10 Items You Should Always Have in Your Car
Some of us spend huge amounts of time in the car. Whether it’s because we have a long commute to and from work, or that we have kids and other family members who always need shuttling from place to place every day of the week, car use is very often a big part of each day.
You never know what might happen during your day in the car, but you can always be prepared for just about any eventuality by having the following items in your car at all times. Hopefully this list of 10 items will at least get you started on thinking about items that would always be useful in your particular situation, so you can make sure to load those into the car, too.
Items You Should Always Have in Your Car
1. Car Manual and Paperwork
You never know when you might need to look up crucial information in your owner’s manual. It’s more useful than you think. You might think you don’t need it because “I know how the car works and how to drive it,” but do you? What’s the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle? How often does this particular car need oil and filter changes? If you don’t know, the manual will tell you.
2. A Pen
If you spend a lot of time in the car and just have to scribble something down, it’s infuriating when you don’t have a pen, pencil or some other writing implement to hand. When you’re at home, you can go and find one because there’s always a pen in the house. There won’t be one in the car, however, unless you put one there yourself. Keep a pen in the glove box, or in the central armrest storage area; anywhere that’s within easy reach when you’re in a hurry.
3. Jumper Cables
Putting these in your car should be accompanied with a quick lesson in how to use them. You can find great examples on platforms like YouTube and it’s a lot easier than you think to do a jump start. You never know when these will come in handy, either to have another car of a friend or helpful stranger jump start your car, or for you to help someone else in need when the time comes.
4. First Aid Kit
Accidents do happen and even if you haven’t been in a car accidents, things can happen when you’re away from home, on the road, or on a daytrip somewhere that warrants the presence of a first aid kit. You’ll always be glad you have it. You can buy pre-packaged ones from many chemist’s, like Boots, but also online on platforms like Amazon. You could also put together your own kit. Make sure it includes at least: antiseptic, plasters, gauze/bandages, hand sanitizer, safety pins, disposable gloves and tweezers.
5. Bottled Water
This is something you could keep in the boot of your car and out of the way, or perhaps a bottle or two in spare in-car storage spaces like the door bins. It sounds a bit like you’re offering limousine service, but having water in the car is beneficial for a number of reasons. It keeps everyone hydrated on long car journeys, of course, and if you’re broken down or stuck at the roadside for a long time waiting for assistance.
On top of that, though, it’s a good way to get your kids and other family members into the habit of drinking water instead of unhealthy fizzy or other sugar-filled drinks. It all contributes to their daily water requirement.
6. Blankets and Spare Clothing
It can get pretty cold in the UK during winter. If your car is broken down or otherwise stuck at the roadside and you’re waiting for help to come with no heating in the car, you’ll be glad you packed these blankets and additional warm clothing like jumpers, fleeces or spare coats. They’ll keep everyone toasty until help arrives.
7. Tissues, Wet Wipes or Similar
Another type of accident that inevitably happens when a family spends a lot of time in the car is spills and stains. When people are eating and drinking in the car, they will inevitably need tissues or napkins to keep their hands clean. There’s also the risk of spillage. Wet or antibacterial wipes are a good item to have on hand to clean up when things escape their containers.
A torch is another of those things that is useful when you run into trouble, especially at night. Once again, the winter brings dark afternoons and if you’re driving somewhere in the dark and run into an issue, a torch will help you examine the outside of your car to see where the problem is. It can also be used when to light your way when you’re looking at the car engine bay, or when you’re looking for something in the dark recesses of your car floor.
It’s true that most smartphones have torchlights on them now, but you can’t always trust that a smartphone’s battery is up to it, so keep a torch in the car just in case.
9. Non-Perishable Snacks
Similar to keeping water in the car, having snacks to keep kids placated during long journeys or when stranded and waiting for roadside assistance. You should choose things that won’t perish, and can just sit there for up to a few weeks while staying fresh and edible. You should also avoid snacks that are too salty or sugar-packed, otherwise they will defeat the health benefits of your in-car water policy.
10. Windscreen Washer Fluid
Finally, you should never leave home without enough windscreen washer fluid. It doesn’t matter if you just keep one bottle in the boot that you always forget about, having it in the car is a must. If you are driving behind a lorry for a long distance on a day after it’s rained, then you will be washing and wiping your windscreen almost continuously. That washer fluid drains faster than you think, so having spare on hand is a must.
Load Up the Car and Be Prepared
In the end, it’s better to have certain items in the car and not need them than the other way around. You don’t have to go overboard, but you’ll always regret not having had the foresight to predict situations in which certain items would come in very handy. Start with the above 10 items and the think more about what you might need in the future.