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For a lot of us, we spend a lot of time in our cars driving from one place to another. We try to keep everything handy that we might need while driving. For those of you who don’t spend a lot of time driving, you might not have a lot in your car. Not even a spare tire or tools needed to change tires.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the important things you should consider keeping in your car. We’ll look at the items that you need for winter, summer, spring, emergency and also the general items you should have all around the year.
I have tried to create a checklist of all the items that you may want to keep in your car. If your car has broken down in the middle of the road, and there is no help around, the things listed here might help you get to help and back home.
So What Are the Important Items to Keep in Your Car?
Any item which may help you while you are stuck on the road is helpful. There are many items that are considered essential. To make it easy to manage, we have divided this list into a number of sections.
- Car Repair and Maintenance
- Tools and Kits Required in Emergency
- Items that Help in Different Weather Conditions
1. Car Repair and Maintenance
First and foremost, let’s look at the items you need to fix the vehicle. There are the things you need to get your vehicle going on the road.
Here’s a list of the items for your reference. We’ll go into the details for each item below.
- Spare tire
- Tire Irons
- Pressure gauge
- Tire inflator
- Sealant foam for tires
- Lug wrench
- Windshield washer fluid
- Engine oil
- Duct tape
- Car manual
Spare Tire are a Must Have
Getting a flat tire is a very common issue. You could get a flat tire due to a number of issues; the condition of your tire, presence of sharp objects on the road etc. When you bought your car, it most likely came with a spare tire in the trunk, or hanging at the back.
If you have bought a used vehicle, it’s important to check and make sure that it still has the spare tire, along with the tool required to change the tire. If you don’t have it, head over to your local automotive store and get yourself one for the make and model of your car.
Tire Jack – Important for Lifting and Inspecting
To change a flat tire, you need to be able to lift the vehicle. You do that with a jack that also comes with most cars when you purchase. Having a jack in your car helps a lot. It not only allows you to change a flat tire, but also allows you to inspect under to see for any leaks etc.
Vehicle jacks come in all shapes, sizes and weights. For general purposes, we recommend you get a light-weight one which is easier to carry around; take a look at the scissor jacks. They come by default with most cars when you purchase.
Tire Irons – If your Car Doesn’t Have Tubeless Tires
Tire irons used to be important but are not common these days. Many years ago, most tires were tubed. If you had a flat tire, you’d either have to replace it with a spare tire, or repair the flat yourself. Tire irons came handy when you had to repair the flat yourself as they allow you to separate the inner tube from the outer tire.
Pressure Gauge – Important Tool for Weekly Maintenance
Keeping your vehicle’s tires properly inflated is a key component of weekly maintenance. When the tires have the correct pressure, you can get the most out of them in terms of fuel economy. When the tires are under-inflated, it causes the tires to wear out a lot quicker. It also raises the fuel economy and affects the handling as well.
If tires are overinflated, they come with their own problems. Overinflated tires are at a higher risk for a blowout. If that happens while you are driving on a highway, you may lose control of your car and it can also affect the braking distance.
Modern cars come equipped with a lot of safety features, such as an anti-lock braking system, which works best when the tires are inflated to the appropriate levels. Overinflated tires also become stiff and susceptible to damage by potholes.
One way to determine if you have been overinflating the tires is to look at the wear and tear of the tread on the tires surface. If you see the wear and tear in the center of the tire, that means you have been overinflating.
So what’s the recommended tire pressure of your vehicle? Where do you find it?
You can find the optimal tire pressure of your vehicle in the vehicle owner’s manual. Also, if you open the driver’s side door, you will see a label posted on the frame that tells you what the tire pressure should be of your vehicle.
We highly recommend that you keep a tire inflator in your vehicle. They come handy all the time. When you are in a rush to drive somewhere, and you notice that the tires need some air, you can quickly use a portable tire inflator to inflate the tires and go on your way.
There are all kinds of inflators available; manual, portable, electric, digital, etc. We recommend that you get a digital and portable tire inflator that has a tire pressure gauge built-in.
Sealant Foam for Tires – A Quick Fix in Emergency
In a situation where you have a flat tire and no spare tire, tire sealant foam comes handy. The purpose of this foam is to basically seal the leak from inside the tube and hold the pressure while you get to the garage.
