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How To Create an Emergency Car Care Kit

Have you ever considered creating an emergency car care kit for your automobile? Nowadays, most of us just jump in the car and roll. We do not often think about what can happen while we are out on the road. But, cars are machines, and anything can happen when we are out for a drive.


We might be working our way down a busy city street, or we may be cruising down a lonesome stretch of highway. Either way, it pays to be prepared. Assembling a basic car care kit for emergencies is one good step to take.

Nowadays people rely on technology to the exclusion of all else. “If something happens, I’ll just call someone.” Well, what if your phone is not fully charged when you find yourself stranded on the side of the road? What if you are unable to get a signal when your car mysteriously decides to quit running? What if technology fails to get you the help you need?

Having a basic emergency car care kit is not only smart, it is a simple and easy safety step to take. Your emergency car care kit does not have to be a huge, obtrusive mound of supplies taking up needed space in your vehicle. A large duffle bag and a few supplies can make your time on the side of the road much more pleasant—and safe—should the need arise. Most of the items you need can be found at your local department store:

• Bottled water (good for you and your car, if needed).
• Jumper Cables (a pair long enough to do the job in the majority of circumstances, 8-12 feet).
• WD-40 (you’ll be glad to have packed this if you run across a stubborn bolt).
• Electrical & Duct Tape (good for a temporary fix for hoses and other “if we can just hold it together until we get somewhere” situations—you can fix most problems with duct tape, as we all know).
• Flashlights and extra batteries (not a bad idea to get a flashlight with a distress flasher option, but not necessary).
• Camping shovel (these fold and do not take a lot of space; great tool if you get stuck in the mud or snow).
• Fuses (the right ones for your particular car, by the way).
• Screwdrivers (flat and Phillips-head), adjustable wrench, and pliers (regular and needle-nose).
• Wool blanket.
• Raincoat, gloves, wool socks, boots.
• Necessary fluids. These can include (in addition to the water we’ve already mentioned): oil, brake fluid, power-steering fluid, automatic transmission fluid, antifreeze—and don’t forget a funnel.
• Rags (for cleanups) and a towel (for you, should it be raining and you need to dry off when you get back in your car.
• Fire extinguisher.
• Road flares and an emergency road sign.
• First aid kit.
• Non-perishable food, such as granola or protein bars (don’t get something covered in chocolate or other coating—can get quite messy when they have been sitting in a hot trunk over time).

These items are great for a basic kit. If you are taking an out-of-the-way/off-road trip or just want a more extensive kit, you could add tire chains (learn how to put them on before you need to use them); additional food (don’t forget a can opener if you go that route); extra blankets; toilet paper; extra clothes; and sleeping bags.

Check your emergency car care kit at the change of seasons, and replace, add or subtract items as needed—this is a great time to check on your spare tire, as well.
What are some of your emergency car care kit must-have items? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!


John Goreham    March 13, 2014 - 6:52PM

I am a complete nut about this. Besides most of this stuff I actually have potassium iodide in all my cars. Google it. One alternative for those more carefree would be either the Blues Brothers' pre-road trip supply check, or the supply stop from From Me, Myself, and Irene.

Tim (not verified)    March 27, 2014 - 12:51PM

Jeez, waterproof matches.
In the desert, lite your spare for smoke.
In the tundra, lite a (oh, yeah) candle for warmth.