11 Essential Items To Keep In Your Car

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family in car

Keeping a few essential items in your car in case of emergency or inconvenience is so important! Here’s a list of what you need.


If your car is like mine it’s packed to the gills with a bunch of ‘junk’ you really don’t need, and missing a few things you truly should have in there. Here are the non-negotiable things you need to keep in your car:

1. First aid kit

Recently I cut my finger (luckily not too badly) on the bottom of my daughter’s car seat while trying to dig something out that had rolled beneath it. I had a tissue convenient and that did the trick, but an antiseptic wipe and band aid would have been useful.

While you probably have a first aid kit at home, being out on the road with one is just as smart. If you are at a friend’s home or park, you are likely to have your car – and your kit – fairly accessible if you need it.

2. Spare tire and supplies

Tires can be punctured by nails left on the road or even by hitting a small pothole – trust me I’ve popped a few tires this way myself! Be prepared by keeping a spare tire in your car. Full sized spares are best but if you don’t have the space or ability to purchase a full those baby (temporary) ones work fine in a pinch.

In order to put the spare on you will need tools – these often come with car or you can purchase kits. Keep these tools, with detailed instructions, close to your spare tire.

3. Tire sealer

Buy a can of this for only a few bucks and keep it in your trunk or glove box. Often tires will slowly deflate instead of going flat fast so this can save you from having to change your whole tire. Apply this and visit a tire store as soon as possible for a proper fix.

4. Car manual

Your car should come with one of these but if it didn’t contact your car manufacturer, find it at an automotive shop, or download it, and keep it in your glove box or somewhere else handy. These manuals are invaluable when it comes to simple things such as changing the clock or radio, or diagnosing small problems that may come up with your car.

5. Jumper cables

These can be found at any big box or auto store and are relatively inexpensive. If you leave a light on in your car by accident your battery can drain fast and you’ll be thankful you have these! Make sure you get instructions for these too.

Not only will jumper cables come in handy if your own car won’t start – but you’ll be the hero to your friends and other stranded motorists you can save who don’t have them in their cars!

6. Ice scraper

In colder months ice can build up fast on windshields and you don’t want to be out and get stranded. I’ve seen people use credit cards in a pinch but don’t mess around – use that credit card to buy a $3 scraper and tuck it in your glove box or under your seat.

7. Blankets

If you were to get stuck in a storm, or your car won’t start for some reason, and you have to wait a while for help, you will be glad you stored a blanket or two in the back for warmth and comfort.
Blankets also come in handy if you are moving something valuable and want it to be protected in your trunk or back seat from any damage while driving.

8. Snacks and water

If you are ever caught in a storm or have a fussy hungry child – or even if it’s you who is fussy and hungry – you will thank yourself for having quick and easy snacks ready to go. Throw in some bags of chips, granola bars, or nuts, and a few bottles of water. Don’t forget to swap these items out periodically.

9. Flashlight

You don’t need a fancy flashlight in your car so buy a basic one and keep a few extra batteries nearby. If your car breaks down, you have a tire to fix, have to walk to a gas station after dark, or are trying to signal to other cars, you will be thankful you have this.

10. Rags

Keep a few rags, or old towels, under your seat or in the trunk. These are perfect for spills, being able to wipe your hands after eating or checking on something in the car, and for wiping the inside of your dewy windshield down so you don’t have to wait forever for it to defrost.

11. Registration and other info

You do need to keep your registration with your vehicle in case of an accident or if you are pulled over by authorities, but keep a copy at home so you have record of it in case your car is stolen.

Also, go through the papers you get with your registration. Some information on your insurance papers is personal and shouldn’t be kept in the car . Double check with your own insurance company to find out what truly needs to be with the car.

How about you?

Do you have everything you need in your car? Is there anything else you find essential to carry? Tell us what we missed in the comments section.

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Erika Palmer

Erika Palmer is a Mom and freelance writer located in Beautiful British Columbia. She is currently working hard to create a home for her new family and is stumbling hilariously down the road to becoming a domestic goddess. In addition to her love of family, and reading and writing, she enjoys exploring new interests with friends, shopping for just about anything, and cuddling up with a great cup of tea and some sort of chocolate treat.