What Tools Should I Carry in My Car or Truck?

October 06, 2022 7 min read

a collage of different items to keep in your car in case of an emergency including lighting devices, jumper cables, and a tow rope just to name a few

Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere when you’re driving your car. With that, your chances of going back on the road moving towards your destination may depend on the tools you have in your vehicle.

You don’t have to make a vast extension of your garage on your trunk. Just make sure you carry the following tools in your car or truck: safety roadside kit or flashlight, tire pressure gauge, portable tire inflator, a small shovel, car jack, jumper cables, tow strap, safety hammer, duct tape, screwdriver, and a ratchet and socket set.

These tools ensure your safety during driving emergencies, especially if mechanics are nowhere to be found. When your car or truck gets into trouble, the last thing you want is to have it stuck on an unfamiliar road.

If you’re pretty hesitant about keeping each item in your car, let this guide convince you of how each tool is absolutely necessary.

Female wearing a safety orange vest kneeling down tightening the lug nut on her vehicles tire at night illuminated by a FLEXIT Auto flexible flashlight

 

What Should Be in a Car Toolkit?

Your car should have a toolkit that you can use in emergencies involving automotive malfunctions or damage.

Try to plan every foreseeable situation, especially when you’re going for long drives.

For example, if you experience a flat tire, you can easily change your flat with a spare tire if you have a hydraulic jack in your trunk.

In the same way, you could ask for other vehicle owners to help you if your battery suddenly died on the road. It will be easier to confidently ask for assistance if you have jumper cables with you.

Basic Tools You Should Keep in Your Car

jumper cables

1.       Jumper Cables

One typical on-road emergency is coming out to a dead car whether it’s parked at home or out on the town. Most likely something got accidentally left on for too long like the radio or dome light and that drained the battery. In some scenarios, the only way to revive it is to have another car jumpstart it using the necessary cables. Hence, it only makes sense to keep jumper cables in your vehicle all the time.

tow strap

2.       Tow Strap

If your car is stuck deep in the mud, sometimes you will rely on other vehicles to pull you out. This is where tow straps are helpful. One end of the strap connects to the distressed car, while the other is connected to the vehicle that does the pulling. Just remember, the car in front the gas and the car in the back is the brakes. That way you keep as much tension on the tow strap as possible during the tow. You don’t want to be jerking each other around the whole ride home.

FLEXIT Auto Roadside Safety Kit

3.      Safety Roadside Kit (Warning Triangle Shaped light and a safety vest)

STKR’s Safety Roadside Kit is not your ordinary flashlight. It is designed to ensure roadside safety when you repair your vehicle.

The design includes warning hazard lighting on one side to warn oncoming traffic and work lighting on the reverse side to light up your vehicle for repairs. It also has a magnetic base, which means you can stick it to any steel surface for hands-free use.

Moreover, the safety roadside kit includes a reflective safety vest and the AA batteries necessary for the flashlight.

portable tire inflator

4.       Portable Tire Inflator

A portable tire inflator is used whenever you need to adjust the air pressure in your tire. Whenever one of your tires seems to be deflating or getting a flat, a tire inflator on hand will help you avoid any lengthy delays on the road.

A similar option is the Fix-A-Flat lineup of products that air up your tire and fill it with a temporary sealant. While this stuff can be messy, it can help you limp a flat tire to the nearest tire shop.

tire pressure gauge

5.       Tire Pressure Gauge

Tires don’t always look full depending on the temperatures outside, if you’re parked on an uneven surface, or if you just have a fuller load on the vehicle than normal. To make sure that the tires are doing okay it’s a good idea to keep a tire pressure gauge in the glove box or console. FYI, keeping the correct tire pressure will help maintain your vehicle’s fuel mileage.

small shovel

6.       Small Shovel

A small or foldable shovel is always helpful, especially if you get stuck in the mud or snow. Bring it along with some cat litter, and you can be assured to supply enough traction to keep your car or truck moving.

car jack

7.       Car Jack

When a tire needs complete change, it would be too challenging to replace without a car jack. Keep it close to your spare tire, or simply place it in your trunk. Especially if you are pulling a trailer and don’t want to rely on the tiny scissor jack that may or may not be standard on your vehicle.

