26 Things to Always Have in Your Car

Need something for the car? Here's a list of items that you'll want to keep close by, from tools and emergency supplies to everyday convenience items.
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Taking your car out on the road can be an excellent way to escape the daily grind. Whether you're going camping and enjoying all the benefits of spending time in nature or taking a road trip to see friends and family, there are some car essentials you need for your travels.

This can range from sustainable camping guides for eco-friendly campers to everyday car maintenance necessities. Ultimately, there is a range of essentials you need to have in your to ensure safety, convenience, and efficiency in any endeavor.

Items for Car Repair and Maintenance

Car maintenance necessities are crucial to avoid situations where you’re stuck on the side of the highway. With the proper tools, you can quickly repair your vehicle enough to get back on the road or at least to the next service station.

Here are a few tools to keep in your vehicle in case of a breakdown:

  • Jumper Cables – This tool allows you to charge and start a dead car battery. If you get stranded, this accessory could be your saving grace. Consider learning how to jump a car battery.
  • Tire Pressure Gauge – Keeping your tires inflated is vital for the safety of all drivers and passengers. This accessory allows you to check tire air pressure so you can ensure whether or not it is safe to drive on.
  • Spare Tire – A spare tire is a car part every owner should have. You can use this tool to fix flat tires or replace blown-out tires.
  • Tire Inflator and Sealer – This tool could be a car's lifesaver. It allows you to fill the tire with air via an attached hose, making it easy to inflate tires in no time.
  • WD-40 This multipurpose tool can fix a variety of problems you may find in your house and your car. By storing it in your car, you can remove rust, unstick car locks, and much more.
  • Duct Tape – Duct tape allows you to repair vehicle cracks and dents. It can also be used for emergency car bandages in an accident.
  • Emergency and Repair Contact Information – It's a must to keep vehicle emergency contact information in your car at all times. This auto essential may help you quickly connect with vehicle mechanics and auto repair services in emergencies.
Couple looking at map sitting in the car


Though you may already have these important documents in your glove box, it's crucial to check before you go just in case. Car accident reports, car registration, and car insurance documentation are all essential. Without the proper documentation, you could end up with car insurance fraud charges, registration fines, or accident penalties.

Always remember to carry these documentation items in your car:

  • License, Insurance, and Registration – These documents allow other drivers and law enforcement officials to contact you should an accident occur. Without them, car accident penalties could be costly.
  • Owner's Manual – Your owner's manual should never leave your vehicle. You can use it to troubleshoot problems and make necessary repairs in a pinch.

Safety and Survival Items

Emergencies can happen even on the shortest trips. As a result, it's critical to be prepared for whatever may come your way, as best you can. From collisions to breakdowns, car safety items are vital to vehicle owners in case of an emergency.

These safety and survival items could be your saving grace in any car-related crisis:

  • First Aid Kit – For emergencies, keep first aid kit supplies for medical situations when emergency help may be lagging.
  • Multi-Tool – A multi-tool can be your best friend. This tool is handy and compact so you can fix minor car problems or cut seat belts in case of an emergency.
  • Flares and Matches – If your automobile breaks down at night or in a parking lot, you should have flares and matches on hand to notify other vehicle drivers. Stay clear of the car so you don't get hit by another vehicle and be sure you know how to use a flare properly.
  • Flashlight – A flashlight is essential for anyone driving after dark or during bad weather conditions. This can help you spot any damage, road debris, and accidents ahead.
  • Blankets – Blankets can keep car accident victims warm when waiting for medical help or when long repairs are necessary. They can also be helpful if you become stranded in your car due to bad weather conditions.
  • Non-Perishable Food – You may get stuck in your car, especially during bad weather. Keep some non-perishable food items on hand to munch on while you wait for help.
  • Water Bottles – Keep a couple of water bottles for hydration in your car at all times. Drinking water will help you stay alert and energized throughout your trip. Consider purchasing insulated vacuum bottles or on-the-go hydration water bottles to keep your water fresh and cold even on long trips.

Items for Convenience

Some journeys require you to pack a few car convenience items if problems pop up. These items will come in handy when you need them:

  • Maps – Even with the luxury of online GPS systems, maps can still help you avoid getting lost or find alternate routes if you don’t have service.
  • Cleaning Supplies – Dirt, mud, broken window glass, spilled snacks are just some of the trouble you can find yourself in. Keep cleaning supplies on hand so you can handle these problems and accidents with ease.
  • Mobile Device Charger – Keeping your car charger on hand can help you stay connected to your friends and family in case of an emergency.
  • Emergency Cash – Be prepared for emergencies by keeping a little cash on hand. Cash can help purchase supplies and pay for repairs down the road.
  • Change of Clothes – Make sure your vehicle is always supplied with extra clothing, so you can keep clean and presentable during road trips or if something goes wrong.

Items for Winter

Winter car travel can be dangerous for both you and your vehicle. Icy roads, hazy vision, accidents, car troubles, and breakdowns can be challenging to handle when you are stuck in the cold.

As a car owner, it's important to always include the following items in your car to stay safe on winter roads:

  • Windshield Wiper Fluid – Wiper fluid is the most essential support system for keeping the highway visible and your roadway vision clear throughout these unpredictable seasons.
  • Antifreeze – Winter travel can leave auto owners stranded if their engine freezes. To prevent engine freeze, you can purchase antifreeze and keep it on hand to prevent the water in your radiator from freezing for added protection.
  • Ice Scraper – It can be difficult to get car windows clear of ice and snow in cold climates. Keep an ice scraper on hand if you live in snowy or icy regions.
  • Items for Traction in The Snow – Tire chains are a handy tool to have if you often travel in areas where the roads are covered with snow. These car tools can help you gain traction on slippery surfaces, which will allow you to maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Winter Gear – Keeping winter gear on deck can make travel easier in snow-covered regions. Wear an extra pair of socks, layers of clothing, a hat, and sunglasses to stay warm when you are stuck waiting for repairs or trouble on the roadway.

Winter travel can be dangerous, especially if it's your first time preparing for winter roads. Keep the above car tools in mind to help you stay safe during bad weather or trouble of any kind during the winter season.

Ultimately, all of the above items are must-haves, making them car essentials for any automobile owner. With supplies for survival gear, car camping essentials, and convenience items on hand for every road journey, you’ll be ready for anything.

Group of friends at car with open trunk getting ready to sled