Top 10 Emergency Car Essentials Everyone Should Own

car essentials

Are you someone who keeps their car tidy and spotless year-round? Or does your car end up looking like an extra closet between cleaning sessions? Either way, how many of the items in your vehicle are car essentials that will help keep you safe in an emergency? Probably not as many as should be.

Most car owners keep one or two emergency essentials like jumper cables or an ice scraper, in their car. But many don't carry any kind of emergency equipment at all. Without the proper equipment, a broken-down car or flat tire can turn into a life-threatening situation. Don't let ill-preparedness risk the health and safety of you or a loved one.

Why You Should Carry a Car Essentials Kit

Unless you live in a city with great public transport, you probably spend a lot of your time sitting or driving in your car. And while most of the time everything goes 100 percent according to plan, disaster can strike at any moment. From a dead engine to a blizzard, sudden events may immobilize your vehicle, and as a result, you could end up stranded. Keeping your vehicle stocked with emergency car essentials means you can handle these emergency situations and get back on the road — or at least keep yourself safe and comfortable until help arrives.

Of course, you can't just buy these car essentials, toss them in your trunk, and forget about them. You need to learn how to use them so that you can be fully prepared for an emergency if and when it occurs. If you don't already know how, and many people don't, teach yourself how to hook up and use jumper cables. Ask a loved one or a mechanic to show you how to change or patch a tire. Or consult an instructional video online. But the last thing you want is to have a full kit of car essentials but not know how to use them.

Should You Build Your Own Car Essentials Kit or Buy a Pre-Made One?

You might notice a variety of pre-made car essentials kits on the market. These kits can be a great way to stock your car without needing to shop around for every single item individually. Pre-made car essential kits are also great presents for a new driver who probably doesn't own any of the necessary safety equipment.

Whether you choose a pre-made kit or purchase everything separately is entirely up to you. While kits are convenient and sometimes allow you to save money, you don't have any say in individual items. One suggestion we have, though, is to purchase a kit and then slowly swap out items for higher-quality ones as you become more familiar with what you need and want to carry in your car essentials kit. That allows you to cover the basics while researching and investing in the exact items you want.

Emergency Car Essentials Everyone Should Keep in Their Car

Some car essentials are pretty obvious, like jumper cables, but others not so much. We've put together a list of suggestions for building your own emergency car kit. That should help you cover all your bases while shopping for supplies. And hopefully, give you some ideas for items you wouldn't have thought of otherwise.

As you build your car essentials kit, you'll probably discover things you need that aren't on this list, as well as some listed items that your location does not require. For instance, if you live in Arizona or another hot climate, you probably won't need an ice scraper or sand in your car at all times. But this list offers a basic guideline for you to consult while building your own collection of emergency supplies.

Jumper cables

NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter

Jumper cables can save you or another stranded driver when you least expect it. While certain things can kill your battery, like a bad alternator diode or extreme weather, sometimes a battery will die completely unexpectedly. Jump starting your vehicle will get you on the road so that you can make it home or to a mechanic for a permanent fix.

NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe Portable Lithium Car Battery Jump Starter Pack For Up To 6-Liter Gasoline And 3-Liter Diesel Engines
  • Start Dead Batteries - Safely jump start a dead battery in seconds with this compact, yet powerful, 1000-amp portable lithium car battery jump starter pack - up to 20 jump starts on a single charge - and rated for gasoline engines up to 6 liters and diesel engines up to 3 liters.
  • UltraSafe - Safe and easy to use car battery jump starter pack without the worry of incorrect connections or sparks. Safely connect to any 12-volt automotive car battery with our mistake-proof design featuring spark-proof technology and reverse polarity protection.
  • Multi-Function - It's a car jump starter, portable power bank, and LED flashlight. Recharge smartphones, tablets, and other USB devices. It's easily rechargeable from any powered USB port in 3 hours at 2. 1-amps. Plus, an integrated 100-lumen LED flashlight with seven light modes, including emergency strobe and SOS.
  • Advanced Design - Our most advanced portable car battery jump starter ever. Featuring high-discharge lithium technology for safe operation in any climate. A rugged and water-resistant enclosure rated at IP65. A rubberized over-molded casing to prevent scratching or marring of surfaces. And an ultra-compact and lightweight design weighing just 2. 4 pounds.
  • In The Box - GB40 UltraSafe Portable Lithium Car Battery Jump Starter Pack, Heavy-Duty Battery Clamps, 12-Volt Car Charger, Micro USB Charging Cable, Microfiber Storage Bag, User Guide, 1-Year , and Designed in the USA.