safety auto hammer

8.       Safety Hammer

A safety hammer is used to break the vehicle windows open in extreme emergencies. You will only have to use this tool when there are no other ways to open the window, especially when the situation requires swift actions.

duct tape

9.       Duct Tape

You can use duct tape in countless multiple ways. For one, it can seal any cracks in your vehicle windows temporarily when you travel. Likewise, it can keep things in place, especially if your have plenty of baggage preventing them from flying away on the road. If you need to adhere something temporarily (or even semi-permanently) until you can get home to fix it correctly then make sure you have some duct tape.

screwdriver

10.      Screwdriver

Screwdrivers used by mechanics are treated like a stethoscope. It allows you to locate noise, creaks, squeaks, and rattles in the engine so you can quickly troubleshoot the problem. Most car projects will require at least one screw to be removed so they are a good tool to have around.

ratchet and socket

11.      Ratchet and Socket

A ratchet and socket set is a hand-held device that allows you to remove nuts and bolts on your vehicle. It lets you tighten or loosen fasteners on many, many parts of a vehicle. It can be used for almost anything from a tire change to changing out engine accessory parts roadside.

What Should I Keep in My Vehicle for an Emergency?

During emergencies, your main priority is safety. But if the circumstance does not improve, you may have to think about your survival at some point.

That’s why, aside from having the essential tools in your car or truck, you should also keep items intended for your medical and basic needs just in case you get stuck overnight in your vehicle.

tri-folding first aid kit with three main compartments full of first aid accessories

1.      First Aid Kit

Every car should have a first aid kit. It is a known fact that driving comes with the likelihood of accidents and injuries, depending on many factors.

When you acquire minor injuries, you can rely on your first aid kit to prevent any complications before you get to the nearby hospital. But, of course, it’s a different tune with major accidents.

Nonetheless, having essential first aid items such as gauze, different types of bandages, cleaning wipes, trauma shears, and more increases your chances and fast recovery.

Also, don’t forget to include medicines like pain relievers and antihistamines along with the antiseptic solution, cotton balls, a thermometer, and petroleum jelly.

BAMFF group shot featuring the 4.0, 6.0, and 8.0 models of tactical flashlights

2.      Flashlight

You should never miss including a flashlight when preparing your car emergency bag.

Flashlights don’t simply illuminate your area. It’s also a valuable tool for defense against any looming harm nearby. That is why you should only choose a reliable portable flashlight that provides high illumination capacity.

Check out STKR Concepts’ B.A.M.F.F. Tactical Flashlights. These innovative portable lights are designed with protection and high visibility function in mind. It also provides a broader range of illumination that covers even your peripheral vision.

fire extinguisher

3.      Fire Extinguisher

According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), one in eight fires put out by the fire department is a highway vehicle fire. Hence, it is not uncommon to experience sudden combustion of your car.

With that, the likelihood of salvaging what might be left is having a fire extinguisher. Otherwise, you will just have to wait for the fire department to arrive.

pile of blankets

4.      Blanket and Extra Clothing

You will need proper insulation if you’re forced to stay in your car overnight or when the weather is too cold. Otherwise, you will be taking the risk of hypothermia which can be fatal.

Therefore, always keep a thick yet handy blanket in your car. Likewise, extra clothing is also essential. It is best to prepare clothes that suit different types of weather.

camping food

5.      Food and Water

In emergencies where you have to stay in or near your car for a long time, having pre-packed food or drinks will help you retain energy while you wait for assistance. 

In a more dire situation, it could define your survival. Therefore, don’t forget to prepare ready-to-eat food such as crackers or other meals that don’t spoil quickly. 

Likewise, keep two to three liters of water to make sure you stay hydrated all the time.   

FLEXIT Auto flexible flashlight sitting in the road illuminating a white car that's pulled over with a female checking the rear tire

Summary

If you think about it, your car is like an extension of your home, which means you should secure the necessary toolkit and emergency items for just such occasions.

Driving without these essential materials, especially during long trips, is almost as risky as driving without sufficient gas.

So, to ensure that you’re always safe, make sure you have the complete list of the essential toolkit components in your car or truck. 

That way, in case an emergency pops up, you have every bit of chance to resume your trip or, in dire situations, to survive the danger that presents itself.

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