Tire changing supplies
The number one item on our list is actually a collection of items – a spare tire, tire iron, lug wrench, tire jack and some WD-40. If you’ve got these essentials on hand, then you’ve got everything you need to change a tire should one go flat.
A dead battery can take you by surprise, so don’t rely on a good Samaritan to supply jumper cables.
You know, that book that came with your car that you never looked at? Keep it in your glove compartment. You never know when it might come in handy.
Tire pressure gauge
So your tire needs air. Great! You pull up to the air compressor at your favorite gas station, and… wait, how do you know when you’ve added enough air? Did you add too much? How lucky that you’ve stashed a tire pressure gauge in your trunk.
Sure, you can walk to the nearest gas station when you run out of gas, but then how do you get the gas back to your car? It’s probably not wise to keep a full gas can, though, given that it’s a highly flammable spill risk, and besides, you don’t want to fumigate your trunk.
Windshield wiper fluid
I have two terrifying words for you: Winter Splashback. I can say with authority that there is nothing worse than driving across Ohio in a snowstorm with passing semi trucks constantly kicking road slush up onto your windshield, and then running out of wiper fluid.
Heaven forbid your engine ever catches fire, or a campfire jumps its boundaries. But if you’re thinking of the giant, heavy wall-mounted fire extinguishers you see in schools and corporate stairwells, you’ll be pleased to know there are much smaller, more portable options on the market.
First aid kit
Taking a leisurely drive through a popular park one day with a friend, a skateboarder wiped out pretty badly, right in front of my car. (No, I didn’t hit her.) After slamming on the brakes, we jumped out to see if she was okay. She’d dislocated and possibly broken her shoulder and was pretty scraped up. We cleaned her up as best we could with my first aid kit before driving her back up the hill where her friends and their car were waiting, and ordered one of her friends to take her to an ER. Moral of the story: you never know when you’re going to need a first aid kit.
More versatile than staying dry while running from the car to your office door, an umbrella also makes a handy sun shade.
A car-adapted phone charger
Keeping a charger in my car is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My phone is always plugged in while I drive, ensuring that I have a fully charged battery whenever I arrive at my destination, even if I ran the GPS and Pandora the whole way.