Basic Emergency Car Kit

On July 6, 2010, in Safety, by Securityguy

If you are like most Americans you spend a large portion of your time in your vehicle. So it only makes sense to keep your vehicle well maintained and ensure it has the necessary equipment to help you in a disaster or emergency.  I have spoken with numerous people who proclaim that tools and basic equipment are quite unnecessary in this day and age because they have AAA or some type of roadside assistance. All these programs are great and I have them myself, but the problem lies in that fact, that in an extraordinary event these services will not be able to assist you. As an example, some members of my family left the Houston area on I-45 and headed north towards Dallas to escape Hurricane Ike back in 2008. This trip typical takes around 3-4 hours; this time is took 24 hrs! See below.

Photo AP

Can you imagine breaking down in this mess without any equipment or tools on hand? Your only hope would be the kindness of a Good Samaritan to render you help.

Now that everyone is on board, below is a “basic” list of items that should be kept in your vehicle at all times.

• Jumper Cables
• First Aid Kit
• Water
• Tools
• Duct Tape
• Oil
• Coolant
• Spare Fuses
• Fix-a-Flat
• Flashlight
• Road Flares
• Fire Extinguisher
• Gloves
• Ice Scraper
• Money
• Chain or tow strap

Don’t forget to check the air in the spare tire and ensure the jack and lug wrench are where they are supposed to be. Also, don’t forget about that extra set of clothes that we spoke about in the previous post.

What equipment do you keep in you vehicle?

Security Guy

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21 Responses to “Basic Emergency Car Kit”

  1. cj says:

    you forgot chocolate!

  2. Michelle says:

    Great list, thanks… I shared to my fb page.


  3. LarryK says:

    Another great item is to get a tire plug kit, saved me numerous times. Many times if you hit a nail or screw, you can pull it with a pair of pliers, plug the tire and be on your way in minutes, without removing the tire from the car. The whole kit can be purchased for around 5 dollars. It does take a little strength to use, but less than breaking loose lug nuts.

  4. Sam says:

    Great reference. I was part of that effort back in 2008 in travelling north to Dallas during Ike, which took 24 hours as well, and know personally that any information in regards to preparation is extremely useful in just such an emergency.

    Of the 16 items you listed, I had only 10, or less, during that evacuation. But, as knowledge of specifics came about during that ordeal, I learned what to expect in just such an event, and consequently, have made adjustments to help alleviate those unforseeable constraints.

    Thanks for the information.

  5. Security Guy says:

    Sam, glad you made to Dallas with no problems. Running out of gas was one of the biggest fears during Ike!

  6. Security Guy says:

    I totally agree! Plug kit is definitely a tool you need on hand.

  7. Jim says:

    - Wool blanket or mylar space blanket
    – MREs or similar emergency ration
    – Hand-crank operated emergency radio
    – WD-40

  8. Lida says:

    It also depends on your climate or region. For example, the wool blanket Jim mentioned. Probably not necessary around Miami. There you might want something to keep yourself from suffering heat exhaustion.

    Keep in mind where you live and where you are headed when thinking about the risks involved.

  9. Burke101 says:

    A bracing block to keep your card from slipping when you have it jacked up.

    Map and/or GPS.

    Spare cell phone.

    Weapon, just in case!

  10. rtaylortitle says:

    What about a small generator?

  11. Tweet says:

    Pen/pencil and paper, as well as contact information of family/friends to be notified in case of an emergency.

    If you live up north you should travel with a snow shovel during winter months.

    What about one of those gadgets to cut your seatbelt/break a window in case of an emergency?

  12. ummm...yeah says:

    yeah a generator…and a refrigerator…and a bed if you get tired…and an extra car, you can just drive a way…and a spaceship, if things get really bad

  13. Lorenzo Poe says:

    Disposable coveralls, dried fruit, comfortable shoes (mine are hiking boots, I was caught once where we left from church with no time to pack. Walking 4 miles in my good boots was rough on the feet.)

  14. JPV says:

    A 12vdc air compressor, cans of fix a flat are not the greatest when cold from being up North in the winter. A 4 way breaker bar for removing lugs, those little ones that come with cars today are garbage. A small spool of mechcanics wire. My bug out bag. Current maps of the region that your in, how many people have maps that are 10 plus years old?

  15. Iman Azol says:

    You’re right, “ummm…yeah.” It’s hopeless. You should just kill yourself now.

  16. surviveTHEtimes says:

    1) spare gas can for sure! 2) map so you can take alternate route if possible.

  17. Glen says:

    a good compass and a small pair of binoculars and a good case knife.

  18. barefoot in MN says:

    a small shovel !!!!!! and something to function as TP. can be birch bark, rags, paper towels, real TP, etc… but this is a hygiene issue, not merely comfort. The shovel is to cover up the deposit. In a pinch you can use something else as a shovel: an ice scraper, a spoon, a stick, etc… but a shovel is nice. if you really clean it well, you can also bake supper on it over your campfire.

