This is a list of items I have found that can help you save money long term on your car and help you be ready for an emergency. The Boy Scout Motto is “Be Prepared;” this has not left me. The first ten items are those that I believe that most people could benefit from. The latter set of ten, I believe most people could also benefit from, but these items are geared for those that enjoy the outdoors.
Ten things you should always keep in your car:
- Spare tire, jack, tire iron, PB Blaster
It turns out that when my parents got a slow tire leak, we realized the manufacturer has decided to save fuel economy and money by not including a spare tire and jack in the car. Instead there was a small tire repair kit. Take a look in your car and you could save yourself a major headache! A repair kit will not cover you in the event of a blowout. We picked up a spare tire (donut) from the local junk yard. If you live somewhere where they salts the roads, I recommend picking up can of PB blaster as well. Give the lug nuts a spray and let it set for a while before you turn them.
- Battery jumper
Now a days, you don’t need to find another car to jump your car. Instead you can use a compact batter jumper which also functions as a backup battery for your cell phone or electronics. Don’t forget to charge it every six months. I usually do this when I renew my insurance.
- Tire inflator and pressure gauge
I have been in a few situations where the tire just had a slow leak. A tire inflator would have been enough to get to the tire shop for a fix.
- Extra Security – Anti-theft stickers and alarm (Vibration alarm and/or Wi-Fi-based motion sensor alarm)
Keeping your car safe should be a priority. To slightly lessen the likelihood of it getting broken into, try putting anti-theft stickers on the windows. Also, I put a vibration alarm which goes off even with my car being unlocked without being disarmed. I just heard on a podcast about someone’s car getting stolen from the work parking lot with a master key. A loud beeping when unlocking the car would have probably been enough to ward them off. A Wi-Fi-based alarm may be helpful too if you have Wi-Fi where you normally park your car.
- Emergency supply kit with Zip ties, paracord, and Pocket knife
Zip Ties come in handy for a variety of needs such as a piece of trim that has fallen off or a muffler. Who knows what 550-lb test cord could be use for. And the pocket knife has few small tools on it that can come in handy.
- First aid kit – You never know when it could come in handy. Have pain relief medicine in there and inventory it at least once per year.
- Hand sanitizer – I keep a bottle in my driver’s side door.
- High visibility vest – If you do have do work on your car on the side of the road, at least you will able to be seen from afar.
- Blind Spot Mirrors – Makes it little easier to see what is around you.
- Dash Cam – This is a recent addition to my car. After hearing a horror story about someone being in an accident that wasn’t their fault and the other person going after them, I figure it is cheap insurance for a defensive driver.
Ten additional things for outdoors lovers:
- Emergency food and water/water filter
It can be good to have some extra food in the car for emergencies, especially if you or a love one gets hangry. Depending on the climate, extra water or a water filter might come in handy too.
- Toilet Paper, wag bag, and Shovel
Nice to be able to use the bathroom in a sanitary fashion if needed. The wag bag has a chemical powder in it that stops decomposition. It can be placed in the trash. Not only can you bury human waste with the shovel, but you can dig snow and even may be able to dig yourself out if you get stuck in the mud.
- – Emergency Poncho, umbrella, or tarp
- Work gloves – If you have to do some work on the car or if you live in a colder climate, these can really come in handy.
- Recovery Strap – If you get stuck, it is the safest way to get pulled out.
- Travel blanket – If you want to have an impromptu picnic or in case of an emergency, this blanket will suit you very well. Also nice if you want to have a picnic.
- Windshield crack repair kit – I have heard that one chip can span into a large one during the drive home. Save yourself the headache and fix your windshield on the fly.
- Fire supplies: Lighter, saw/hatchet and fire starters – I like to go camping, so having an ability to get a fire going in a flash is helpful.
- Pepper spray – For self-defense purpose, I would opt for this.
- Headlamp and batteries – It can be good have light while being hands free. I would recommend placing the headlamp and batteries in a plastic bag as batteries that are left in devices tend to leak. I use rechargeable batteries.
Let me know if you have comments or if there is something I am missing.