Basic jumper cables work by connecting the engines of two cars and supplying a jolt of power from the live battery to the dead one. But if you're stuck somewhere without a helpful motorist to offer their running engine, what do you do? Fortunately, there are devices like the NOCO Genius Boost Plus. This item is a jump starter that works without another vehicle present. All you need to do is hook it up to your dead car battery and you'll be on your way. For ultimate preparedness, it's a good idea to carry both a set of traditional jumper cables and a jump starter like the NOCO one.

Your car's manual

Your car's manual can answer all sorts of questions about your vehicle and its features. That includes how to perform basic maintenance and emergency tasks like changing a tire or checking fluid levels. Your car's manual is also crucial for deciphering warning lights that appear on your dash display when something is wrong.

10 Things Car Manual

If you've lost your owner's manual or purchased a used car that didn't include one, you can usually order one from the manufacturer directly. If this isn't possible, other vehicle owners will sometimes upload owner's manuals for different car models online. While this might not be as convenient as a dealer-provided manual, it's better than nothing.

Tire repair kit

Tooluxe

Of course, you should always keep a spare tire and jack, in working condition, in your vehicle at all times. But tire-related car essentials don't stop there. You can also invest in a tire repair kit for emergency situations. These kits include supplies for plugging or patching holes in your car's tires. While these patches are temporary, they can mean the difference between standing on the roadside waiting for help and safely driving to a mechanic.

The Tooluxe Universal Tire Repair Kit is a great compact option if you're shopping for a tire repair kit. You might also want to invest in a tire air pump, like TireTek RX-i Air Pump. This pump will come in handy if your tire goes flat before you can patch it up. Remember, like with all car essentials and emergency supplies, make sure you understand how to use these tools before you end up stuck on the side of the road with a punctured tire.

First aid kit

Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Portable Emergency First Aid Kit for Home & Travel, 140 pc

While first aid kits are one of the most basic emergency supplies, people often overlook them. Not only will this kit help in an emergency situation, but it's also great to have with you at all times anyway. You never know when you or a family member will need a bandage or antibiotic ointment with a moment's notice.

Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Portable Compact First Aid Kit for Minor Cuts, Scrapes, Sprains & Burns, Ideal for Home, Car, Travel and Outdoor Emergencies, 140 pieces
  • 140-piece Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Portable Emergency First Aid Kit is ideal for use at home, in cars, outdoors, in dorm rooms, and while camping, cooking and on-the-go to help care for minor cuts, scrapes, burns, itches, pain, skin rashes and insect bites
  • All-purpose, compact first aid kit includes essential first aid supplies like cleansing wipes, gauze pads, assorted bandages, rolled gauze, antibiotic cream, itch stopping cream, acetaminophen caplets, an instant cold pack, and much more
  • Includes a variety of Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandages in assorted sizes for minor wounds, as well as Band-Aid Brand First Aid Products gauze pads, non-stick pads and rolled gauze for larger minor wounds
  • Includes full size 0.5 oz Neosporin + Pain Relief topical cream to help prevent infection while relieving pain and full size 1.0 oz Extra Strength Benadryl Itch-Stopping topical cream to help soothe itching
  • Travel first aid kit also contains Tylenol Extra Strength acetaminophen caplets and a Bengay Non-Medicated Instant Cold Pack to help ease minor aches and pains, as well as two pairs of gloves and a helpful first aid guide

The Tooluxe Universal Tire Repair Kit is a great compact option if you're shopping for a tire repair kit. You might also want to invest in a tire air pump, like TireTek RX-i Air Pump. This pump will come in handy if your tire goes flat before you can patch it up. Remember, like with all car essentials and emergency supplies, make sure you understand how to use these tools before you end up stuck on the side of the road with a punctured tire.

