Important Things to Keep in Your Car Trunk Year-Round [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Duck Tape

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Duck tape is a very important item. It may be a very small thing to see, but it is very effective. Many times during travel, the side mirror of your car breaks due to a collision during traffic. So during this time, you cannot take your vehicle to a mechanic immediately.

Duck tape kept in your vehicle will help you at this time. Immediately affix the side mirrors to the vehicle with duck tape. Because it is strong enough, it reduces the chance of the mirror moving.

Personal Things to Keep in Your Car

Your car is your safe haven when on the move, so it's no surprise that it ends up accumulating some personality along the way. Here are just a few personal things for your car that give it that lived-in feeling:

  • Face mask – with the current global health crisis, you should never go anywhere without it.
  • A bottle of water and some snacks – for those longer road trips or even when running errands around town.
  • Emergency makeup – if you're a woman or a teenage girl (or even a metrosexual man), it never hurts to have a little bit of touch-up makeup on hand
  • Brush – always useful if you need to freshen up before a meeting

Items For Dog Owners

If you are a dog owner, this list of essentials will ensure you can keep your dog safe, secure, and comfortable during car journeys.

  • Poop bags
  • Dog leash
  • Health records and medication
  • A dog crate or harness to secure your dog. You can also use a dog car seat
  • Portable bowl and drinking water
  • Paper towels
  • Wipes
  • Dog blanket
  • Treats and food

31. A portable solar panel charger so you’ll never be caught in the middle of a dicey situation with a dead phone battery. I’m sure you can think of multiple horror films where this gadget would’ve been handy

Amazon Promising review: “Charged quickly, held its charge for a long time, the flashlight is VERY bright, and it withstood the water-resistance test when it fell in a stream while I was out camping. It’s a little slow to charge on solar, but does work. It’s best to charge at an outlet or electrical source.” —JL Get it from Amazon for $25.99.

11. A Sturdy Trash Bin


PROMOTED PICK Don’t underestimate the importance of a bin for garbage and other needs. First, a sturdy trash bin can keep the car neat and tidy, and prevent water bottles from rolling around on the floor where they can become a hazard. Also, in a pinch, a trash bin can double as a tote, keeping small parts and fuses organized for roadside emergency repairs. Get the Drive Auto Products Car Trash Can at Amazon for $13.99 .


3. Plastic Bags


Ice is one of winter’s hazards—both on the road and on your car. It’s always best to park in your garage or covered carport to help prevent ice from forming on your windshield and rear view mirrors. But for those who are stuck with parking en plein air, here’s a clever trick: Just open up a few plastic bags and slip them over your mirrors. The plastic covering will keep most of the ice and snow from sticking, making those frigid mornings way less frustrating.  Get the Ziploc Gallon Freezer Bags (60 Count) at Amazon for $9.84 Related: 11 Seriously Surprising Uses for a Ziploc Bag

Just For the Kids 

Keeping kids clean is nearly impossible so be prepared.

  • Extra outfits plus socks and underwear
  • Extra jacket or hoodie
  • Stroller for kids under 6
  • Sun hat for warmer weather
  • Beanie for cooler weather
  • Extra gloves – cheap ones ok
Babies require their own list of emergency must-ha

Babies require their own list of emergency must-haves.  Photo: Nasreen Stump

36. A tiny emergency kit for your glovebox that carries the important things including common, underrated items like a hair tie, safety pin, breath mints, and a makeup wipe

@annecate / Via Anne Cate is a woman-owned handmade accessory brand that makes simple yet unique gifts themed after city skylines, people, places, and things. The kit comes with a mini wallet (obvi): a hair tie, lip balm, two floss picks, a sewing kit, adhesive bandages, an emery board, two safety pins, two earring backs, a makeup wipe, two bobby pins, two mints, a deodorant wipe, a Shout wipe, a tampon, hand sanitizer, and pain relievers. Get it from Anne Cate for $22 (available in a variety of skylines).

Car Emergency Kit

In the event of an accident or a breakdown, its crucial to have a well-stocked car emergency kit. This checklist provides everything you need. It includes items for dealing with a flat tire or a flat battery – two of the most common automotive issues.

Also included in this list are items meant to increase visibility of you and your vehicle whilst at the side of the road. A warning triangle and high visibility vest is very important. Flashlights and spare change are items you might not think of, but which can be very useful.

  • Inflated spare tire
  • Car jack
  • Simple toolkit
  • Jump leads
  • portable battery pack
  • Fuel can
  • Duct tape
  • High visibility vest
  • Warning triangle
  • Flashlight
  • Some cash and spare change
  • Tire pressure gauge, inflation kit and sealant

This Roadside Emergency Kit contains most of the essential items required, but make sure you use the checklist. This item is often bought with a large car trunk organizer and a really useful portable car vacuum cleaner, to keep your vehicle orderly and clean.

