What Car Items Should You Have? | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

What Car Items Should You Have?

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An assortment of car emergency items that drivers should have.

Many people use their cars as a type of storage unit. However, your car lasts the longest when you keep it clean with minimal car items. Your car should only contain car items that can help you with emergencies and driving conditions. Use these recommendations for what you should have in your car that can help you on the road!

 

For Emergencies

With any type of emergency, you want to prevent them from happening in the first place. An example is avoiding running out of gas by driving the top half of the tank at all times. You want to always have enough gas to keep your car running and emergency items when you get stuck. Some emergency essentials to have in your car at all times include:

  • For the car: Keep spare change somewhere in the car. You can tuck bills and change under car seats, in hidden pockets or simply in the glove box. That way, you always have money with you in a bind or for time when cards aren’t accepted. Keep photocopies of your license and other important documents in your glove box to be used if you forget the originals. Work gloves (for roadside car work) and winter gloves are also smart to have.
  • For you: Keep a spare backpack in your trunk filled with emergency health items. This includes a spare change of clothes for winter and summer, old tennis shoes, medications inside a thermos, emergency food and water, travel documents and identification, toiletries and more. Have anything you would need if you were stuck somewhere for a few days. Always keep a first-aid kit, flashlights and batteries in your car. Matches, weather radios, camping items, and multi-tool items (such as a pocketknife) are always great.

 

Assortment of emergency preparedness food that can be stored in a house or car.

In the Winter

Always keep an ice scraper in your car to remove snow and ice. Keeping a second one with you allows you to remove heavy snowfall that prevents you from getting your scraper in the car. Drivers also want to make sure they have enough wiper fluid in their car to wipe away salt streaks that are common with melting snow on the roads. In a bind, keep some napkins or a cloth in your car that can work for wiping the windshield or mirrors if you must pull over. These come in handy for car spills and for wiping the seat down when it’s wet.

 

In heavy snow areas, it can be common to get stuck in accidents or on the snowy roads, especially during high-traffic times. In snowstorms, people could be stuck overnight in their cars, which happens in many areas. Prepare for those times with warm blankets, food and water storage tucked away in your trunk. These can be in your emergency kit. It may not be a bad idea to get snow tires on your car in the winter that you switch out with your regular tires in the off-season. Snow chains kept in the trunk can help for mountainous terrain.

 

Roadside Kits and Cleaning

Luckily, you don’t have to keep much in your car during the summer besides your roadside and emergency kits. You want to have actual car items for road-side needs such as:

  • Cleaning wipes for spills
  • A spare tire, car jack and lug wrench to change a tire
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Multi-tool pack that includes hazard triangles for the road and a reflector vest for you
  • Jumper cables or a jumping unit you can use without outside assistance
  • Flares for lighting or emergencies
  • Tow straps for getting your car off the road
  • Duck tape, cords and other items for quick fixes
  • Kitty litter and/or salt. The litter can be used to get traction in snow and to absorb odors from spills. Salt can be used to melt snow or to weigh down your car if it’s needed in the winter.
  • A cell phone charging adaptor or a charged portable charger
  • Weather radio
  • Fire extinguisher for emergencies

 

A man walking back to his car after setting out a hazard triangle behind his car.

Protection Is Important

Prepare your drive ahead of time by either mapping out your location at home or by using a GPS in the car that you can program. Often, Google Maps or the Maps app associated with your cellular device can take you on the best routes. Many cars come with built-in GPS systems or you can buy your own. Find out how to use that GPS system for navigation before you leave on a trip or for your commute.

 

Make sure that you are prepared for unforeseen events in case of a breakdown. If you have some form of protection on you, make sure you conceal it in the car for emergency use. No one wants to be broken down in a desert or somewhere unknown without a way to defend themself, if need be. You can also protect your car against vandalism anywhere you go by simply keeping your car clean. Always place valuables in your trunk when you leave your car. Never leave the keys in the car or the ignition, and hide away purses, electronics or anything of value. Keep a blanket or two in your car that you can use to cover items you don’t want seen or keep a sun visor in your car to block out the windshield.

 

Keep Car Items and Systems in Check

Even if you don’t have the right car items you need for an unforeseen event on the road, you can always reduce your risk for problems by getting your car maintenanced often. This should happen at least once a year, if not more when you drive a lot. Drivers should have their car service, oil change and maintenance about every 5,000-7,000 miles. You can be okay in any emergency if you stay prepared. Keep your car in working order and your car parts working by calling Scott’s Fort Collins Auto at (970) 682-4202!

 

 

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