14 Items You Should Always Have in Your Car

5 min


The vast majority of us assume that our cars will reliably get us where we need to go at all times. However, to paraphrase an old and incredibly annoying adage: “Things happen.”

Getting caught in bad weather could cause a car to skid off the road. An unfortunate flat can be the result of a pothole. A driver’s day plans can be derailed by something as simple as a traffic jam.

Although it may be challenging to anticipate these problems, it is not difficult to plan for them. Here are 14 items that could come in handy on the road that you might not have thought of before.

Cooking Spray

Even though you’ll never use a frying pan while driving, it’s smart to have a can of cooking spray in the car, especially in the colder months.

If rain is in the forecast, get the spray ready and leave all your car doors open. Apply a generous coating of spray to the rubber door seals along the door’s frame. You won’t have to play tug of war with a door that has frozen shut overnight thanks to the oil, which will stop melting snow from sticking to the seal.


Kitty Litter

A cat may have nine lives, but your car doesn’t have any special powers. Rather than hitting the gas when you’re stuck in snow or ice take a bag of kitty litter out of your trunk and spread it in front of your tires.

The grains function similarly to gravel, providing just enough traction to get you back onto the road. The non-clumping kind provides the best traction and doesn’t get stuck in the tires.


Plastic Bags

In the winter, ice can be a problem both for driving and maintaining your vehicle. If you want to keep your windshield and mirrors clear of ice, it’s best to keep your car inside a garage or under a carport.

However, here’s a neat tip for drivers who must park on the street: To cover your mirrors, simply open some plastic bags and slip them over them. The plastic covering will prevent the majority of the ice and snow from sticking, making those cold mornings much more bearable.



Due to factors such as inadequate street lighting and poor night vision, nighttime driving can be risky. The last thing you need when there are so many potential dangers is for your headlights to be cloudy.

To help improve your vision when walking down the street, try using toothpaste. Just keep a tiny tube in the car’s glove box. If you notice that your lights aren’t as bright as they could be, put a little toothpaste on a cloth and rub it in to remove any buildup.

Note: Any toothpaste will suffice in a pinch, but white toothpaste containing baking soda will provide the best results.



Anyone who has ever shoveled a foot of snow out of their driveway knows that thick socks are a winter necessity. But did you know that your vehicle could use some help keeping warm as well?

Before a storm, raise the wipers into an upright position, slip a pair of long socks over them, and then tie a plastic bag around them. This will prevent the blades from collecting ice. Keep the blades lowered if the storm is expected to have high winds, as raising them to their full height can increase their wind resistance.


Duct Tape

This wonder product can fix anything, including your car in a pinch. Duct tape can be used as a temporary fix for a flapping fender while you make your way to a repair shop.


A Lighter, Empty Coffee Can, & Tea Lights

In the unlikely case that your car breaks down in the winter, a lighter, an empty coffee can, and some tea lights can keep you nice and warm and comfortable until help arrives.

Light the tea lights inside the coffee can. It should give you enough light and warmth to make it through four hours until help arrives.


Razor Blade

The glove box is the perfect place to keep a utility knife or razor blade. In a pinch, you can use a blade to cut through things like a can or a seat belt. Additionally, in the absence of a squeegee, some drivers claim that a razor can effectively remove bug debris from a windshield. Be careful not to scratch the glass if you decide to use a razor on it; that’s one cut that won’t get better.


Chalkboard Eraser

It’s frustrating and sometimes dangerous when your windows fog up. Keep an eraser designed for chalkboards in your vehicle’s glove compartment for streak-free interior cleaning.


Red Bandana

A red flag, or in this case a red bandana, can serve as a warning while a white flag has long signified surrender. A red bandana attached to your antenna will alert other motorists that you require assistance.

If your car breaks down in bad weather when visibility is low, that bright red spot could help other drivers see your car from a distance, even if snow is piling up all around it.


A Sturdy Trash Bin

A trash can serves multiple purposes, so don’t overlook its significance. For starters, having a solid trash can in the car can keep things orderly and secure, as it will keep water bottles from being a potential trip hazard if they are left on the floor.

In an emergency, you can use a trash can as a makeshift toolbox to carry around spare fuses and electrical components.


Spare Fuses

While modern vehicle electronics are quite sophisticated, they still rely on fuses to prevent damage in the event of an electrical overload. If you’re driving and the car’s lights, headlights, power seats, or other electronics suddenly stop working (especially in extremely wet weather), it’s likely a fuse has blown. If you happen to have some replacement parts handy, fixing it shouldn’t be too difficult.


Comfortable Shoes

If your car breaks down, it’s usually better to stay with it than to try to walk to the nearest gas station. If you must walk for help, wear sneakers or hiking boots instead of heels or dress shoes. You’ll have better balance and are less likely to be injured. Keep a pair of snow boots in the car from late fall to early spring.


First Aid Kit

While everyone is aware of the importance of having a roadside emergency kit in their vehicle, few people think to also carry a first aid kit. After all, driving on public roads can be risky. For yourself, your passengers, or a complete stranger on the road, having the means to keep someone safe until help arrives can mean the difference between life and death.


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