What should I keep in my car?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by jc0481, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. jc0481 macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2005
    Hello there and thank you for reading. I live in a place that has regular four seasons. It just snowed yesterday and today I think it's 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
    With that in mind what should I keep in my car?

    I have heard of different things throughout the years all from different people. I just wanted to post on here so I can get a better idea on what I need to leave in my car.

    I was thinking of going to Lowe's, Home Depot, AutoZone etc for a good car kit to leave in my car. I was thinking of getting a binder for my receipts. Basically maintenance receipts for my car. Right now I have a flashlight, blanket and ice scraper along with the usual spare replacement kit. I was looking into a tire inflation kit. Maybe I can just get that from my local Walmart.

    I was just wondering if anything else that I need to leave in my car. If you have any good recommendations for a car kit. I'm all ears.

    I also know the guideline about having less than 100 pounds in your trunk. If you have more your gas mileage will go down. So I will like to keep this under 100 pounds.

    By the way I just do city and freeway driving. No in the woods driving at all. Just church, work, errands and when I go out with my wife and visiting family.
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    A digital camera in case of accidents and jumper cables would probably be of use. Other than that I couldn't really help you, as I'm not a car expert.
  3. Rampant.A.I. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2009
    A change of clothes, some water, a jacket, and a pair of shoes wouldn't be a bad idea either.

    Plus road flares and a bottle or two of water.
  4. OutThere macrumors 603


    Dec 19, 2002
    In the winter you can carry traction pads...useful for getting out of tough spots.

    Consider as well: the more random and marginally useful stuff you carry around in your car the worse gas mileage you will get.
  5. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    A camera
    Jumper cables
    a blanket
    first aid kit
    misc. tools
    spare gloves & hat
    a smaller snow shovel
    GPS is your traveling
  6. Shownarou macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2008
    Newton, IA
    I would recommend a can of lock de-icer to keep at work.
  7. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    I do a lot of highway driving in the Florida heat so my car kit includes:
    - extra cloths (heavy shirt, long jeans, underwear, bathing suit, socks, cheepo flipflops)
    - beach towel
    - trash bags
    - Car emergency kit from Pep Boys (jumper cables, screw driver set, reflector, flares)
    - first aid kit
    - spare fuses and crank powered flash light in glove box
    - sewing kit
    -small briefcase sized umbrella,
    - fix-a-flat and a cigarette lighter powered tire pump
    - water proof matches
    - heavy duty duct tape
    - bottled water (32 oz)
    - and a football and tennis ball.

    And it all fits in a Winn-Dixie hand basket.

    You would need some deicers for locks and windows, a jacket and gloves, and fold up shovel.
  8. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I keep a window brush/ice scraper and a small shovel in both of my cars. I also don't let my cars get below a quarter tank of gas.
  9. nick1516 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2008
    One thing I haven't seen mentioned so far is a cell phone charger, none of that stuff would really help if your in the middle of nowhere and your phone is dead lol.
  10. abijnk macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    While that's a good one, I'd say the chances are probably that if you are stuck in the middle of no where it's because your car is dead. Thus, most of the survival stuff that people would suggest are for staying alive without immediate help.

    Personally, I keep an ice scraper, an extra set of clothes, and a car emergency kit that I bought at an Autozone (I think). It has jumper cables, a small first aid kit, a rain poncho, one of those silver thermal blanket things, a decent length of rope, waterproof matches, a can of fix-a-flat, and some other small stuff that escapes my mind right now.
  11. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    for me
    -a good pair of jumper cables. with nice thick wires. Most of those in a car kit are crap. They take for ever to jump a car as the battery has to be charged a little. Compare that to what I have in my car I can start my car or anohter car with a completely dead battery with out having to wait 10-15 min to charge up the other guys battery.

    - Flash light.
    -Spare tire (and tools to change it)
    -Tire pressure gage (simple yet very important)
    - A little cash/ coins

    In my last car I kept a can of inflate a flat. Great stuff if you get a flat tire. Only reason I do not carry one now is they can not be used on low profile or Z rated tires. My car happens to Low profile Z Rated tires on it.

    That is the critical stuff I think is always a good idea to have. For most things it has you covered if you get in trouble around home. Of those items I have used them all at least once but most of them multiple times.

    I carry some other things in my car at all time but it is not for safety or if I got in trouble but was because I have used them multiple times with friends for something to do when we are board.
  12. mwchris macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2008

    You read my mind!

    I see a lot of good ideas, but I think it has to do with 3 things: The age of your vehicle, where you live/travel, and individual comfort.

    1. Age of Vehicle - Let's face it most newer, regularly serviced vehicles break down as frequently as older, or less serviced vehicles. If you take care of your vehicle it will take care of you.

    2. Where do you live/ or travel? You mentioned that you are exposed to all four seasons, but you didn't mention where you travel, or what your commute is like. Naturally then you will either have a large kit, or have several kits that you rotate out with each season or for road trips. Switching, refilling, updating, the kit could all be part of your regular maintenance. For the items in the kit - see number 3.

    3. How comfortable are you with tools, minor repairs, etc. . . It doesn't do any good to carry a big tool kit if you don't know how to use any of the tools, or make minor repairs to a vehicle. For example I now a lot of people that have jumper cables, but don't have the slightest idea how to use them. (I always have a pair, and I've used them once - and it wasn't for my vehicle.)