Before leaving for your journey, always check that you have an inflated spare tire, repairing a flat tire at the side of the road is not always possible. If the puncture is minor, sometimes you can repair it using the sealant followed by the inflation kit.


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Lubricant WD-40 is a type of lubricant that is very popular. This lubricant is mainly used when you have to change the tires of your car. Using this lubricant on the old bolt of the tower, the bolts open easily.

It is not necessary that you use only WD-40, there are many such lubricants in the market. but this is the most popular and reliable one.

First Aid Supplies

Life with kids is unpredictable. Scapes and falls happen frequently so be prepared. Essential to any car emergency kit, I keep my first aid kit under the driver’s seat.

  • Assorted bandages
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Anti-bacterial gel
  • Pain reliever, adults and kids
  • Allergy medication, like Benadryl
  • Antacids
  • Eye Wash
  • Lip balm
  • Extra required medication
  • Tweezers

First Aid Kit on Amazon $33

Category 2: Emergency and Safety Equipment

Here’s a quick reference list of the items you may need:

  • First aid kit.
  • Emergency escape tool.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Flashlight
  • Multi-function tool.
  • Matches or an alternative fire starter.
  • Energy bars.
  • Water bottles.
  • Maps.
  • Reflective triangle.
  • Gas can.
  • Tire traction mat.

You could check out our guide to the best car emergency kits for collections of all the items you may need in one handy kit, or you can choose to seek out the pieces individually.

Let’s look at each item in detail to see what they are used for and why you should have them in your car:

First Aid Kit

You can buy a pre-assembled first aid kit for your vehicle. This will include a wide array of items to cover many different emergency situations.

Be sure to store this in an easily accessible location within your car, just in case you need quick access to it.

Emergency Escape Tool

We don’t wish it on anyone, but in case of an accident, you don’t want to get trapped in your vehicle. You need to have a tool to cut your seatbelt and/or break a window to get out fast.

Make sure you keep it where you can reach it easily from the driver’s seat.

Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is a must-have item since vehicles can easily catch fire during an accident, or if leaks and components failures occur.

We would advise to source one of the best car fire extinguishers you can find, always keep it within reach. Make sure to prioritize your safety and that of passengers, before the car.

Car Flashlight

Most modern phones have a light, but it’s still a good idea to keep a flashlight handy in your vehicle to cover the times You may be stranded in a dark, isolated place with a dead mobile phone!

Make sure it’s always fully charged. Keep spare batteries too if the flashlight requires them.

Alternatively, a manually-charged flashlight can be a great solution. These require you to manually wind a handle in order to generate a charge for power.

Multi-Function Tool

These are improved versions of the classic Swiss army knife. Depending on the situation, you may need a variety of tools.

The good thing is that multi-function tools are compact in size, contain everything from screwdrivers, pliers and a knife, to scissors and even spanners and tweezers.

Matches or an Alternative Fire Starter

Matches, a lighter or an alternative fire starter can come in handy, and not only to light a cigarette. You may need to keep yourself warm or signal for help.

Energy Bars

Hopefully, no matter the emergency you won’t be stranded for long, but it’s always better to have some non-perishable food with you in case no help reaches you for many hours or even days.

Energy bars and other such items can keep for a long time and come in handy if you’re stranded far from civilization.

Water Bottles

Water is even more important than food if you are stranded.

Experts advise keeping at least a case of drinking water in your trunk. You’ll be glad you thought of this beforehand, especially if the weather is very hot.

Local Maps

Even if everyone uses their cell phones now, you may be stranded somewhere with no signal.

An old-fashioned map will never leave you high and dry. Make sure to take a map of the local area you’re visiting.

Reflective Triangle

This breakdown tool is for when your vehicle dies on the side of the road, to alert other road users of your situation.

If you cannot move your car to a safer spot, put the reflective triangle down as per the included instructions. It should be far enough behind your vehicle to alert other drivers and prevent them from hitting your car.

Some kits come with three reflective triangles. They’re to be placed at 10, 100 and 200 feet from the rear of your vehicle for extra safety.

Gas Can

Gasoline is highly flammable, and its fumes are toxic. But if you’re driving very long distances in places where service stations are rare, you may need extra gas.

Just make sure the can is perfectly closed and doesn’t leak. Also, never keep it inside your car, not even in the trunk. The safest place is on the car rack on the top of your vehicle. This way, you will not suffer any consequences from inhaling gasoline fumes.

