Continuing the series of posts with pieces of advice for new or perhaps existing car owners, we would like to share our list of 20 important items that are worth having in your vehicle at all times:
1. Tire pressure gauge
As mentioned in our previous blog post on the 10 important things to know about your vehicle regularly checking your tires is imperative for your safety and proper vehicle performance. Part of that maintenance implies regularly checking your cold tiers’ pressure. Although most modern cars are be fitted with TPMS systems that digitally indicate the tire pressure, a simple tire pressure gauge is easy to use and small to store just in case something goes wrong or your car lacks the feature. Consumer Reports recommends checking your tire pressure at least once a month and before starting on a long trip.
2. Jumper cables
Even new cars or in great technical shape can end up with a dead battery. Moreover, you may want to have a set of car jumper cables on hand to be able to help someone who’s less prepared. If you don’t already own jump cables, you should be able to find a decent set of battery jumper cables for as little as $20, if not less.
3. Bug spray
Mosquitoes and other bugs don’t announce their presence until it’s too late or you’re unprepared, and some can carry dangerous viruses or infections. So, be prepared before they land by applying mosquito and / or bug repellant to exposed skin and keep a bottle of spray in your car so you’re always armed.
4. Wet wipes
Parents and messy eaters don’t need anyone to tell them this, but moist cleansing wipes can run rings around dry paper towels for quick cleaning jobs. Additionally you can save some money by buying a larger size and tossing it in your glove compartment or trunk.
A flashlight is not only useful outdoors, but might be required for some roadside service inspections or other unwanted surprises in the middle of the night. You might find it useful during daytime also in order to peek into the crevices and corners of your car seats when an item or parking ticket inevitably slips away. Whatever brand of flashlight you go with, make sure to keep the batteries charged / fresh. When you need it you don’t want to be de-lighted.
6. Pen and paper
It’s easy to fall back on our smartphones to record important info, but sometimes old-school is best. You don’t want to take time for a phone to boot up when you need to take down the description or license plate number of the car that just rear-ended you and took off or in case you have to sign a bill while on the go.
7. Reusable bags
Many shoppers are used to bringing reusable bags to the grocery or drugstore these days as environmental concerns grow about single-use plastic bags — not to mention the financial benefit of it. But reusable bags also can come in handy for everything from hauling library books or Goodwill donations to collecting beach toys. Just note that in some communities, stores are not allowing customers to bring in reusable bags until the coronavirus pandemic is over.
8. Escape tools
Although the hope is you will never be in need of one, it is worthwhile for the safety of your car’s occupant and peace of mind, to keep an escape tool in the car if you are ever in need of one. You will want to have it at hand, whereby you could reach it you’re your driver seat, so the glove box is a good place to store automotive escape tools.
A handheld multitool can include such items as a can opener, small pair of scissors, screwdriver and more. It fits neatly in a car’s glove compartment or under the boot tray and can come in handy for a myriad reasons, from minor car repair to sawing open that ever-tricky plastic packaging that protects your new electronics purchase.
10. Phone charger / cable
As we grow ever more dependent on our devices and gadgets, making sure you can charge them whilst in your car is always something you don’t want to miss. Your car may have a port all ready for your charger, or you may have to use your cigarette lighter. If you want a charger that doesn’t draw on your car’s power, a portable power bank is also a good option so long as you don’t forget charging it in turn.
Rainstorms can be sudden and give no warning, so a pocket or regular umbrella that can slide into your glove box or in the truck of your car will ensure you’re not left all wet.
Depending on your climate, you might want to go for something extra-sturdy. Or, else, check out the other options of say storing a parka or raincoat instead / as well.
12. Ice scraper
If you live in harsher climates where serious winters occur, you will not regret investing in a good ice-scraping tool. You can find plenty of options available online pretty cheap.
13. Windshield wiper fluid
Windshield wiper fluid seems like a no-brainer, but it can also be an out-of-sight, out-of-mind item you may not think to carry. Meanwhile, in the wintertime, you can run out of fluid quickly when other cars keep splashing melty slush in your field of vision, so keep a jug in your trunk especially if attempting a long distance travel.
Whether work gloves or winter warmer-uppers, gloves will help protect your hands if you need to change a tire or make another minor repair in order to get safely back on the road. Should you ever find yourself stranded in below-freezing temperatures, you will appreciate our advice when your hands are warm and safe from frostbite.
Not every car has seat heaters, so a small blanket can fill the bill, even for a short ride to school on a snowy day. Blankets also have many emergency uses, such as keeping travelers warm in a broken-down car as they wait for roadside assistance.
19. Reflective Rain Coat or Winter Jacket
Once you’re caught on the roadside, at night, during rain, or wintertime, you will appreciate your prudent planning for the unexpected. A reflective rain or winter coat will not take a lot of space in your truck but will keep you safe and dry or warm when you need it most.
20. Water bottles
Thirst can strike you behind the wheel, especially on a long road trip. So a bottle or two of water can come in handy not just for drinking, but for everything from cleaning a small cut to rinsing off a pair of hiking shoes that are too muddy to put back in your car!