Must Have Items for Your Car Emergency Kit (A Checklist)

Must Have Items for Your Car Emergency Kit (A Checklist)

In Bugging Outby M.D. Creekmore

Must Have Items for Your Car Emergency Kit (A Checklist)

Most of us spend a lot of time in our cars, and I feel that it’s necessary to have an emergency auto kit aka auto survival kit in every automobile we drive in addition to our every day carry kits (EDC) and concealed carry handguns.

A handgun won’t be of much use when you need to change a tire, get you unstuck, or change a burnt-out fuse for a new one so that you can get your lights or wipers working and get back on the road and to your intended location.

One of the worst on the road breakdowns that I can remember is having a flat tire in winter with the temperature setting right a freezing with a mixture of freezing rain and sleet pouring down as I changed the tire.

By the time I had finished loosening the lugnuts, jacking up the car, finishing taking off the lug nuts, and then removing the flat tire, and putting the inflated spare tire on and snugging the lug nuts, unjacking and then finished tightening the lug nuts. I was soaked through and miserably cold.

It was, an awful (and dangerous with all the ice and uneven footing) experience… mainly because that happened years ago and I wasn’t properly prepared and didn’t have anything but a jack and spare tire.

Granted even now I’d not want to have to change a flat tire again in those weather conditions but even so, it would be a better experience if I do because now I’m more prepared and would at least stay dry because I have a poncho in my auto emergency kit and a change of clothes.

Below are lists of items for two different kits: the deluxe and basic. Choose the one that best fits your needs and budget also feel free to modify the contents list below to match your location and personal driving habits.

Basic Auto Preparedness KIT

❏ Duct tape
❏ EDC kit (your phone, knife, handgun, lighter etc.)
❏ Fire extinguisher
❏ First aid kit
❏ Fix-a-Flat
❏ Folding shovel (I love this one that’s on Amazon.com)
❏ Hand cleaner, waterless (e.g., GoJo)
❏ Jack and lug wrench
❏ Jumper cables
❏ Spare tire
❏ Toilet paper
❏ Water (drinking), 1 gallon

Deluxe Auto Preparedness KIT

❏ Change of clothes, depending on the season
❏ Rain Poncho
❏ Duct tape
❏ EDC kit (your phone, knife, handgun, lighter etc.)
❏ Energy bars or similar food
❏ Fire extinguisher
❏ First aid kit
❏ Fix-a-Flat can
❏ Flashlight and extra batteries
❏ Folding shovel (I love this one that’s on Amazon.com)
❏ Fuses for your vehicle
❏ Hand cleaner, waterless (e.g., GoJo)
❏ Hose clamps
❏ Ice scraper
❏ Jack and lug wrench
❏ Jumper cables
❏ Light sticks, two or three are enough
❏ Matches
❏ Motor oil, windshield washer fluid, engine coolant; 1 gallon each
❏ Road flares
❏ Sleeping bag or wool blanket (weight appropriate for the season)
❏ Socket set
❏ Spare tire
❏ 12-volt portable air compressor
❏ Special needs items: prescription medications, eyeglasses, hearing aid batteries, and items for infants if applicable (e.g., formula, diapers, bottles, pacifiers)
❏ Tire chains for snowy climates
❏ Tire plug kit (this one on Amazon.com is nice)
❏ Toilet paper
❏ Tools: flat-head and Phillip’s head screwdrivers, pliers, vise grips, and adjustable wrench
❏ Tow chain or rope
❏ Water (for drinking), 1 gallon
❏ Whistle
❏ Wire

Finding a place to store all of this gear inside your vehicle yet out-of-the-way can be a bit tricky depending on the type of automobile. My truck is a double cab with several different storage compartments including storage areas under and behind the seats, so it’s just a matter of placing items where they will fit (and remembering where each item is so I can get to it quickly if needed).

If you drive a car with a trunk then it’s easy… just organize everything neatly in a plastic tote (get one with a tight-fitting lid and preferably one that locks down) and secure it in the trunk of your car.

Vehicle Safety Tips (from ready.gov)

  • Keep your gas tank full in case of evacuation or power outages. A full tank will also keep the fuel line from freezing
  • Install good winter tires and ensure they have adequate tread or any jurisdiction-required chains or studs
  • Do not drive through flooded areas. Six inches of water can cause a vehicle to lose control or possibly stall. A foot of water will float many cars.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • If a power line falls on your car you are at risk of electrical shock, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
  • If there is an explosion or other factors that make it difficult to control the vehicle, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
  • If the emergency could impact the physical stability of the roadway avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs, and other hazards

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Well, folks, that’s it. If you have any questions, comments, and or suggestions then please post those in the comments section below…