Fixing a tire with the sealant foam is not a permanent fix. It’s only temporary and you will eventually need to get the leak fixed.
When you have a flat tire, lug wrench is what you need to loosen the lug nuts to take off the tire and replace with a spare. You will also need it to tighten the lug nuts once the spare tire is put on.
In the majority of vehicles, lug wrench, car jack, and a spare tire is included with purchase.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Personally, every time i go on a drive that is more than a couple hours long, I check the engine oil, engine coolant and windshield washer fluid levels to make sure i’m not low on anything. I’d top up the windshield washer fluid to make sure I won’t run out while driving. I also keep a bottle in the trunk for emergency purposes.
When you are driving on a highway, in rain, and particularly behind big vehicles such as truck trailers, you will most likely use more windshield washer fluid than normal. For the safety and security of everyone on the road and myself, I make sure that my vision is clear and that is only possible when your windshield is super-clean as well.
Imagine driving on the road and you suddenly see the engine light pop up; what would you do? I would take the car off-road and bring it to a complete stop as soon as possible. Unless i want to damage the engine and pay thousands in repairs.
I always keep some extra engine oil for such cases. If i notice that my car is low on engine oil, i’d grab it from my trump and pour some in the engine. This might be enough to get your car to the garage for further diagnostics.
Duct tape is generally a very good item to have in the car. It can help you hold pretty much anything that’s not too heavy. It can help you hold together broken mirrors, lights, hanging plastic pieces etc.
Let’s be honest, you can’t know everything about your car. Your car manual is what contains the most accurate information about your vehicle. It’s best to refer to it whenever you are trying to troubleshoot any issue.
2. Tools and Kit Required in Emergency
Listed below are the items you might need in case of emergency.
- First Aid Kit
- Emergency Flares
- Paper Towels
- Fire Extinguisher
First Aid Kit
First aid kit is a must have in any car. Some of the items included in a first aid kit are bandages, gauzes, antibiotic creams, allergy medicine, pain relievers, cotton swabs, hand sanitizers, thermometer and heating pad.
You can buy all of the above items and prepare your own kit, or you can buy a pre-assembled kit for yourself. If you are going on a long trip, don’t forget to take with you any medication you or your family might need.
If your car breaks down and it’s night time, you will need some light to look under the car or under the hood to see what the issue is. In this case, you will need a heavy-duty waterproof flashlight to figure out what’s wrong with the car.
You can definitely use your phone’s light but it’s not strong enough. You also need to preserve your phone’s battery for emergency calls. So make sure you have a flashlight in your car along with spare batteries.
Emergency flares are good to have when you are stuck on a busy street or highway. Your car’s emergency blinkers can only do so much and might not be visible at longer distances. In such cases, emergency flares can help you warn the cars around of your presence.
It’s recommended that you keep two different kinds of gloves in your car: nitrile gloves with first aid kit and heavy duty work gloves if you need to work on the car. When inspecting under the hood, there are a lot of parts that are hot. Your heavy duty work gloves will protect your hands from the burns and bruises.
General purpose paper towels come in handy all the time. If you or someone in your car accidently spilled something in your car, you can use paper towels to soak-up the liquid. If you need to check the engine oil levels, you may use a paper towel to clean the level stick and work the cap.
Keep food in your car that won’t spoil easily. Granola and energy bars are a few examples. These should give you enough energy while you wait for help.
Water is essential for hydration. Keep water in your car that’s stored in plastic bottles. Plastic bottles won’t break when they are frozen. If you have a case of water bottles sitting in your car, it’s best to replace all the remaining bottles every six months.
If you are travelling in an unfamiliar terrain and your phone/GPS dies, what would you do? Road maps will come in handy in such situations.
3. Items that Help in Different Weather Conditions
Listed below are items that are good to have in your car for winter months.
- Warm Clothes and Shoes
- Small shovel
Warm Clothes and Shoes
When your car is dead and the temperature is in minus, you need something to keep your body warm. Warm clothes and shoes will preserve the body heat and keep you warm until help arrives.
Blankets can be used for many things; window shade, towel and of course as a blanket to keep you warm.
If your car is stuck in the snow, you may use the shovel to remove the snow around the tires and get your vehicle going.
We hope that you found the items listed here helpful. If you think we have missed anything please let us know in the comments below.
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