10 Items You Should Always Have in Your Car

10 Items You Should Always Have in Your CarDriving around in your car can be a lot of fun, especially in some of the more scenic areas. Unfortunately, not every trip in the car is perfect. These machines are pushed to their limits even during the daily commute, and sometimes things happen that even the most experienced mechanic might not be able to predict.

For these events, it’s always a good idea to have supplies at the ready. You never know when you might be trapped between cities, miles away from the nearest gas station or phone.

This happened to me a few years ago. I was driving in a 15-mile stretch between Luling and Lockhart, TX. It was almost pitch black outside and I hit a deer while going 65 MPH. The car was in pretty bad shape, and I didn’t have a flashlight or anything to help me find that out. Luckily, I had my mobile phone with me and could call the police for assistance.

From that point on, I started carrying some items in my car to help me be better prepared for the unpredictable. You never know when a tire might blow out or your engine just suddenly decides to go on vacation while you’re driving down the road.

Here are 10 items that you should always have in your car.

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Gordon Johansen

    I certainly can’t argue with any of these. Another handy thing is one of the new powered jacks that plug into the cigarette lighter. It’s not a big deal to jack the car if you are in shape or it’s warm but at 40 below or if you have one of the poor jacks they put in cars, it’s very handy. Also nice if you are switching from summer to winter tires.

  • John Adams

    No shovel/spade on the list? What happens if we get caught in a snowstorm or in mud?

    Also, what about zombies? I would carry a baseball bat or a chainsaw, a chainsaw can also used to get wood if you gets caught in a woods and doesn’t know where they are.

    • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Matt Ryan

      Being in Texas, we rarely have to deal with snow. As for mud, that is a good tip. Thanks!

  • Christian Tackett

    The only thing that I would replace with “Tire Gauge” would have to be Road Flares.

    • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Matt Ryan

      Ran out of space on the list, but it was a consideration.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ronn.blankenship Ronn! Blankenship

    #1 item not on the list:  several hundred dollars in cash because many times the tow truck driver and the cab driver won’t take anything else . . .

    • http://twitter.com/andr3wjacks0n andrew jackson

      But where do you stash it that thieves can’t find it?  I was thinking about getting a small container and some strong magnets and stashing it in my compartment where the spare tire goes.

      • Whiskey Jan

        And now you gave that info to the same thieves, try finding another good spot. Good thing to live in smaller countries, like Lithuania, as the tow truck driver will get your car to the shop, and after that he will even take you to the ATM. Often, if your car isn’t damaged too bad, and you can steer it, some random guy will stop to tow you to the closest repair shop, well unless you stand with an axe in your hand. ;D

  • http://twitter.com/andr3wjacks0n andrew jackson

    I carry all those plus:
    1. A space blanket. It folds to the size of a deck of cards.
    2. A solar charger., Small and takes up no space.On a magnet on the lid of my trunk.
    3. Extra cellphone, a dumbphone. It has a prepaid SIM in it, I try to charge it every so often but you can us the battery jump starter.
    4. Waterproof matches and a lighter.
    5. A box of granola bars and a gallon of water, plus a Survival Straw.

  • Raymond Combs

    Jumper cables: on many new cars – attach jumper cables and destroy the very expensive “brain”.
    Flares: at work we removed all the flares nation-wide after the sixth truck went up in flames! Reflective triangles.
    If you are all alone in the middle of nowhere (where you would need all of this stuff), you would also want a cigarette lighter plug-in for your cell-phone! You read all of the time of people lost because their phone died!

    • kevin sexton

      Jumper cables, along with the rest of the list, require knowing what you are doing. The owners manual for the car will detail how to use them. Used properly, they will not cause damage.

  • http://www.caseyfrennier.com/ Casey Frennier

    I have a little 12v air compressor in my car.  Has helped me and others a few times.

    On a related topic my brother, who used to work in a tire shop, has told me to never use “slime” to fix a tire. Apparently, it makes a mess in the tire that would get in their tools and many shops will refuse to work on tires that have been slimed.

  • Louie

    You might add a one time use camera in case of an accident. Most cells have cameras but the resolution may not be the greatest

  • http://www.caseyfrennier.com/ Casey Frennier

    When I lived in NY I used to keep some kitty litter in my car as well as a folding shovel.  Never used the litter but I was told it’s great for traction if you get into some ice or slushy snow and can’t get out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Armstrong/100000654997337 Daniel Armstrong

    I would add a note on the all-in-one jump start pack, only get one if you actually plan to maintain the poor thing, these contain an ordinary AGM lead-acid battery that can and will render itself into an expensive paperweight if not fully charged regularly, IE one a month unused and ASAP after every use,  no matter how small.  I don’t care if it is just to charge your phone, when you get home plug it in immediately.

    If you don’t it will sulfate the plates and be ruined.  This applies to all lead-acid batteries, IE make a habit of not immediately recharging the one in your kids’ ride on toy (even if you only move it under its own power across the garage floor) and plan to soon buy a new one.

    Most would probably be better served by an alkaline based jump start unit that fits in the glove box.