You depend on your car to get from point A to point B, whether it’s on your daily commute to work or on a trip across the country with the family. While you are doing your best to maintain your car and make sure it is in top running condition, things can still happen. Your car could break down, you could be in an accident, you could get stuck in traffic, or you could run out of gas. ??
Keeping your car fully stocked will help make sure you’re ready for anything. Here is a list of items that you should have ready to take in your car, no matter how far you are traveling.
1. Owner’s manual
Cars come with an owner’s manual, a book that provides you with everything you need to know about using your vehicle. It can help you understand what the different warning lights mean, the optimal tire pressure, when you need service, and more. While you can usually find a copy of the owner’s manual online, having a physical copy in your glove box can be helpful if you have poor reception or your phone’s battery is low.
2. A spare tire and a tire change kit
A nail or other sharp debris on the road can puncture your tire, leaving you with a flat tire. Driving with a flat tire increases the risk of damaging various parts of your car, including brake lines, fenders, or suspension components. It also increases the risk of having an accident. ??
If you notice that your tire is flat, you should immediately stop your car for a change. A spare tire, jack, and hook wrench (or a lug nut wrench if your tire has locking lug nuts) are essential. Even though the spare tire is not a full-size tire, it can help you get to your destination safely (or at least the next exit so you can find a repair shop).
3. Starter cables
A car battery can die for many reasons. Leaving the interior lights on or letting the car sit too long are some of the main causes. Sometimes a bad alternator can be the culprit. ??
A good set of jumper cables can help get your car running again. If the battery is still good, your alternator can recharge it (if there is nothing wrong with the alternator). If not, you can at least drive your car to the nearest auto store to get a replacement.
4. An emergency kit
In the event of an accident, you or someone in your car could be injured. An emergency kit with bandages, antiseptic cleaning solution, gauze, and cotton balls can be helpful if someone cuts or slightly injures themselves.
5. A flashlight and extra batteries
If you break down at night, you’ll need a light source. A flashlight can help you see if you need to change a tire or fix something under the hood. An LED flashlight will provide a stronger light than an incandescent lamp. Or, you can choose a tactical flashlight. Whatever type of flashlight you keep in your car, make sure you have extra batteries as well.
6. Flares or reflective triangles
If you suddenly have trouble on the road, one of the first things you’ll want to do is pull over. Unfortunately, you may not always be able to stray from the road the way you would like. Setting up flares or reflective triangles will alert other drivers to your presence, giving them time to move around and leaving you space. If you have flares, make sure you have matches or a lighter to light them as well.
7. Adhesive tape
The duct tape can be useful for some emergency repairs. Its strength allows it to act as a temporary patch for sudden cracks, leaks or holes, giving you time to take your car to the nearest repair shop.
8. An umbrella
Even if you don’t expect rain, or if you live in an area that doesn’t rain often, you should keep an umbrella in your car. If you break down during a rainstorm, it can help keep you dry while you check for what’s wrong or make necessary repairs.
9. Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
In certain situations, you may need to seek roadside assistance. It may take some time for help to arrive. Having bottled water and non-perishable snacks, especially if you have kids in the car, is a good idea.
10. Seasonal supplies
Some supplies you may not need all year round. In winter, for example, you should have items such as a blanket, cold weather hat, and gloves. A bag of kitty litter or sand can provide traction if you get stuck. An ice scraper and a snow brush are also helpful. In the summer, you should have sunscreen, a sun hat, and bug spray.
11. A phone charger
In an emergency, your cell phone can save your life. You can use it to find directions if you get lost or call for help if you break down. As such, you want to make sure it’s always charged. A charging cable that plugs into your car can help. You can also consider having a portable battery bank in case your car battery fails.