Car Emergency Kit: 10 Things You Need in Your Vehicle Before Hitting the Road

Car Emergency Kit

What’s in your go-to car emergency kit?

When you go on a road trip, camping trip, or on a long car drive—what supplies do you bring to ensure you’re ready for whatever comes your way? Having the right supplies can make all the difference if you run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, get a flat tire on a road with no cell service, or drive straight into a serious storm, among other potential emergency scenarios. Before we get into some of the most valuable things you can keep in your car emergency kit, don’t forget about seasonal needs and servicing your vehicle.

Top Related Article – Best Road Trip Tips

Car Emergency Kit

Seasonal Needs

Depending on the season, there are certain items you may or may not need. Car emergency kit experts recommend making separate kits for winter and summer. For instance, your winter car emergency kit should include a shovel and windshield scraper, while your summer kit depends more on sunscreen and bug spray. Keep seasonal needs in mind when planning your trip and car emergency kit.

Service Your Car Before You Leave

Before you escape town, take your car into the shop for routine oil change and regular maintenance. The last thing you want is to run into problems that could have been prevented by simply taking your car into the shop before leaving.

10+ Things You Need in Your Car Emergency Kit

Pack everything you need in a large clear plastic bin. This keeps things organized and easy to locate.

shackle hitch

shackle hitch1. Shackle Hitch

Are you towing cargo? Then you need Vault Cargo’s Shackle Hitch. This highly-dependable hitch can tow up to 10,000 pounds—that’s more than double the weight of a standard truck. While you can’t count on much, you can count on this Shackle Hitch to stand up to all kinds of wear and tear thanks to forged steel construction, and rugged powder coating that prevents rust.

Learn more about the Shackle Hitch

2. Spare Tire

Most cars come with a spare tire in back, but make sure your spare tire is ready to go before you hit the road. Additionally, make sure you have the tools (jack, lug wrench, flashlight, gloves, flat tire repair kit), as well as the know-how to change a tire if need be.

Speaking of tires, don’t forget to bring tire sealant and/or a tire pressure gauge, fix-a-flat spray and tow strap.

3. Lighting

Your vehicle is outfitted with all kinds of interior and exterior lights, but you may still require a flashlight or two during an emergency. Say for instance you need to fix something or change a tire after nightfall. Keep several different sized flashlights (headlamps, chemical light sticks, compact flashlights, emergency strobes) ready to go with spare batteries to boot.

4. Jumper Cables/Jump Box

If your car breaks down or losses power you’ll need jumper cables to get back on the road. But what if there’s no one around to lend their car? In that case, a pre-charged jumper box, which can jump your car without the use of another vehicle, can be a true life saver.

5. Extra Fuel

Bring along a pre-filled fuel container so if you run out of gas in the middle of nowhere you can simply fill up and go.

6. Flares

Keep flares and reflective triangles in your emergency car kit to safely fix your vehicle after dark, or if you break down around a blind corner. Flares can also help draw attention if you need outside help.

In addition, you may want to consider investing in a Signal Vest to alert others of your presence if you’re outside your vehicle after dark.

7. Tool Kit

Put together a bag containing essential tools you’ll need to fix something, such as screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, etc. Don’t forget to add duct tape and other handy accessories that can be used to fix something in a pinch. Other tools you might need include an axe, shovel, and knives.

Speaking of knives, there are several types of knives used specifically as rescue aids, such as the Fixed Blade Police Rescue Knife, which is made by Fällkniven and includes a serrated blade and tanto style blade. There’s also The Rescue Tool, which is made by Victorinox and can cut through seat belts and laminated glass.

Car Emergency Kit

8. Driver License + Insurance Information

Before you leave town, make sure you have your driver license on hand, along with your insurance card, and vehicle registration.

9. Plenty of Water & Food

Water is essential to life, so be sure and pack more water than you think you’ll need. You can also pack water purification tablets and/or a fire starter, that way you can drink water you find out in nature without fear of getting sick.

Don’t forget to bring along enough nutritional snacks to get you through several days without access to food. Energy bars, nuts, and dried fruit are compact and easy to store.

10. Basic Medications

aluminum jack stand

Headaches, heartburn and diarrhea can hit you out of nowhere. Travel with an assortment of basic medications and you’re prepared no matter what.

Other Important Items to add to Your Emergency Car Kit

  • An extra charger for phones, tablets, etc.
  • Jumper cables
  • Fuses
  • Gloves–at least 2 pairs
  •  Roadmaps—in case technology lets you down
  • Walkie-Talkies, CB radio
  • Fire starter equipment
  • Extra clothing and shoes + warm jackets you can use to layer as needed
  • Pen + paper
  • Sunscreen, bug spray, lotion
  • Plenty of towels and napkins
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