Basic Tools to Have in Your Ute
Got another service call or supplies to deliver? With a trusty ute at your disposal, work doesn't seem so hard.
A ute doesn’t live to its purpose if it can’t do tough work. However, being able to perform these heavy tasks efficiently—from towing heavy trailers to hauling a lot of cargo—requires extra tools and accessories.
Below, we’ve listed ten of the most important tools and accessories that you’re likely to need when you’re driving a ute:
1. Loading Ramp
A loading ramp simplifies the job of loading large and heavy objects into your ute's open cargo area, like bikes, construction equipment, or heavy sacks of crops or gravel. You can also secure them on the truck bed after use without taking up a lot of space.
2. Truck Bed Extender
Able to secure the sacked potatoes into your pickup, but can't seem to find more space for the other farm produce that you need to deliver to the market? Increasing your truck's hauling capacity is often possible by adding a bed extender to the tailgate, which can give you several additional feet of carrying space.
Pro Tip: If you're getting a truck bed extender, you might as well buy a spare tailgate, too. Generally, your ute's tailgate will get battered fast when you're using a truck bed extender since it likely means you're jam-packing your open cargo area with plenty of stuff all the time. As such, you may need to replace your tailgate several times throughout your ute's life.
3. Truck Cap or Camper Shell
A truck cap or camper shell can protect your cargo from the rain and sun rain during transport. Unlike a basic tarpaulin or cargo net, however, they can also transform your truck into an SUV, which helps reduce wind drag and increases your fuel efficiency. Additionally, they make your ute more functional than with a tonneau since it provides more height, which means more cargo can be securely loaded into the vehicle.
Combined with sleeping gear, a large camper shell can also turn your ute into a campervan.
4. Tie-Downs and Tow Hooks
You can't easily haul large loads into your ute if you don't have tow hooks and tie-down straps. These accessories are essential for securing large and heavy loads during transport.
Rope tie-downs are cheaper but for a more versatile and stronger option, go for those that have ratchets and hooks that can be secured directly to the frame of the truck bed.
Meanwhile, tow hooks help connect a wrecker or a tow truck or tractor to to your ute through a chain or a cable.
A battery- or engine-powered cable winch is particularly useful if you’re always transporting heavy stuff, like logs or haystacks. It also comes in handy if you need to pull off a car or tractor that’s stuck in snow or mud. However, you may need a professional to install this type of winch on your car. As an alternative, you can buy a less expensive manual winch with a crank handle.
6. Various Tradie Tools and a Toolbox
Three of the most important tradie tools to have in your are the easy-to-store wrench, knife, and folding shovel.
- A wrench is a must for emergency car repairs as it can tighten bolts, nuts, and screws.
- A knife can be used for multiple functions, such as opening containers and cutting rope, duct tape, and road debris that’s wrapped around your car’s axle. It can also help you protect yourself when stranded in unfamiliar territory.
- Meanwhile, a folding shovel can be used for digging the vehicle out when it's stuck in the snow. It’s also great to have when you’re taking out your ute on a camping road trip. You can use it to clear a tent site of debris, build a fire camp and bury coals when finished, dig a toilet and many other things.
It also helps to have an accessible toolkit in your ute that’s loaded with a variety of other useful tradie tools, such as pliers, screwdrivers, wire strippers, zip ties, socket set, electrical tape, and an air pressure gauge. These tools help you make quick car fixes on the road, giving you temporary aid until you find a professional car repair shop.
If you’re working with a lot of tools all the times, invest in a lockable steel toolbox that can be securely attached to the truck bed. You can also buy a heavy-duty toolbox with aluminium and powder-coated steel finish that’s less susceptible to wear and tear.
7. Jumper Cables
A dead battery can completely disable your ute and stop you dead on your tracks. With a proper set of jumper cables, however, you won’t be spending your night on a lonely, unfamiliar road for long, as long as you know how to use it and there’s a donor car in sight.
For safety reasons, go for the heavy-gauge cable jumpers with durable and high-quality spring-loaded clamps on each end. These types also work with a wider array of cars and trucks.
Some portable jump-starters also have an air compressor, which is useful when you need to inflate a tire.
You’ll never know what’s going to happen when you’re on the road. Despite observing safety driving, road accidents and emergencies are bound to unfold, causing your car to shut down and lock while it caught fire or is submerged underwater. With a LifeHammer or any other window or seatbelt device, however, you’ll have a higher chance of escape. These devices can help you easily break a window and cut the seatbelt quickly.
If you have one, secure it near the driver's seat via velcro or double-sided tape for easy access.
It’s always a smart idea to keep a fully-charged flashlight in your ute. It comes in handy when you need to work in the dark, say, your car’s battery died while driving at night and you need to do a quick repair. Your smartphone, of course, has a built-in flashlight, but you cannot rely on it if its battery is extremely low or completely drained.
10. Duct Tape
A duct tape can fix a great number of ills, from a leaky radiator hose to cracked air intake lines to a broken window and other body damage. It can provide a temporary fix while you’re on the road and the nearest car shop is about a kilometre drive away. It can also keep you from being stranded or having to wait and pay for a tow truck rescue.
Invest in a high-quality duct tape that sticks better in a wider range of temperatures and surfaces.
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