly move a flashlight around.
Be aware, btw, that “Hey y’all, please don’t hit me” devices like flashy lights, road flares, and reflective triangles only work with sober drivers. Drunk drivers tend to head for light sources (which is why you see so many videos of cop cars getting hit from behind after pulling someone over), so even with the hazard warning equipment you need to be very aware of traffic the whole time you’re changing the tire.
Agree that you can’t carry everything. I have downsized to a set of HD jumper cables, an emergency light, a plug in the cigarette lighter air pump, two rolls of duct tape, soft metal wire, some minor tools like screw drivers, pliers, garden gloves, and an Exacto knife. These are all rolled up in an old bed spread which will kep my clothes clean when I have to fix something
But my most important emergency tools are my cell phone and AAA membership. My wife will not even bother changing a trire; she would call the AAA. In the last 10 years we have had 2 flat tires only.
You’re scaring me. Your ball joint was no longer attached and your lug nuts are different sizes?
While I carry more than the standard “emergency” tools, which include an auto club membership, a cell phone, a lug wrench, a decent jack, a good spare, a flashlight, and some flares or safety reflective trianglles, nobody should have to carry what I do. Allow me to suggest that the best “emergency preparation” you can do is to have the car thoroughly gone over on a rack and brough back into safe condition.
Different size lug nuts suggests to me that someone changed out some of the studs and put in whatever size he had handy…the wrong size. And that he did not change out all the studs, not always a good idea since if one or two were changed out because they were damaged the others may also be weakened.
I know his wasn’t your question, but I strongly recommend getting this car brought back into good shape…especially if you’re driving it in neighborhoods that make you uncomfortable. Not having a breakdown is far safer than any tools you could carry.