Whether it’s the middle of a freezing cold winter or a piping hot summer, you’ll need a few things in the trunk of your car in case of disaster in the form of an untimely break-down. So for those "just in case" situations, here is my list of the top ten things you need to stash in your trunk, and keep in your car at all times.
1 Spare Tire and Jack
Whether there have been signs that you need a new car or tire or even if your car and tires are brand new, it’s very likely that at some point, you’ll get a flat tire, one that you’ll have to change (gasp!) yourself. So make sure there’s a spare tire and a jack in the trunk, and that the spare is viable. Make sure you know how to take the flat tire off and replace it with the spare, too. It’s a lot easier and safer to check before you get stranded in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter…
2 Jumper Cables
You or someone else may also have a dead battery at one time or another. If you leave your dome light on by accident, or if something goes wonky with your battery or alternator, make sure you have a set of working jumper cables, and that you know how to use them properly.
3 Flashlight with Batteries
If your car breaks down or gets a flat at night, you’ll want a flashlight (torch), one that actually works! Make sure you have a good-sized light and that the batteries work, and, just in case, that you even have spare batteries for it.
If you do end up being stranded in the winter, you’ll be glad you have a blanket in your car. Also, the blanket can be used to lie on while changing a flat, or to put over the windshield to block out the heat in summer.
5 Water and Non-perishable Food
If you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere for any length of time, you’ll want to be sure you have fresh water and also some light, non-perishable food, too. Keep a stash of bottled water and some granola bars or at least saltines in your car, and replace them once or twice a year.
6 Change of Clothes
I always keep a change of clothes in my car for myself and for my little girl. You never know when you might need one, not just if you get stranded away from home, but also if you get an unexpected sleep-over invitation!
7 Extra Cold-weather Gear
It’s always a good idea to keep a hat, gloves, and scarfin your car in case you have to bundle up to do emergency repairs in the winter cold. Make sure the gear is warm, not just fashionable and cute, and that it fits you well. You may also want to keep an extra parka in your car, in case you’re wearing dress clothes when a break-down occurs.
8 Cat Litter
This may sound like a strange thing for a non-cat owner to keep in their car, but it’s wonderful when you’re trying to get your car out of a mud patch or even snow or ice. It also absorbs oil and gas spills. You don’t have to spring for the fancy brands, just the plain, non-clumping litter will do nicely!
9 Windshield Wiper Fluid
Is there anything more annoying than trying to peer out of one tiny clean spot on your windshield, because you ran out of windshield wiper fluid? Keep an extra jug in your trunk, and you’ll never have to deal with that hassle again!
10 GPS or Radio, Etc
If you can afford one, a GPS device is a fantastic idea. If not, invest in a small, inexpensive radio that doesn’t require power from your car. In the case of an emergency, cell phones may not be available, and you may not want to drain your vehicle’s battery life!
Now you’re prepared for any break-down, flat, or other disaster while on the road! You may also want to keep some road flares in your trunk, and one of those hinky orange reflective vests, to make you and your broken-down car more visible. What do you always carry in your car, and why? Do you have any other tips to share? Please let me know!
Top Photo Credit: tiffytography.
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