Surviveware Large First Aid Kit & Added Mini Kit for Trucks, Car, Camping and Outdoor Preparedness
  • DURABLE, STRONG AND DESIGNED TO LAST. Made from 600D Polyester this first aid kit comes in the strongest bag on the market. We tested this product for more than a year to make sure it withstands even the toughest conditions. For the price you're paying, you deserve the best. Forget about flimsy plastic containers that break when under pressure, invest in a soft shell first aid kit that is rugged, robust and portable.
  • FDA APPROVED TRAVEL MED KIT. This kit comes with 200 essential basic life-saving items for your Truck or Boat with additional space to add your own items. Anyone who is serious about preparedness ends up customizing their kit and adding their own supplies anyway. There is enough space in the kit to even add bulky items like an 18" SAM splint.
  • WATER RESISTANT. The bag is water resistant and all inner items are protected from water in durable laminate pouches. This means your kit becomes a waterproof haven. Add it to your boat without worrying about water damage. In addition, the kit floats so if you accidentally drop it during your voyage this your supplies stay safe
  • ORGANIZED COMPARTMENTS. You need to know your first aid kit like the back of your hand. During stressful situations at home or at the office people frequently panic and make mistakes. Each inner sleeve is labeled according to its function. Now, all items can easily be retrieved and afterwards replaced with new supplies in an orderly fashion.
  • PORTABLE MOLLE SYSTEM. The kit comes with a removable system so you can attach it to your car's headrest or the roll bar in your Jeep. If you don't need this, remove the straps and adhere in your car's trunk. The Velcro is super strong which means you can also carry it while hiking, this first aid kit will always stay in place when your family goes on extended travels.

Flashlight

MECO Hand Cranking Solar Powered Rechargeable Flashlight Emergency LED Flashlight Carbiner Dynamo Quick Snap Clip Backpack Flashlight Torch Weather Ready for Camping Outdoor Climbing Hiking

Many of us have stopped carrying a normal flashlight because it's now a built-in feature of most smartphones. But in an emergency situation, your phone battery can quickly become a finite resource that needs saving. Carrying a flashlight can help you see into nooks and crannies of your car's engine. It's also a great tool for added visibility so that passing vehicles can easily see you.

MECO Hand Cranking Solar Powered Rechargeable Flashlight Emergency LED Flashlight Carbiner Dynamo Quick Snap Clip Backpack Flashlight Torch Weather Ready, 8 Lumen
  • Emergency flashlight With Built-In Rechargeable battery, store energy in for a long time, No external battery needed! excellent survival hiking gear! also perfect for kids
  • High conversion efficiency, Cranking for 6 mins gives an hour light, Ready for the uncertain world
  • Classic Design, Durable, Army Green vs Dim Gray,Outdoor Survival Gear, The Shake Flashlight is Best Gift for Outdoor Activities or Hurricane
  • Mini Size: 4.92x1.77x0.91 inch(125x45x23mm); Weight: 86g/3oz With A Quick to Use Carabiner Clip, Clip it on your backpack and take it for camping hiking climing etc.
  • The flashlight doesn't need batteries, a fun gift for kids children, also perfect to keep in the car

When it comes to choosing a flashlight for your car essentials kit, your options are practically endless. The MECO Hand Cranking Flashlight is an excellent option because you don't need to worry about batteries dying or getting too old. And the Coleman Multi-Panel LED Lamp is great for standing up behind your car for visibility or for hands-free illumination.

Seat belt cutter

BlueSkyBos Value 2 Pack

The seat belt cutter and window breaker tool is the quintessential car essentials device. This tool features a razor blade for quickly cutting a locked seat belt in the event of a crash, rollover, or submersion. Plus you can use this tool to easily and safely break your car window. In many emergencies, you won't be able to open your car's doors. So the ability to break glass without harming yourself is crucial.

BlueSkyBos Value 2 Pack - Emergency Escape Tool Auto Car Window Glass Hammer Breaker and Seat Belt Cutter Escape 2-in-1 Tool
  • A must-have emergency lifesaving tool can make a huge difference between life and death, and should be in every vehicle.
  • Use it in case you are trapped in a vehicle that is sinking to water, rolling over, or on fire.
  • If the powered windows are not functioning during an emergency, use the double-sided, steel strike point to break the side window glass (not windshield).
  • If the seat belt cannot be released, use the protected razor-sharp blade to cut through the seat belt, then free trapped driver and passengers.
  • Compact, lightweight, proven to work, easy to fit in glove box, center armrest console, or door pocket. Each hammer is in an individual nice package, ideal gift for all occasions.

