It can be difficult to know all the things to keep in your car. There are things you need if you get pulled over. There are other things you need if you have a flat tire. Plus, there are a whole different list of things you need if you’re driving with the whole family. To make it easy, we made a list of all the items to keep in your vehicle.

Emergency Essentials

Every car needs these items in case of an emergency:

  • Map – in case you get lose with no GPS battery
  • Spare tire
  • Tire Iron/Lug Nut Wrench
  • Jack – it’s recommended to spend the extra money on a hydraulic jack. These are easier to operate, faster, and ultimately safer.
  • Flat repair kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Swiss army knife – any type of all-in-one tool, or a separate tool box if you have the space
  • Flare gun
  • Window breaker
  • Seat belt cutter
  • Flashlight
  • Matches

First Aid Items For Your Car

Scrapes, cuts and other injuries happen on the road. Be prepared with these items:

  • Band-aids in various sizes
  • Thermometer
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Antibacterial gel
  • Pain reliever
  • Tweezers – great for splinters, etc.
  • Allergy medicine – this includes emergency allergy medication like EpiPens
  • Lip balm
  • Ace bandages
  • Gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Aloe Vera
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect bite relief pads or spray
  • Vaseline
  • Curved scissors
  • Saline solution – for eyes and wounds
  • Hand sanitizer

Maintenance Musts

Sometimes you need to do maintenance on the go. These items will help keep you moving, and prevent damage to your vehicle:

  • Car Manual – your vehicles manual will help with your various maintenance questions
  • Tire Gauge
  • Oil and funnel
  • Bottles of any fluids you know are leaking

Always Have These Items On You

There are certain things you always need when entering a car. These include:

  • Drivers license
  • Insurance – the copy on you can be on your phone or in your wallet
  • Money – you never know when you’ll need to pay for gas, a tow, repairs or even a snack!

Glove Box Necessities

Your glove box should always contain these items:

  • Copy of your registration
  • Copy of your insurance
  • Vehicle maintenance history
  • Napkins

Miscellaneous Things You Always Seem To Need

If you have a center console, these items are a good fit:

  • Change for parking
  • Sunglasses
  • Notepad
  • Reliable pen
  • Music – CDs, tapes, an aux cord, or bluetooth to hook up to your phone
  • Phone charger – you can often hook this up to an adapter in your cigarette lighter

What To Keep In The Trunk

Besides your spare tire, jack and tire iron, these are good things to keep in the trunk:

  • Extra pair of versatile shoes
  • Rain ponchos
  • Blanket – always be ready for a picnic or beach day
  • Towels

Children’s Essentials

If you have kids, these are must-haves in your car:

  • Age-appropriate car seat
  • Extra clothes – including socks and underwear
  • Warm weather hat
  • Cold weather hat
  • Entertainment – this could be anything like crossword puzzles, mad libs or car-safe toys depending on your preference

If your kids are babies or toddlers, keep these items in addition:

  • Food
  • Wipes
  • Diapers
  • Changing station
  • Disposable trash bags
  • Pacifier

Hygiene/Personal Products When You Need Them

Sometimes you need hygienic care after a car ride. Keep these items just in case:

  • Deodorant that doesn’t melt
  • Extra socks and underwear
  • Touch up products
  • Feminine products
  • Bug spray
  • Contact solution and holder
  • Floss
  • Mints
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush

Long Ride Kit

If you’re taking a long car ride, these are good things to have:

  • Water
  • Food – something easy to eat with long-term energy benefits
  • Pillow
  • Neck pillow
  • Blanket
  • Portable device for watching movies if your backseat passengers prefer

Cleaning Products For Your Vehicle

It’s good to keep your car clean. It’s easier when you have the right stuff! Here’s the cleaning products you should keep in your car:

  • Window wipes
  • Seat wipes
  • Dash wipes
  • Technology/screen wipes
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Miniature waste basket – you can find ones that conveniently mount in your car
  • Portable hand vacuum – if you have the room, this can keep your car extra clean

Bonus: Winter Kit

Winter vehicle essentials are their own category. If you live somewhere with winter, make sure your car has these items inside:

  • Ice scraper
  • Brush
  • De-icer
  • Extra wiper fluid
  • Tire chains
  • Kitty litter – can help with traction
  • Mylar blanket for every person in the car
  • Rubber gloves
  • Shovel
  • Emergency food and water

What To Do With Your Vehicle Essentials When You Get A New Car

Now that we’ve covered things to keep in your car, here’s what to do when you get a new car:

  • Transfer all your essential items to your new car. This gives you an opportunity to start fresh and have everything you need in an organized fashion.
  • Sell, donate or store repeat items. Your new car may have a jack, spare tire, etc. already. For most items, there’s no need to have extras. You can go ahead and donate them to someone in need or sell them.
  • Donate your old vehicle to Wheels For Wishes. Your unwanted car may not have much value to you, but it does to local kids! That’s right, your car donation benefits local kids through Make-A-Wish. These kids face critical illness and your donation helps to grant them wishes! Plus, you get the benefit of convenient free towing and a tax deduction! Simply call 1-855-278-9474 or fill out an online donation form to get started.