Some of us keep absolutely nothing in our car trunks, while others have enough packed to live in their cars for weeks. Somewhere in between is this list of things we think every car owner should always have on hand.
Things to carry in your trunk
- Duct Tape. Buy a good quality brand from a hardware store. Worth it’s weight in gold.
- A can of emergency tire repair.
- Small aerosol can of WD40
- Can of de-icer (if you live in a cold climate).
- Good quality jump leads at least 20 feet long and/or emergency battery booster.
- A old hand towel or half a bath towel.
- A box cutter with at least one new spare blade.
- A jack, wheel brace and most importantly the special key for security wheel nuts if you have locking nuts on your wheels. Keep this taped somewhere secure and visible because even AAA cannot change your wheel at the roadside without it.
- Plastic cable ties of various sizes. 6 small, medium and large.
- 2 gallons of potable water in a good container that seals well. Rainwater or soft water is ideal since you can use it in the cooling system or drink it in an emergency. Add two drops of household bleach to every gallon to keep it sterile. If you live somewhere it freezes in the winter then don’t fill the container to the brim, fill it to 90% full squeeze the sides of the container so that most of the air is squeezed out and put the top on. You can drink this water safely for up to a year in an emergency situation. During the winter, if you have the space, store the bottled water in the main passenger cabin of your car. You cannot drink or pour frozen water and the cabin is usually warm enough that it is liquid when you need it.
- A warm wool or similar blanket/throw at least 6 foot by 6 foot. (Can double up as a picnic or beach blanket)
- A Mylar Space Blanket. Reflects your body heat back towards you. With this inside the wool blanket you will be as warm as toast if you do get stuck and have to wait for rescue.
- Sheet of strong clear plastic 3 x 4 foot.
- Safety Glasses.
- Disposable gloves. Grab some free plastic ones from the gas station Diesel pump.
Things to have in your glove box.
- A mobile cellphone charger
- A glass hammer. Modern cars with toughened safety glass and electric windows can be difficult to get out of after a crash. The doors can be bent shut and if the battery has been damaged or disconnected the electric windows won’t open. A glass hammer is a useful tool to have in such situations but make sure you keep it INSIDE the cabin of the car. It is no good to you in the trunk.
- A flashlight and spare batteries for it.
I never carry a fire-extinguisher. Putting out a fire under your hood is difficult and dangerous and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Unless it was tiny fire inside the cabin that I could put out with my shirt or shoe. I would always get well clear of any burning vehicle and simply let it burn. Let the insurance company or the fire department sort this out. If you must carry a fire-extinguisher by law, or just feel safer with one, then the sensible place for it is by your driver’s seat, not buried in the trunk of your car. Make sure you know exactly how it comes away from the mounting bracket and how it works because seconds are vital when putting out a fire and you don’t have time to read the instructions.
I also never carry spare gasoline as it is very dangerous stuff to carry around in the trunk of a car (never under any circumstances carry it in the passenger compartment). Read your car’s manual and make sure you know how many miles you can drive with the empty light on before the car runs out of fuel. Usually you can do a good 30 miles on the light sometimes more. Good driving means you should be checking the dials on your dashboard regularly while you drive and filling up whenever you go below ¼ on the tank. If you just cannot get into the habit of filling up, or you pass by gas stations hoping the next station will be a 10 cents a gallon cheaper, then the gas-o-haul disposable fuel tank is a good, safe, space saving option. But carry it empty and only fill it up when you need it.
What else should you keep in your trunk? Post a comment below and let us know!