Stuff happens. It’s an unavoidable fact of life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t arm yourself in advance for unforeseen circumstances. Whether you’re driving across town or taking a cross country voyage, there are a handful of things you should never hit the road without. We are calling these vehicle essentials.
Vehicle Essentials – a checklist of top 11 most important items to have in your car
1) A spare cell phone and charger
By now you’ve upgraded your phone a few times and you didn’t turn in one of your old phones.
Did you know that can use that phone to call 911? You’re probably wondering why we’d suggest having a spare cell phone in this event, even if you’ve already got the latest and greatest smart phone. But the reason is plain and simple: cell phone batteries die and in the event of an emergency, you’re going to kick yourself for not having a fully charged spare around. Next time you upgrade your phone to a new plan, don’t throw away that old brick. Keep it in your glove box for emergencies.
Make sure you keep extra power cords available too. One of your existing phone and one of that old brick of a phone!
2) A flashlight
The stranded traveler’s best friend, a flashlight can save you from a number of things, not the least of which include falling down in the dark and inuring yourself. A good quality light can also save you from having to fork over a serious wad of cash on a tow truck if all you have is a flat tire and a fully functional spare. Consider also keeping a few spare batteries in your trunk so you don’t run out of juice.
3) Road flares or triangle safety warning frame (reflectors)
If you find yourself stranded by the side of a narrow road, flares and reflectors can ensure that approaching traffic is notified of your presence well in advance. If you’re not fond of flames, safety warning reflectors work well too.
4) A small hand shovel
If your trunk’s big enough, you can upgrade from a small shovel to a large one. Either way, it’s not exactly the worst idea in the world to equip yourself with something that you can use to dig yourself out of a sticky situation – whether that situation is the result of snow, mud or dirt.
5) Jumper cables
If you’re not sure how to jump start your car, get someone to teach you how. Don’t rely on a passing stranger to know what they’re doing. Keeping jumper cables in your trunk and knowing exactly how to use them can turn an all-night fiasco into a temporary inconvenience that can kick start a weak battery to life long enough for you to get to where you’re going safe and sound.
6) A can of fix-a-flat
This can be used to refill a flat tire in an emergency, provided that the tire hasn’t become shredded to the point of complete failure. If you use fix-a-flax, be sure to inform the mechanic that tries to repair your tire, as it can leave a milky residue inside that’s harmful if you get it in your eyes. If your vehicle has run flat tires, a can of fix-a-flat is not required.
7) A portable air compressor
Not exactly overkill (especially not when you find yourself in a situation where you really, really need it) a portable air compressor beats that fix-a-flat stuff hands down. Air compressors won’t repair a blown out tire, but it sure can come in handy if you find yourself 70 miles from the nearest gas station and air pump.
8) Basic tools: Utility knife, duct tape, simple tools
Because you never know when you’re going to have to strap your bumper onto your car or jimmy a loose muffler so it doesn’t scrape against the asphalt as you drive. Simple tools include a flathead and phillips screwdriver, adjustable wrench, pliers, and hammer.
9) First aid kit
First aid kits are available in all your major department stores and online. Having basic medical supplies will help with miner cuts and scrapes. Be sure to include pain relief medication too.
10) Water and non-perishable food
In the event you are stranded for a long period of time or have a craving for some food and drink, they are readily available and within an arms reach.
During the colder months, a blanket will keep you warm if you are stuck waiting for help.
Remember that a little preparation can result in a whole lot of relief, especially when the alternative is spending the night in your car in the middle of nowhere. Always follow this simple rule: Go prepared or don’t go at all.
Save upwards of 25% on
car repair and maintenance services with Openbay+