Things You Should Always Have in Your Car

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There are certain essentials that you need to keep stocked in your car at all times, including important documents, repair and maintenance tools, safety items, seasonal necessities, and convenient supplies.
Whether you’re driving across town or across the country, you always want to be prepared in case anything goes wrong.
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Read on to learn more about the must-have things you should keep in your car.
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License, insurance, and registration

Though it may seem obvious, you should always have your license, registration, and insurance in the car whenever you’re driving it. These are all required by law for you to have on-hand in the case that you’re pulled over by law enforcement or are involved in an accident.

Owner’s manual

Your owner’s manual provides important information for your specific vehicle and can help if you ever have to troubleshoot or problem solve. If you misplace yours for any reason, you can usually find a digital version online!

Car repair information

Having your car repair records handy can be useful if you’re selling or repairing your vehicle, as they provide thorough documentation of your car’s history. This information can also help if you have to file any business expenses in relation to your car.

Repairs and Maintenance

Tire changing supplies

Nothing is as frustrating, or as preventable, as being stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire and no tools to fix it. Learning how to fix a flat is just as important as having the following supplies in your car at all times:
  • Spare tire
  • Tire iron
  • Tire jack
  • Lug wrench
  • WD-40
A shot of tire sealant can also be especially useful to patch a leaky tire on the fly.

Jumper cables

A dead battery can catch you off guard, and you can’t always rely on a good samaritan to have two sets of jumper cables to get you on the road again. They’re relatively inexpensive, and if you want to be able to get yourself jumpstarted, then an emergency battery booster might also be worth considering.

Duct tape

Arguably one of the most versatile tools you can have on hand, duct tape can help with everything—from unexpected cracks and leaks to securing loose items for a quick on-the-road fix.

Windshield wiper fluid

To prevent any potential hazards caused by rain, snow, or winter splash-back, always keep an extra bottle of windshield wiper fluid handy. Windshield wiper fluid helps keep your vision clear and the road visible at all times.
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First aid kit

You never know when you’ll need a first aid kit. Pre-made ones from the store are often inexpensive, but it’s also pretty easy to make one yourself. Make sure to include—at the very least—band-aids, ointment, gauze pads, scissors, medicine, and gloves.

Emergency kit

Like a first aid kit, having a roadside emergency kit can help get you out of a number of sticky situations. Pre-made kits can easily be purchased online, but it’s a good idea to have the following on hand if you plan on constructing one yourself:
  • Tactical flashlights
  • Reflective triangles and/or flares
  • Multi-tool
  • Escape tool
  • Water bottles
Key Takeaway Whether you buy one online or make it yourself, preparing an emergency kit can make a huge difference in keeping you safe on the road.


These items can be kept in your car depending on the time of year and what the climate is like where you live.

For colder weather

  • Blanket, winter gloves, hat: If you break down and have to wait for help, having items to help you stay warm can be the one thing standing between you and hypothermia.
  • Ice scraper and snow brush: Having one of these on hand will save time and help you avoid frost-bitten fingers. Be sure to brush the snow off your roof so it doesn’t hit the car behind you or obscure your vision.
  • Traction helper: Whether it’s carpet remnant, kitty litter, or sand, there are lots of options to assist you with slippery situations.

For warmer weather

  • Bug spray and sunblock: A must-have for the hot summer months! These are especially helpful if you get stranded or break down and have to wait for help.
  • Umbrella: keeping an umbrella in your car is smart, and will stop any unexpected rainstorms from catching you unprepared.

Comfort and Convenience

Cell phone charger

With the dependence we have on our cell phones, we lose our primary form of communication when they die. Keeping a charger in your vehicle is essential for both your convenience and safety.

Fragrance or deodorant

If you need to clean yourself up at the last minute, having fragrance or deodorant on hand can help you feel refreshed and ready to go.

Cleaning supplies

Having certain cleaning supplies in your car can help save you a lot of frustration in case any spills or messes happen. Keep these items with you for a cleaner and easier trip:
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Paper towels/tissues
  • Wet wipes
  • Car trash can/bag

Reusable tote bags

Whether you need to carry extra things around, make a run to the grocery store, or keep dirty clothes and shoes from mucking up your upholstery, having some reusable bags on hand is useful.

Affordable car insurance

Before you even hit the road, it’s important that you have an affordable car insurance policy.
That’s where Jerry can help you out. It’s this simple: download the Jerry app or go to In less than 45 seconds, Jerry collects all of your information from your existing insurer. Choose from competitive quotes from up to 50 top insurance companies and Jerry takes care of the rest—securing your new policy and helping you cancel your old one.
No long forms. No calling around. No hard work. Just savings. The average Jerry user saves $879 a year on car insurance.
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What should a teen keep in their car?

There are a number of items that every teen should keep in mind when preparing their car for the road.
  • Aux cord/FM transmitter: Having a way to connect to the sound system will help make listening to music or receiving directions ten times easier.
  • Extra snacks: If you’re running late to school in the morning, or driving around town with your friends, having your car loaded with extra snacks will make being on the road that much sweeter.
  • Air freshener: A definite must-have if you need to freshen up your car after practice.

What should parents keep in their car?

To try and cut down on as much stress as possible, there are a few items parents should always keep stocked in their vehicle.
  • Change of clothes: Kids will always find a way to get messy. Having a spare set of clothes on hand if they need to change can save you a lot of time and trouble!
  • Collapsible trash can: In the case of any spills or mishaps, this can help save parents a lot of clean-up time (and maybe even a trip to the detailers).
  • Activity books: If you need to keep your kids entertained, having activity books stocked up is a great way to keep their minds and hands busy (and out of trouble).
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