Whether you’re commuting to work or taking a long road trip, it’s best to prepare for when plans go awry. That’s why you need to keep several things in your car in case something goes wrong during your travels. Seasonal weather is also a factor concerning what to keep in your vehicle, so as summer fades into fall, revisit the items you carry with you and re-stock as is necessary.
Let’s assume that you already know that you should have the spare tire aboard, as well as the jack and lug wrench supplied by the car company that built your vehicle. Keep in mind that some vehicles have a tire inflator kit in place of these items. You should also have copies of your car registration and proof of car insurance in the glove compartment, along with the original owner’s manual.
What, aside from these items, is good to have along for the ride? Let’s take a closer look.
You want to have a first-aid kit in your vehicle. At a minimum, it should contain adhesive and fabric bandages, anti-bacterial spray, antibiotic ointment, medical tape, and scissors. Many also include medical gloves, alcohol cleaning wipes, antiseptic, gauze, and tweezers.
An escape tool cuts through seatbelt webbing and breaks window glass from the inside. This tool is useful if you run off of a road into a body of water, so keep it in your center console or glove compartment and not in your trunk or cargo area.
If you break down on a hot and muggy summer day, keep in mind that you won’t be able to run your vehicle’s air conditioning. You’ll need to wait for help outside. Having bug spray, sunblock, and a sun hat will protect you from mosquitoes and a sunburn.
Keeping an umbrella in your car is smart, even if you live in the desert. Otherwise, sudden, unexpected rainstorms can catch you unprepared.
When the snow flies, you’ll want to have an ice scraper and a snow brush inside of your vehicle. If the weather calls for freezing rain, it’s a good idea to remove the ice scraper and keep it in your home because you might need to chisel your way into your car after the storm.
Breakdowns in the winter pose a severe threat to your health. You’ll need to be prepared to keep yourself and your passengers warm in the absence of the car’s heater. Blankets, gloves, and hats are a must for people living in cold-weather climates.
To help your tires get traction, kitty litter is useful. You don’t want to carry an entire bag of it, which takes up space and adds significant weight. A quarter of a bag should be enough to assist you in slippery situations.
When driving in winter weather, your windshield gets filthy, and fast. If you run out of washer jet fluid, you could suffer significant visibility problems as a result. In winter, carry washer fluid in your vehicle to avoid this problem. Do not use water, which could freeze and damage your washer system.
We are dependent on our cell phones and smartphones, and when the battery powering them goes dead, we lose our primary form of communication. Keeping a charger in your vehicle and using it while driving is essential not just for your convenience but also if you break down on the side of the road.
Maintaining proper tire pressure is one of the best ways to maximize fuel economy, minimize tire wear, and maintain a vehicle’s proper ride and handling characteristics. Using a quality tire pressure gauge is always better than using the air machine indicator at your local gas station.
Many states have banned the use of plastic grocery bags, or they require stores to charge extra for plastic or recycled paper bags. In response, reusable grocery bags are increasingly popular. Be sure to keep them in your car, so they’re available during impromptu trips to the market.
As society has learned, easily infectious germs are everywhere. Thus, it is a good idea to have hand sanitizer in your vehicle for when you cannot wash your hands, such as after refueling your car.
This list is not an exhaustive recommendation of what to keep in your car. There will be other things that you prefer to have with you at all times. Carry these 20 items, seasonally adjusted as is necessary, and you should be prepared for most potential situations while you’re traveling.