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Car Emergency First Aid Kits: 15 Essential Items You Should Have in Your Car

Updated on July 8, 2014
A first aid kit is one of the many things you should have in your car at all times.
A first aid kit is one of the many things you should have in your car at all times. | Source

The Idea for the Emergency Car Kit

It seems more and more people are driving farther than they ever have before just to get to work. I know I was one of those people. I drove 80 miles round trip on my commute five days a week when I was working.

But, I love to drive. I practically lived in my car and it seemed I never had what I needed when I needed it. So, I sat down and thought about what I should keep in my car based on the things I had needed in the past.

The Auto Emergency List

In hopes of preventing frustration for other people, I wanted to share this list. Mine was much longer than just 15 items, but I had to narrow it down or this article would be way to long to read. This list is everything I have in my emergency car kit.

1) Jumping Cables or Portable Jump Starter

This one may seem redundant. How many times have you been told you should keep jumper cables in your car? These not only are beneficial for you in case you need a jump, but also for other people who may be parked in your vicinity.

Keep in mind, just because you have jumper cables doesn’t mean you have to use them to help someone else, although you should. The portable jump starter is a little pricey, but worth it. You don’t have to wait for someone to jump your car or for a tow truck to help you.

2) First Aid Kit

This is must have. Things like alcohol pads and gauze can come in handy for many reasons, not just injury related. For example, if you’re checking your oil and you don’t have anything else to wipe the dipstick you can use gauze.

You can buy first aid kits at most pharmacies and they range in price from about $2.00 to over $30.00. Just make sure the kit has the basics: band-aids, gauze, alcohol pads and an antibacterial ointment in it.

Also, keep a list of any medications you may take in the glove box, and have some extra meds in the first aid kit. If you have to take a medicine at certain times and can’t miss a does (or really shouldn’t) you’ll be glad you packed extra pills in case you have to wait for four or five hours. Just make sure they are in a bottle with the original pharmacy label especially if they are narcotic.

3) Fix-a-Flat

This stuff is amazing. I keep a can of Fix-a-Flat in my car at all times and the minute I use it, I buy a new one, because it's a lifesaver. Especially if you don't have a working spare tire.

Just remember to make sure the rim is off the ground before you drive it and make sure you drive the car immediately.

You need to drive for about four miles for the stuff to work its magic. You can actually drive on it for a long time after using it, but I’d recommend you get the tire fixed right away. I just use it to get the garage so I don’t have to get a tow.

4) Cell Phone Battery Charger

This can be the cigarette lighter kind, but you’re better off with one of the portable charging ones in case your car’s battery is dead.

My phone’s battery dies quite quickly so the minute I start up my car I plug it in. You never know when you’re going to need it for an emergency and it’s best to have a fully charged battery in case you have to make several phone calls.

5) Tire Gauge

If you don’t know how to use one, learn. You need to be able to check the pressure in the tires especially if you use Fix-a-Flat.

I check my tires about once a week since I tend to drive a few hundred miles every week. Keeping the right amount of air in the tires makes the car handle better and the tires last longer.

6) Extra Quart of Oil

This is especially important for older cars. My car has a slow oil leak that’s expensive to fix. I usually keep 2 quarts in my car and I check it frequently. One quart is sufficient in case your oil light comes on, but don’t drive it for weeks, get it in as quickly as possible. There’s a reason your idiot light came on.

7) Hand and Windex Wet Wipes

I use wet wipes all the time. Especially after using the pump at the gas station (come on, how many people have used that? Yuck)

But they are also handy for quick clean ups. The Windex wet wipes are awesome, and they aren’t as messy as the squeegee at the gas station.

8) Pen and Paper

With smartphones, one may think this is actually no necessary. But there may be a time your phone is dead, or otherwise inaccessible and you need to quickly jot down a note or two.

It might be insurance information, something you need to remember to do, or an idea for your next art project. Whatever it is, having paper and a pen handy can be very useful. Keep the pen and paper in the center console or glove box so you know where it is.

9) Books or Other Distraction

No this is not for reading while driving. This is in case you are on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck and get as anxious as I do.

Having a distraction will keep you from checking your watch constantly and make they time go by quicker.

It’s also handy to have a distraction while you wait for your car at the garage. If you have children, you should keep a few small toys or books for them as well. Kids hate waiting.

10) Visa $25.00 Pre-Paid Card

This is for emergency use only especially if you’re like me and live paycheck to paycheck. You can use it for gas if you don’t have the money or other unforeseen necessities like a gas can if you run out of fuel.

11) Flashlight with Extra Batteries or Glow Sticks

If you live in a rural area as I do, these are indispensable. If you are stuck on a rural road in the dark with a flat, you won’t be able to see because streetlights are usually limited if they are there at all.

Just make sure you have an extra, unopened package of batteries or get a hand crank one. A flashlight without batteries is just pure frustration. Glow sticks are a cheap alternative, but they don’t provide much light. You don’t have to worry about batteries though.

12) Swiss Army Knife or Other Multitool

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used mine.

You never know when you might need a screwdriver, pair of pliers, nail file, scissors or a knife. The bottle opener can come in handy too!

13) Blanket and/or Sweater

If you’re stuck out in the cold with a dead battery, waiting on the tow truck can get uncomfortable. Thermal blankets are a good idea if you live in an area where it falls below zero.

14) Your Car’s Owners Manual

I know most people keep this in the glove box, but I forgot to put mine back one time and I needed it for tire sizes. This has invaluable information in it and unless you memorize the book, you’ll need it at some point for reference.

15) Feminine Products

Obviously this is for women.

I keep a stash of tampons and a fresh pair of undies in a makeup bag in my glove box just in case.

It sounds weird, but you never know when you might have a rogue period show up. Plus tampons and pads can have a variety of functions.

Feminine napkins or pads can be used to to put pressure on bleeding wounds and are very absorbent. Tampons can be used to plug a hole or leak too. An extra pair of undies can be used for the same reasons.

There you have it, just a few things to make your stop on the side of the road a bit more comfortable. I hope these items will help with the anxiety you may feel when your car breaks down.

© Copyright 2012 - 2014 by Daughter of Maat ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Melissa, what a handy and useful list you have here for car emergencies. Voted up!

    • lucybell21 profile image

      Bonny OBrien 6 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

      Wow I have a regular size spare tire, an hydrolic jack, my jumper cables are junk now I think. My toolbox is in my bedroom. Ya I find I use it more around the house.I have a flashlight in my truck, but I think the batteries are dead. Humm this sounds sad. I guess I will have to get back on the ball. I think I have gotten lax when it comes to these things. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Daughter Of Maat profile image

      Melissa Flagg OSC 6 years ago from Rural Central Florida

      You're welcome Marcy! I know all these things have made my commutes much more relaxed because I know I have everything I need! I might do another list of optional things too!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 6 years ago from Planet Earth

      What a great list! This should be required reading for all drivers. Thanks for putting this together; I'm going to inventory my supplies right away.