Should You Have an Emergency Kit in Your Car?

At Best Being Unprepared for Car Trouble is an Inconvenience

Have you ever thought about getting stranded on the side of the highway with car trouble – a flat tire, bad battery? What’s worse is realizing you have nothing in the car to help you.

I recall caravanning with my spouse while making a move to a new city. We stopped to fill up both cars and one of the cars wouldn’t start at the pump. Fortunately, we had a charged up jump box to get it going and were able to drive to an auto supply store, check the battery and buy a new one. Easy fix but did add about 2 hours to our travel time. And we were lucky it was during business hours. 

Another time I had a flat in a new (to me) car, in the rain, after dark. When roadside assistance arrived, we learned the spare tire was flat! He towed my car home, took the tire and brought it back in the morning pumped up. Needless to say I felt pretty stupid (and lucky I was close to home). Now when I get my tires checked and rotated I ALWAYS remind them to check the spare. You should too. 

Why You Should Have an Emergency Kit in Every Car

When it comes to hitting the road, you can never be over-prepared. Many types of emergencies can lead to all kinds of unexpected situations, which is why you should always keep a well-equipped emergency kit in your car.

Different parts of the country have different emergency events that can mean your car may be a potential life saver for you and your family. Wildfires, hurricanes, floods – all may require evacuation to save your life. Piling your family and pets into your vehicle means preparing in advance when you live in an area where these events can occur.

The essential supplies in the emergency kit will help keep you safe and can even be life-saving in some cases. Even if you are getting on the road for a long road trip or just going to the supermarket in risky weather, you should always be prepared.

What You Should Have in Your Emergency Car Kit

emergency car kit
You can either buy a ready-made emergency kit for your vehicle or custom-build your own. Whatever the circumstances may be, here are the top 15 most essential items that you should keep in your car emergency kit.

  • Car Owner’s Manual to help you troubleshoot common car problems.
  • A Flashlight and spare batteries (your cell phone might run out of charge)
  • Always have a well-inflated spare tire in your trunk, along with all the essential equipment and tools required to replace a flat tire when required.
  • Jumper cables to help you jump-start your battery and restart your vehicle in case your battery drains.

A basic tool kit. It should include, but not be limited to:

  • Reflective triangles to alert other drivers that you are broken down
  • Two reflective vests so other drivers can see you
  • Work gloves
  • Screwdriver with changeable bits
  • Pliers
  • Electrical tape
  • Rags
  • Extra fluids
  • Car fire extinguisher to ensure your safety.
  • Car phone charger so that your phone does not die right when you have to make an emergency call.
  • Lighter or matches
  • Seasonal supplies such as umbrella, ice scraper, rain poncho, and more.
  • First aid supplies such as gauze, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, thermometer, and so on.
  • Emergency blanket(s)
  • Non-perishable food items such as snacks, protein bars, travel-friendly fruit cans, and so on.
  • Drinking water sufficient for all the passengers of the car.
  • Basic toiletries like toilet paper, soap, and small towels.
  • Money – a small amount of cash can come in handy if power and POS systems are out in small stores


Safety must be your primary priority while driving, and having an emergency car kit help you ensure that. It is the best way to make sure that you will stay safe and secure in case an emergency occurs. Let’s hope that you will never need to make use of it, but it is always good to have the added safety available.



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