The BlueSkyBos Emergency Escape Tool is a great, affordable option. If you include one of these tools in your car essentials kit, which you definitely should, remember to keep it somewhere that you can reach from the driver's seat. Placing this tool in your trunk won't do you any good.

Umbrella

Fidus Mini Compact Sun&Rain Travel Umbrella

An umbrella is an obvious choice for rainy weather, but its uses are more versatile than that. If you ever get stranded in the summer, heat and sun exposure are a dangerous combination. Sitting under an umbrella can save your skin from sunburn and help keep you cool while you wait for help.

The Fidus Mini Compact Umbrella is great because it shrinks down to a size barely bigger than a smartphone. This allows you to tuck the umbrella away in your trunk, glove compartment, or elsewhere when not in use. Plus it's small enough to fit in a purse or backpack as well. This umbrella also features an extra layer of UV protection, which is essential for the summer months.

Cat litter

Believe it or not, cat litter is one of the best ways to add traction between ice and your tires. Of course, you can also use salt or sand, but for many people, cat litter is the most accessible and affordable option. And since cat litter is meant to absorb liquid, it helps add even more traction than many other substances. It can also be used to absorb pil

Space blanket

Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (4-Pack) + Bonus Signature Gold Foil Space Blanket: Designed for NASA, Outdoors, Hiking, Survival, Marathons or First Aid

A space blanket is a compact survival blanket that is amazing at maintaining body temperature in emergency situations. These blankets are mylar foil, which contains up to 90 percent of released body heat. Plus, they can fold up into super small and lightweight packages that make them extra portable. And if you get stranded in winter while waiting for a tow truck or loved one to pick you up, your safety and comfort rely on staying warm.

Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (4-Pack) + Bonus Signature Gold Foil Space Blanket: Designed for NASA, Outdoors, Hiking, Survival, Marathons or First Aid
  • FOUR MYLAR EMERGENCY BLANKETS (Army Green) - Advanced dual-sided aluminized mylar blankets.
  • BONUS GOLD SPACE BLANKET - Each package includes ONE EXTRA GOLD colored space blanket.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND DURABLE - Military-grade 12-micron aluminized polyethylene mylar, 52"x82" & 2 oz.
  • EMERGENCY USE - Designed to retain up 90% of your body heat, completely block rain, snow, moisture.
  • 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: Swiss Safe Guarantees customer satisfaction or receive a 100% refund.

The Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blanket blocks rain and snow while keeping your body warm. In a pinch, you can also use these blankets as an emergency signal or for shade cover. Plus these blankets only weigh two ounces. Space blankets are also great to keep in your backpack or purse.

Mobile phone charger

Car Charger, Maxboost 4.8A/24W 2 USB Smart Port Charger [Black]

A space blanket is a compact survival blanket that is amazing at maintaining body temperature in emergency situations. These blankets are mylar foil, which contains up to 90 percent of released body heat. Plus, they can fold up into super small and lightweight packages that make them extra portable. And if you get stranded in winter while waiting for a tow truck or loved one to pick you up, your safety and comfort rely on staying warm.

You can find USB car chargers at pretty much any gas station, convenience store, or general store. The Max Boost Car Charger is an example that includes two USB slots for dual-charging. You can also purchase charging cables that include every connector type since many phones require a unique shape. With a power pack like the Jackery External Battery Charger, you can charge your phone even if your car is off or dead. But the power pack itself needs to be charged beforehand to be of any use.

Are You Prepared for an Emergency Situation?

Investing so much time and energy into emergency preparedness might seem extreme to some. But if you ever find yourself in an emergency situation, you'll be thankful for these car essentials. Plus, these tools will allow you to help fellow motorists if you ever come across someone in need of help who isn't as prepared as you.

Even though we encourage preparing yourself, it's important not to linger on the possibility of an emergency. With these car essentials at your fingertips, you can relax knowing that you have the tools necessary in case the worst happens. But until then, enjoy your car and the places that it takes you.


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