    So with all of the above in mind the following is what I would/do carry:

    1. Cell Phone with car charger. As one poster mentioned it does not good if the vehicle battery is dead, so always charge it when you have the chance, even if it doesn't need it, and see number 3.

    2. Depending on where you live/travel - a Portable CB -while some will argue the effectiveness of a CB, every trucker has one, so you are bound to reach someone if your cell phone fails to work, and they are cheap. (You could also consider a HAM radio, but those require a license.)

    3. A battery powered jump starter/pump/back-up battery/flashlight. You can pick them up anywhere. They have a built in deep cycle battery that will last from 1 to 6 months between charges. You can get them with a built in air pump, flashlight and a cigg lighter port to charge your phone or power a CB. Jumper cables are useless without another vehicle - and if you have to help someone else why take a chance of running down your own battery?

    4. Food/drink - Non perishable food like energy bars and water.

    5. Blanket-clothes - Change these with the seasons, pack like you were going for an overnight.
  13. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    I assumed everyone had one already. Thats what I get, making an ass out of you an me.
  14. scottness macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2009
    Room 101
    A shotgun. Loaded, and in the passenger seat.
  15. Nugget macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    In 24 years of driving I've never had an emergency that couldn't be easily solved using a cell phone and a credit card. I'm sure it depends a lot on your climate and how rural your lifestyle is, but I have a difficult time imagining any situation where I'd need much more than that.
  16. greygray macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2009
    A jump start cable, torchlight, a paper map, toilet paper, first aid kit and 1 hot babe.
  17. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    Some oil
    Decent set of tool s(Socket set, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches)
    Kitty litter is also great for getting out of snow.
  18. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    I would also suggest at least one sand bag in the back, not only does the weight help with maneuvering in the snow you can cut it open and use the sand to get traction. (assuming car isn't completely dead and you are just stuck)
  19. VPrime macrumors 68000


    Dec 19, 2008
    London Ontario
    Unless your car is FWD, having a front wheel drive car and putting weight in the back is almost pointless (in the snow)
  20. Simgar988 macrumors 65816


    Jul 22, 2009
    Keep a good book or two. I was once stranded for five days I my car dying a blizzard and I would have loved a book. It would have made all the diffrence
  21. TheSVD macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    The Jolly Ol' Midlands, England
    wow, when i get a car, im definitely going to have more in there than i thought :O i hope you dont think any of these are overkill, they are all fantastic ideas! for me it would be:
    - Spare clothes, cause you never know
    - Entertainment - books, magazines etc
    - First aid/survival gear, always good
    - Camera for accidents, maybe for something to do sometimes? lol
    - Cell phone charger
    - Food, drink, a heat source also
    - Blanket, something to keep comfy while you sleep etc
    - One thing, which is why i read through the whole thread to make sure it wasnt posted already, is one of those hammer things that smash windows instantly if you drive into water! id consider having more than one of these in my car, as it would be quite a fear :|
    - sounds stupid, but pens and paper? might need to make a sign if you stranded, never know haha :p
    -fire making materials
    -can o petrol (or gas, for you americans ;) )

    right, now to fit all of this into a two doored hatchback :p haha :)
  22. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    Unfortunately, my wife isn't always riding shotgun with me.

    In cold climates, you should also have some kind of gas line antifreeze, like Heet, so it's available when it gets really cold, and perhaps window de-icer to quickly get the windshields clear while the defrosters are warming them up.
  23. IntheNet macrumors regular


    Oct 6, 2009
    AAA has posted guides of essential items to have in your vehicle at all times; trouble is these items are only recognized as essential if you breakdown and many don't bother with them until they need them and thus too late... A few I like to have...Spare vehicle key hidden in car; Extra Clothes/Boots/Hat/Gloves; Shovel; Basic Toolset; Compass/Matches/Multi-Purpose Knife; Gallon of Water; and a large roll of wire.
  24. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    A Krispy Kreme gift certificate to bribe cops with. You could keep the donuts themselves, but I'm not sure how good of a job old, stale donuts do at getting you out of tickets ;)

    I can't believe all the stuff you guys recommend having in your car :eek: I have a snow/ice scraper in my trunk, the spare tire and tools for changing it, jack (which came with the car), and that's it. I don't even think I have jumper cables, which is probably stupid on my part, but I have AAA so worst comes to worst, I call them and they send out a truck to jump me.
  25. covisio macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2007
    If you mean you want to leave a binder with your receipts in, in the car, then don't. Don't leave any documentation in the car in case it gets stolen.

    Really good things to have are:
    • Some rope or thick twine
    • A couple of bungees
    • Duct tape
    • Torch
    • Wire
    • Small tool kit containing at least: adjustable wrench, combi-screwdriver, knife of some sort, pliers
    • Latex gloves
    • Pen
    • Paper
    • Spare bulbs
    • spare fuses
    • Foot pump (or electric equivalent)

    Don't forget your brain. It might help to go on an introductory car maintenance/troubleshooting course. It's very easy to panic and give up when your car refuses to start, but usually it's down to one of a few elementary problems. If you sit back and think it through, very often you can trace the fault and fix it yourself.

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