Car maintenance and safety go hand-in-hand most of the time. If you are diligent about your driving experience, you may often wonder, “what are the most important items that should be in my car at all times?” The answer to this question may depend heavily on your typical routines, your values, and your daily life. However, there are a few essentials that you should never be without. If you are one of those people who keeps their car full of junk, you may want to think about including a thorough car-cleaning in your near future. Not only is having a messy car a daily stress, but it can also hinder your ability to get through an emergency; leaving no room for the essentials that are needed for your safety in emergencies can be more than an inconvenience in the long run. Here are 10 items that you should keep in your car at all times.
A spare tire & a spare tire kit
Firstly, and most obviously, you should always keep a spare tire and a spare tire kit in your car. This kit should always include a tire iron and a tire jack. Even if you are a driver who relies on an emergency roadside service when a flat tire occurs, you should know the basic skills of how to change a tire, just in case.
Secondly, keep jumper cables in your trunk. We have all been there; batteries can die because we left our lights on, or our key in the ignition for too long. When this happens, it’s important to have jumper cables, because if a nice soul drives by to give you a jump, they may not have the proper materials themselves.
Owner’s manual & a tire gauge
Another thing you should always keep in the car is your owner’s manual. Keep this in your center console or glove compartment at all times for quick references. This manual holds the key to all the specified information you need to know about your car, including the proper pressure level to fill your tires with. Fourthly, and along the same topic, keep a tire gauge with you at all times—it takes up very little space (about the size of a pen) and is essential for long drives especially.
First aid kit
Next, you may get stuck in a situation that is less than ideal, even less so than being stuck on the side of the road. In case someone gets hurt, you should always have a first aid kit in your car. You can purchase a ready-made first-aid kit at most convenience stores. Along the same lines of safety, you should also include an emergency bag with flashlights, a Swiss-army knife (or something similar), a few bottles of water, and some quick energy foods like protein bars.
A paper map
Even though modern conveniences have made us reliant upon our phones and GPS for navigation, sometimes satellites don’t reach us. It is important to keep maps in your car, especially of unknown areas that you are traveling in. When all else fails, you should make sure you know how to read an old-fashioned paper map.
Another thing to keep in your car, especially if you live in colder weather regions, is an ice scraper. If your windshield freezes over, you may be breathing heavily on it for quite some time without an ice scraper. They are generally small and compact and take up little to no space.
Other important items
You should keep towels, paper towels, and/or tissues in your car at all times. You will find numerous occasions in which to use these items, and when you need them, you’ll be grateful they’re there. Lastly, keep spare change or an emergency fund of cash somewhere in your car. You can tape it under your seat, or hide it wherever you feel most comfortable. Unexpected parking meters, toll bridges, or hunger usually comes up without fail; good luck trying to use your credit card at that parking meter, or buying an apple at the only roadside fruit stand for miles without any cash on you.
In case of an emergency, or when you have little to no options, keeping some essential items in your car is important in order to remain alive and safe.