Whether you are planning a road trip or your area is experiencing heavy snow, you should actively prepare for any emergencies that might occur by stocking up your car emergency kit. If you don’t have one already, now is a great time to start compiling one! You will need a number of tools such as a first-aid kit and a portable car charger. While some of these tools might not seem necessary all the time, you never know when you will find yourself stranded or dealing with an accident.
16 Items That Everyone Should Have in Their Car Emergency Kit
Need help figuring out what should go in a car emergency kit? We have you covered
Have you ever headed out for a quick drive when your car suddenly began to feel wobbly and unstable? When you pulled over, you might have realized that you have a flat tire. If you don’t have a spare tire or tool kit on hand, you might have to wait a while for AAA.
In order to prepare for unexpected emergencies like this one, it’s crucial for you to build a car emergency kit. Whether you are about to embark on a road trip or you find yourself stuck with a snowed-in car, you will need these tools in your kit:
- Jumper cables
- First aid kit
- Car charger
- Inflated spare tire
- Tool kit
- Reflective vest or flares
- Ice scraper
- Nonperishable foods
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Cat litter
- Seat belt cutter
- Window breaker
1. Jumper Cables
There are few things more frustrating to deal with than a dead car battery. That’s why owning a set of jumper cables is essential. Never purchased a pair of jumper cables before? No worries. In general, you should purchase jumper cables that have 4 to 6 gauge and are at least 20 feet long. You will also want to find thick jumper cables with heavy clamps for extra durability.
If you find yourself stuck at the side of the road in the middle of the night, you will want a powerful flashlight on-hand. For convenience, you should purchase one that fits comfortably in your glove box and is rechargeable. You might also want one that offers a hands-free option, such as a headlamp. This will be helpful if you find yourself having to change a tire or work on the engine at night.
3. First Aid Kit
You never know what can happen on the road, which is why you should carry a first aid kit in your car. Maybe you need to wait out bad weather or one of your road trip buddies needs some sunscreen. Either way, having a handy kit of supplies in your car can be lifesaving. As you start to assemble it, make sure you include these supplies:
- Safety pins
- Aloe vera
- Hand sanitizer
- Epipen if you use one
- Extra blanket
- Pain-relieving medication like ibuprofen
4. Car Charger
Most cars have cigarette lighters that can double as charging stations. Dealing with a broken-down car as well as a dead phone can add to your already elevated stress levels. So keep your phone charged and working properly by bringing a car charger along with you on your trips. This car charger may also be handy if you ever need to recharge your flashlight on-the-go.
5. Inflated Spare Tire
No one really expects having to deal with a flat tire on their way to work or on the way home from a quick errand. But unexpected things can still happen. That’s why you need to stay prepared by carrying an inflated spare tire with you.
That being said, you should also make sure the tire is properly inflated. In general, spare tires need a higher PSI than your other tires. Most have a 60 PSI. This is because they tend to be smaller than your other tires, as they are meant as a temporary, rather than permanent, solution.
6. Tool Kit
Your car tool kit requires a wide range of supplies, such as:
- Socket wrenches
- Hex Keys
7. Reflective Vest, Cones, or Flares
If you find yourself stranded along the road in the dark, you will need a reflective vest, cone, or some flares. While you might feel a little silly wearing a vest, it will keep you visible to any nearby traffic as you wait for help to arrive. Cones can also be useful if you realize that your hazard lights aren’t working. You never know what you might deal with during an accident. That’s why it’s best to remain prepared for anything.
For trips where you are headed to unknown territory, you will want to bring a map along with you. Should you ever find yourself lost or without a working navigator, your map will be a solid back-up for you. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the different symbols used on a map and you can also bring a compass for orienting yourself.
During the winter, you should also store an extra blanket or two for road trips. If you break down or are forced to deal with an emergency, your blankets will keep you warm and comfortable. You can also use a blanket or a towel to cover up your seats and keep them from getting dirty.
10. Ice Scraper
An ice scraper is another essential tool for anyone who lives in an area that grows cold and snows over the winter. If you live in Southern California or Florida, you probably won’t need one. However, you will probably want one if you live up North in Minnesota or Delaware. Try to find an ice scraper that has a brush on the other end for wiping away light layers of snow from your car.
11. Nonperishable Foods
During longer road trips, you should bring some extra food to keep yourself nourished and filled. Snack bars, jerky, dried fruit, and chips can make great snacks for your upcoming road trip. Nuts, honey, and rice cakes make great snacks as well. Don’t forget to bring along some extra water or a water jug along with you as well.
Shovels are a no-brainer when it comes to preparing for heavy snowfall. During the winter months, you will probably have to dig your car out of snow every once in a while. Try to find a shovel that is relatively portable and collapsible for easy storage in your car.
13. Windshield Washer Fluid
A clean windshield is essential for keeping you safe as you drive and take in your surroundings. Once your windshield washer fluid in your car runs out, you will want to have an extra batch on-hand.
Make sure you purchase a washer fluid that is suitable for your climate. If you live in an area that tends to grow cold and snowy during the winter, you will need one that won’t freeze. But if you live in a warmer area that doesn’t deal with harsh winters, you can purchase a general all-season version instead.
14. Cat Litter
Did you know that you can prevent your car windows from fogging up with cat litter? Simply fill up a sock with silica cat litter and place it on the dashboard of your car overnight. You can wrap a second sock around the first to keep it extra safe and secure. The cat litter should then absorb any moisture that accumulates in your car, thus preventing it from fogging up.
15. Seat belt cutter
A decent amount of people fear getting stuck in their car from a floor or an accident because their seatbelt is stuck. You should always wear a seatbelt, but in order to attain peace of mind, you can carry a seat belt cutter in your car with you, just in case.
16. Window breaker
If you ever find yourself unable to open a door, you can use a window breaker to let yourself out. While you might never have to use a window breaker, having one in your car can reduce your anxiety over the idea of getting stuck in your car.
Once you assemble your kit, you can store it in the trunk of your car. You should also check it every six months to make sure the equipment is in good condition. Should you ever find yourself stranded in the middle of the road, you will have all of the tools necessary to ensure your safety and wait for any additional help.