8 Essential Items You Never Thought to Keep in Your Car

Everyone knows that you should keep a roadside emergency kit and a first aid kit in your car - those are common sense. But what about when the unexpected occurs and you find yourself in a sticky situation that can’t be cured with kitty litter and antiseptic ointment? Here are the most important things you never thought to keep in your car.

Drinking straws. Have you ever gotten a soda from a drive-through, only to realize half a mile down the road that the straw they gave you had a hole in it? You don’t want to try taking the lid off to drink while driving.

Plastic containers. Washed-out margarine tubs and similar containers are perfect for storing impromptu collections or giving water to the dog. They are also great for portioning out cereal, raisins, or other snacks when you have one bag of food but several hungry people.

Solar charger. These are readily available now and can be used to charge your cell phone, MP3 player, camera, and any number of other gadgets. This is very important if you find yourself with a dead phone battery and you can’t use your car charger.

Universal Phrase Book. This is an immensely helpful tool when you run into non-English speaking tourists who are hopelessly lost and need some help.

Plastic bags. These have a million uses: garbage receptacle, wet clothing holder, barf bag, seat protector, doggie mess collector, emergency umbrella, and (surprise!) even shopping bag for those unexpected yard sales. You can stuff a surprisingly large amount of them into an empty tissue box.

Chemical hand warmers and cold packs. You never know when you’ll be stranded and freezing or suffering from a sprained ankle. They’ll also work as last-ditch entertainment for long car trips, when your kids have gone through all of their toys and games and everyone is at the end of their ropes.

A shake light or two. There’s no worse feeling than reaching for the emergency flashlight that you always keep in your car only to realize that the batteries have gone dead. Shake lights work without batteries and are always ready to use.

Duct tape. This one should need no explanation. Duct tape can be used to fix pretty much anything.

Sure, these items will come in handy for minor emergencies, but how about if you encounter battery trouble, and the only way to restart your vehicle is by jump starting it? Do you know how to do it? If not, here’s how to jump start a car the right way.

4 Comments so far

  1. Joann O'Leary on January 8th, 2008

    great advice. I love the idea for the straw!

  2. None…


  3. Brian Cannon on December 2nd, 2008

    That same drinking straw can be used with a Bic (or other) lighter to ‘weld’ minor leaks in the plastic radiators of later model cars.

  4. Andreas on December 2nd, 2008


    nice tips. I’ve bought last week a shaker light for my car. Its annoying when u need the light but the batteries are empty.

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