A list of essential items to have on hand in your vehicle
We spend a lot of our time inside our cars, to the point where they have become like second homes to use, and just as there are things you cannot go without at home, there are several things you need to keep in your car, too. In 2021, these range from absolute must-haves such as a spare tire or a first-aid kit, through to handy items like a blanket in case you break down somewhere cold, or emergency food and water to keep you going when the going gets rough.
The list of things to always keep in your car can be broken down into several categories. There are things to always keep in your car in case your car breaks down or you get into an accident, as well as less essential items, such as handy things to keep your car clean. Here is an easy guide for you to reference.
These are the things you should always have on hand in case of a mechanical crisis:
We have to keep a surprisingly large amount of documentation inside our cars, and there are not a lot of suitable places for it. However, the glove compartment is often overlooked, even though it is a great place to store things you need to keep in your car at all times. These include:
You won't always have the luxury of being able to seek medical attention from a qualified doctor when you hurt yourself out on the road. Thus, it is imperative that you maintain a well-stocked first aid kit. Here are the important things to keep in your car first aid kit at all times:
Sport utility vehicles make for great campers, so some essential items to keep in the trunk when venturing into the great unknown include:
Your car is your safe haven when on the move, so it's no surprise that it ends up accumulating some personality along the way. Here are just a few personal things for your car that give it that lived-in feeling:
While most moms and dads carry a diaper bag with extra goodies, it's always good to have some fundamentals on hand in case this gets left behind somewhere
While not essential, there are numerous other items that might be worth keeping around just in case. You never know what might be useful, so here are the top things that online driver reviews suggest you keep around:
The center console armrest is another great place to store your odds and ends, especially those that you like to keep within reach at all times. Some of the top things to keep in your car can be stored here, including:
This comprehensive guide to essential items to keep in your car will go a long way to helping you in times of crisis, or just to make your day-to-day commute easier. For even more tips, be sure to read our guide on what to keep in your garage.
While there are a lot of things you should keep in your car, only a select few are legally essential. You must, at all times while operating a motor vehicle in the USA, have a valid driver's license, a copy of your car registration, and your car insurance information.
A simple beginner's checklist of things you should always have in your car includes: a car emergency kit with a spare tire and tire-changing tools, a properly stocked first-aid kit as well as your medical information in the event that paramedics need to rescue you, legal documentation such as your license and registration, a fire extinguisher, and emergency contact info in case you lose your phone and need to call for help.
The best way to keep things inside your car cool, is to keep your entire vehicle cool. There are some pretty simple ways to do this, as well as a few life hacks you may want to consider. Firstly, be sure to avoid parking in direct sunlight whenever possible. Covering your dash and steering wheel also helps to keep the ambient temperature down, and using a sunshade or window visor further helps in this regard. You can also rely on a solar-powered fan when on the move, since it won't draw from the car's electronics, which can actually increase overall heat instead.
In particularly cold areas of the US, it is actually possible for certain liquids to freeze inside your vehicle. When it comes to the water flowing through your engine, you should be using anti-freeze. However, for bottles of water or other liquids inside your car, you may need to resort to a cooler. Yes, you hear correctly. Coolers are more climate-controlled than a steel box. The plastic maintains the internal temperature far better, especially if you warm it up before storing your food and drinks inside. This will help offset the slow cooling process a bit and prevent your goods from freezing or potentially exploding.
In the event of an accident or a breakdown, there are a number of tools and gadgets that can make your life a lot easier. A fire extinguisher will come in handy if you have a particularly explosive accident or your engine overheats to the point of combustion. If you simply have a flat, some sealant and a tire pump might solve the problem, or you can replace the tire with a spare and your tire jack. In either case, a reflective emergency triangle will help steer other motorists away from your vehicle and reduce the risk of further harm. Should you break down in the middle of a blizzard, attaching some colorful material to your car antenna can help emergency teams to locate you, although flares do the job even better. If you live in an area where it can sometimes take days for emergency response teams to reach you, it is imperative that you keep enough non-perishable food and water on board to carry you through.