  19. Boots on in AZ says:

    All very good suggestions! especially the space ship!

    however, for the more realistic out there, the first step i would recommend would be to take a pen and paper with you, drive out in your car at least 5-10 miles from your home and/or a gas station and pull off the road and park. take the key out of the ignition and ask yourself this:

    What are some things that could happen to force me to pull over?
    What are some issues i would run into being stuck on the side of the road and away from any immediate relief?
    What do I need to get myself out of this and back on my way to my destination?

    this exercise will help you think about what you need locally in your area to either get your vehicle rolling again (even limping your car 10 miles is better than walking, especially here in AZ in the middle of the day this time of year).

    another thing to consider is layering what you bring along. I do this myself, for example

    1. the things that never leave my vehicle are:
    Jumper cables
    Tire plug kit
    Jack and tire iron
    Spare vacuum hose (about a foot of length)
    Gorilla tape
    small first aid kit for cuts and scrapes
    2 gallons of distilled water
    2 quarts of oil
    1 gallon of 50/50 coolant
    small 3/8 drive socket set metric and standard
    assorted sizes of adjustable wrenches
    cheap folding locking blade pocket knife
    cheap multitool
    cheap sheath knife
    an assortment of blade style fuses my vehicle uses
    2in wide 15ft long nylon strap with loops at both ends
    1/2in shackles for attaching said strap to my vehicle or another
    20ft paracord
    10 ft of baling wire
    1gal EMPTY gas can (it should be obvious why the can should be empty folks) with a $5 taped to the bottom of it
    1/2 lb of dry trail mix
    bag of sunflower seeds
    spare pack of cigarettes (i rotate it out weekly. until i quit, i’m much easier to be around as long as i can have a cigarette every few hours…)
    An Atlas of Arizona
    Notebook with pen and pencil
    Cell phone charger
    Cheap $15 dollar power inverter to 110v
    Spare set of clothes, i have a small bag with a pair of socks and underwear, a pair of jeans, T shirt, a button up shirt with long sleeves, a knit cap and a baseball cap and a pair of generic hiking boots (mix between sneakers and real boots).

    the above list does not include any kind of provision for dealing with snow because my area does not suffer from snowfall. however i do carry at least 2 gallons of water because it gets obnoxiously hot here in AZ.
    the items i carry, may not be absolutely necessary but not only will i get by, i’ll probably be in much better spirits if i’m stuck on the side of the road changing a tire or making a minor repair if i got some water to drink, something to snack on, a cigarette to smoke, some light on the subject if it’s nighttime, an ability to charge my phone and call someone to let them know i’m okay and i’m being held up if they’re expecting me, a fresh pair set of clothes to change into if i get messy/wet and i’m not miserable in wet socks and boots. Anyone will notice that i carry a lot of the same things the OP suggested.

    my second layer of stuff usually goes with me in my truck if i’m travelling more than 40mi from my home, especially if i head north includes
    2 extra gallons of water
    2 qt bottles of Gatorade (usually buy em when i fill up for gas)
    wool blanket (might not need it to stay warm in the heat of the summer but it makes great impromptu shade!)
    spare cell phone with charger (most people have one, especially those with GSM type phones with sim cards, this is a great idea if something happens and your break your phone but the sim card is still intact)
    Backpack to put some things in if i end up having to hike to help
    $100 bucks in small bills in case i end up somewhere that doesn’t take plastic
    Entrenching tool
    bug spray

    I think it should also be stated, that i have the fortune of owning a full size 1/2 ton pick up truck with an extended cab, 8ft long bed and a 2ftx4ftx18in locking tool box in the bed. i have a wealth of cargo space, but i keep the core of my ‘everyday carry’ items in a plastic 30gallon size locking tote behind my seat. it’s inconspicuous and easy to get to.

    My wife has pretty much the same in her car. everything i listed could be had fairly inexpensively with a trip to wal-mart or even big lots or some of the other ‘dollar store’ type places.

    Thanks to the OP for posting such an awesome list!

  20. Scott says:

    It’s past time to stop using foreign oil! Maybe we will always need some oil, but we just have to stop depending on Middle East oil. There are 3 fairly easy things that all of us can do now to make a difference. 1- Stop pumping gas into your car! If you have a gas guzzler now, convert it into an electric car (see this blueprint for example). No more gas! 2- Stop using electricity off the electric grid! Either build solar panels (like this one), or build a cheap magnetic generator (like this one). Not very hard! 3- Learn to bike or walk! If you are only going a mile to the shop, walk or bike there. My 2 cents.

  21. Say, you got a nice post.Really thank you! Much obliged.

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