For standard car users though, keeping an empty can in your trunk is a good idea so you can hitch a lift or walk to the nearest gas station to get gas if you do run out and your vehicle stops.

Tire Traction Mat

Use it if your vehicle is stuck in mud or snow and the traction from the tires is not sufficient to move.

Just place it in the path of your tires to free your car. Don’t accelerate too much, a little bit of gas will be enough to get unstuck.

It’s also helpful to know that you can replace this with cat litter, sand or cardboard if in a pinch.

3. What to keep in case of a breakdown

There are few things more dispiriting than being broken down at the side of the road. Many insurers now offer roadside coverage so that you can call and get help for minor issues such as a flat tire or dead battery. Probably the most important of your car necessities is a charged cell phone, so that you can make that call.

If you don’t have roadside coverage, however, you may want to gather some items and keep them in a bucket or container in the back of your car, so that you can tackle any issue if you have a breakdown. Here are a few ideas of what to keep in the car:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flares and matches or a couple of reflective emergency triangles
  • Spare tire (consider replacing your donut tire with a full-sized spare)
  • Flashlight (check and replace the batteries regularly)
  • Tool kit (with a tire gauge, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers and a spare can of oil)
  • Waterproof tarp
  • Escape tool (one that will cut through seat belts and break windows)

Things to Keep in Your Glove Compartment

We have to keep a surprisingly large amount of documentation inside our cars, and there are not a lot of suitable places for it. However, the glove compartment is often overlooked, even though it is a great place to store things you need to keep in your car at all times. These include:

  • Your car owner's manual
  • Copies of registration and car insurance in the event of an accident or if you get pulled over
  • Car repair contact information or AAA card, also in the event of an accident
  • Vehicle maintenance history so that whoever does repairs on your car knows its history
  • Pen/pencil and notepad to take down any important information, such as the insurance info for the guy who rear-ended you
  • A personal phone book in case your phone dies and you need to make a call from a payphone, because who actually remembers phone numbers anymore?
  • Printed road maps, because technology can sometimes fail you and a good old-fashioned paper map might just get your where you need to be.
  • Work gloves to keep warm or protect your hands when doing DIY maintenance
  • A flashlight and spare batteries will ensure that you always have enough light in the event of a disaster, be it mechanical or medical in nature.

4. First Aid Kit

Whether you get into an accident, suffer a medical emergency, or need to help a passenger, a first aid kit is always useful. Buy a specially-designed in-car kit that contains everything you need, then keep it close to the driver’s seat for easy access.

To reduce your risk of getting into an accident, drive carefully and leave daring stunts for when you’re playing driving games at home.

Pack Just Like You’re Planning to Repair Your Car Here’s What You’ll Need in Your Trunk

Regardless if you’re driving in Los Angeles, driving in Chicago, or driving in New York City, these are some basic essentials you should always have around. Your car is not a storage or a warehouse, so there’s no need to overpack it with stuff that is not so useful or handy. Take a look at our checklist and make sure you have everything before you go driving around some of the most famous routes in the US.

Final Thoughts

We’ve seen that to be prepared for any situation when driving, there is a long list of things to keep in your car. You need to think ahead and pack them before they’re needed, so they can you help you in emergencies.

We’ve given you four main categories of items above, from vehicle repairs to safety and personal hygiene products.

We’ve also explained in detail when and how to use each item. We’ve got you covered in any driving related emergency, from basic first aid to extreme weather conditions.

Always better to be safe than sorry!

Some of you will likely have some more items in your car that you find indispensable. What do you always take with you that you cannot do without? Let us know in the comments section below. Also, feel free to ask us if you have any additional questions.

What to Keep in Your Car if You’re Driving in the Wintertime?

If you’re living somewhere where winters get very cold and snowy, you will have some more items to put on the list of things to keep in the car. Even if your hometown isn’t hit by blizzards, it’s smart to have these items in case you end up somewhere during winter weather. Keep an ice scraper or a snowbrush to clean your windshield. If you’re headed to a mountain or to a road that still has snow on it, keep snow chains with you. Winter tires are also a must, and cardboard or, even better, a carpet remnant can be helpful if you try to get traction in snow.

What should I check for when I buy a new car?

When you purchase a new car, you’re probably eager to get the keys in your hands and take off on your first exhilarating drive. But take a moment while you’re in the dealership to check that the car is running properly, all lights are working and there are no warning lights on the dash. Ask yourself, what should I keep in my car? The following items should usually be included by the dealer:

  • Owner’s manual
  • Spare tire
  • Floor mats
  • Spare key and/or fob
  • Copy of the warranty
  • Receipt for any payments you made
  • Paperwork for financing

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