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  Review - Gunsons De Luxe Car Emergency Kit

Incorporating a 12V Impact Wrench

This review was originally written for the A1 Motor Stores Club A1 magazine and so is in a different style to the rest of the site; it's interesting nevertheless! ...

I’m a bit of a fan of Gunson’s products so I was delighted when A1 Motor Stores asked me to review this new emergency kit. I was expecting something rather more outstanding than the usual torch and triangle and I wasn’t disappointed.

The box that arrived on my doorstep weighed in at nearly five kilos so I guessed there was some pretty substantial kit in there and so it proved. On opening the robust case my eyes were immediately drawn to the undoubted centre piece of this kit - the Xpert Impact Wrench 2. This is similar to those impact wrenches you see in tyre fitting bays but this little beauty runs off 12v via your cigarette lighter socket! I really couldn’t wait to look at the other bits and pieces so dashed off outside with the biggest socket and attacked the wheels of my Saab. The Saab’s ciggy socket is fused at more than 15A so I had no worries about plugging the wrench straight in and giving it a whirl. It’s an odd beast in that nothing seems to happen at first, I even stopped and looked at it to see if I was missing a release catch or something. But no, nothing like that, once set on ‘Reverse’ (undo) the trick is just to hold the Wrench lightly in place, squeeze the trigger and let it whirr away until it has wound up enough energy to give the wheel nut an almighty whack, then three seconds later there’s another whack, and another every three seconds until before you know it, the stud or nut is unscrewing in your hand - wonderful! This definitely beats all that jumping up and down on the ends of spanners trying to shift stuck nuts - and not a bead of sweat in sight!

There really must be quite a few uses for a 12 volt impact wrench like this - quite apart from the obvious one in your emergency kit. For a start it means that you don’t have to be a muscle bound monster to change a wheel and you can even shift the bigger nuts found on light commercials and motorcaravans (wheel nuts of course guys, commercial drivers are really nice fellas - honestly!). I guess it would be very useful on caravans too where the less frequent servicing might make ‘rusted nuts’ more common than on your average motor? Quite apart from keeping one in our motorcaravan I’d definitely want one for my wife to carry around with her - though she said she’d be “happier to have it on hand for someone else to use for me” - wise girl! (If you added one of those exhaust driven airbag jacks, anybody could tackle just about anything!)

Also in the box is a good quality set of jump leads for those winter battery emergencies and a stylish little 12v compressor capable of 250 psi. Though most of us will never need anything like that pressure, its good to know that this unit is built to a high standard and should last as well as perform. It handled my 80 psi ‘camping tyres’ with no problem. You do need patience with these things though, you just can’t expect a tiny 12v pump to blow up a 15” commercial tyre in a few seconds - but when you need air in an emergency this thing is worth its weight in gold. Same goes for those times when you want to let your tyres down to get more grip on softer ground or even snow - this is just the thing for pumping them up again once you’re back on firmer ground. The handy integral gauge gives a good indication of pressure while pumping but does of course need final checking without the vibration of the running compressor.

So what else is in the box? Three heavy duty impact sockets in 17, 19 & 21 mm to fit most cars, a pair of pliers, screwdrivers and thoughtfully a knife to despatch those wheel-trim ties plus a spare fuse and some adaptors for the compressor - to make blowing up the kid’s pool a piece of cake!

And criticisms? Hardly any really, the instructions could be structured rather better and could make more of the need to wait a while before the first impact kicks in on the wrench. Personally I would have liked to see a decent wheel trim lever or larger screwdriver included for wheel trim removal but these slight niggles aside this is really an excellent set and I definitely want one - no, correction, we want two please!
Also available as the wrench only.


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