Best Car Emergency Kit Checklist

As the Boy Scout motto says, “Be Prepared”. The best car emergency kit is the one that you have in your car when you need it. Imagine yourself getting stuck on a country road during a snowstorm or having a flat tire in the middle of the night. What do you have in your car right now that would help you, if an emergency arises?

You can start today by stocking your car with items that you have and then create a plan to complete your kit over time. With a little planning and a few items in your trunk, you can turn a nightmare into a bump in the road.

Be prepared by planning and not only equipping your car but all of your family members’ cars. Even if you are not physically fit to change a flat tire or jump-start your car by yourself if you have the tools available you may find a good Samaritan to help.

Below is a car emergency kit checklist. Create your own kit or find a ready to go Amazon’s Ready to Go Emergency Kits. This is truly a priceless gift for yourself and everyone on your gift list.


Best Car Emergency Kit Checklist

1. Glovebox/Console Box

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Hand Cranked Flashlight Combo Cell Phone Charger
  • Plug-in Phone Charger
  • First Aid Kit – Bandages, Instant Cold Pack, Gloves
  • Grooming Kit – Nail clippers, comb, safety pins
  • Umbrella
  • Rain Poncho
  • Spare Glasses and Sunglasses
  • Spare Change
  • Emergency Phone Numbers
  • Seat Belt Cutter
  • Emergency Window Breaking Tool
  • Spare change & cash

2. General Items

  • Water for Drinking – or Washing Up
  • Cell Phone with Emergency Numbers
  • Include Your Emergency Roadside Assistance Member Numbers
  • Blankets & Plastic Garbage Size Bags

3. Entertainment

  • Music and Inspirational CD’s
  • Book or Magazine to Read
  • Binoculars
  • Paper & Pen

4. Trunk Kit – or Plastic Tote

  • A properly inflated spare tire
  • Wheel Wrench and Jack
  • Basic Tool Kit – Wire, Screwdrivers, Pliers, Hammer, Measuring Tape
  • Jumper Cables
  • Tire Pressure Gauge
  • Gloves
  • Reflective Triangles, Flares or Reflective Material
  • Reflective Vest
  • Bungee Cords
  • Duct Tape
  • Electrical Tape
  • Large Garbage Bags
  • of Oil
  • Cleaning Rags/Paper Towels
  • Small Garbage Bags
  • Paper Grocery Bags
  • Small Cooler
  • Spare Fuses & Bulbs
  • Optional – tire inflator.

5. Winter Emergency Car Kit Checklist

  • Snow Brush & Ice Scraper
  • Windshield Washer Fluid
  • Blanket
  • Kitty Litter or Sand – for Traction
  • Shovel or small container(coffee can)
  • Jacket, Hat, and Gloves
  • Change of Clothes
  • Walking shoes/Boots
  • Hand Warmers

Tips and Notes for Creating Your Emergency Car Kit

    • Keeping a cell phone charged if the car battery dies can be a challenge. If you keep a hand-cranked flashlight/cell phone charger in your car this would solve that problem.


    • Spare clothing for an emergency. I like to keep a spare jacket, hat, mittens, jeans, hoodie, walking shoes and socks in my car. Not only are these items good for emergency situations, sometimes you just need to change into clean clothes.
    • One time I was at a party and I accidentally spilled some red juice on my white pants, it was a stain that I couldn’t get it out. I was so lucky that I had kept a pair of old black jeans ready to wear in my trunk kit. I was prepared.
    • Garbage bags work well for a makeshift rain poncho, quick snow pants, blanket to throw on the ground if you need to get under the car, and they can help keep you warm during a blizzard.
    • You can fix many things with duct tape and wire coat hangers. Quickly repair any broken parts on your car that need immediate attention. Quickly tape a glass chip/break before it shatters. Make your own bandage or sling.
    • Use an old backpack for your emergency kit. If you are and about and find that you need to set off on foot you can use the backpack to carry your most needed items.
    • Blankets have several uses. One, of course, is to stay warm, the other is to throw on the ground to protect yourself when kneeling to change a flat tire or crawling under the car to make a quick repair. 

How to Change a Flat Tire

  • Take a few minutes now and get started on your emergency car kit. If you ever must leave your home quickly in an emergency like a Hurricane Evacuation you will be one step ahead with the car ready to go. Hopefully, you will never need it but if you do it is a great tool to have.
  • Know how to turn your flashers on.
  • Pullover the side of the road as far as you can. Set out emergency triangle reflectors so that oncoming traffic can see you. Call a friend or family member with your location. Call Roadside Assistance. Be careful with doing repairs along a highway, other vehicles may not see you.
  • Don’t forget an emergency car kit makes a great gift for seniors.

Leave a comment below with things that you feel would be essential for car/travel emergencies.

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