Here at Show Finish, we try to help all drivers be as prepared and ready to take on the road as they can. Whether it is your first time behind the wheel, or you’ve been driving for decades and you know cars inside and out, it never hurts to have a guide to follow. That is why we wanted to put together a quick reference guide that points out some items that you should make sure to always have in your car. This list will cover multiple areas, including things you should have as tools, for safety, cleanliness, and fun!
First things first. We are going to start by going over some items that should be in your car that will help keep you safe. These are items you can stow away in your trunk or glove compartment and hopefully will rarely need to use. But in an instance where you need it, it is always better to be safe than sorry!
First Aid Kit – This one is pretty self-explanatory. A good first aid kit will contain multiple different sizes of bandages, alcohol swabs, aspirin or ibuprofen, and tools such as scissors and tweezers.
Road Flares – These could be the difference between being seen on the side of a road and not. By placing these along the shoulder (hopefully you made it there!) it allows other oncoming cars to see where you are and signals other drivers to slow down as they approach.
Spare Tire – Almost all cars come with a donut tire and it is usually found in the trunk under the mat. By having this tire, it allows you (or tow truck driver if you’re unable to do yourself) to replace a tire that may have gone flat and arrive at your destination. Do be careful as donut tires should not be driven on for more than 50 miles, and speeds should not exceed 50 mph.
Seat Belt Cutter – If you’re ever caught in an emergency situation and can’t get your seat belt off, this tool can make quick work of that and help you get out.
Window Breaker – This tool is primarily used if you have found yourself in a situation where your car is going underwater and you are still in it. As the car enters deeper water, the pressure will prevent you from being able to open the door or lower the window. By having this tool, it gives you an opportunity to get out. Many times, they are built in a two for one combo with the seat belt cutter.
Cash – This doesn’t sound like a safety item, buy it falls under the "better be safe than sorry" category. If your wallet or purse is lost, or cards declined, having $20 of backup cash can be the difference in you getting home / being able to get something you need or being stranded on the side of a road.
Flashlight – Another one of the situations where it is better to have this readily available than to not have one. If for any reason you are stuck after dark, this will be a huge help to get you back on your way as it lights up your jumper cables or tire changing adventure.
Keeping your car clean is a great way to maintain your car, but it also makes travel safer and more convenient. So cleanliness is important part of being prepared on the road. This is why we recommend keeping the right cleaning tools and accessories in your car every time you drive.
Waffle Weave Towel – Regardless of what kind of car you have, you’re going to want to wipe away any excess water after rain. Not only does it preserve your paint and make your car look nicer, it allows you to see better while driving. A waffle weave towel will help you to easily remove water and leave a streak-free shine on paint or glass.
Microfiber Detailing Towels - You’re going to want to keep a handful of microfiber detailing towels in your trunk and your glove compartment. Especially if you have little ones who frequently are in the car. Life happens, so whether it’s a drink spilling on your dashboard, or a child dropping his or her meal on the floor, you’re going to want to keep something handy to clean it all up quickly and efficiently.
Plastic Bags – We suggest keeping a handful of plastic grocery bags available as it gives you a place to throw out any garbage that you accrue on your drive. Also, it helps if you need to something to put various items in to keep them organized.
Sunshield – Some of these are made to fit your front windshield perfectly, but others are generic and fit many cars. On hotter days, the sun can do some real damage to your interior, and one of these will prevent that from happening, along with the added bonus of not having the inside of the car be a sauna when you enter!
Maintenence is paramount when it comes to safety and efficiency. Staying safe and saving money while you do it is a great deal. So we recommend keeping up with maintenece recommendations on your vehicle. We also suggest that you keep the following items in your car:
Jumper cables – It is not a good feeling to try to start your car and nothing works because the battery is dead. Batteries go for many reasons. The car hasn’t been started in a long time, something was left on while the engine was not running or just because it was old/faulty. Having these bad boys in your car is at least one tool that can get you out of that situation.
Tire Iron/Lug Wrench – This is the tool that looks like a big plus sign. As discussed earlier, a spare tire is something that can help you safely get to your destination in the event of a flat tire. To get the flat tire off and the spare on, you’re going to need this tool to do so.
Owners Manual – This booklet is one of the most important things to have in your car at all times. It contains almost every bit of information you will need to keep your car operating. In the occasion that something does go wrong, turn to this book first to see what information it provides and how to fix it.
When you go for a drive you don't need to be dealing with distractions or frustration. So keeping some items around for convenience can go a long way.
Phone charger – In today’s world, a person’s cell phone is sometimes more important to have on them than a wallet. Phones are used for virtually everything, so to make sure it’s fully charged you are going to need a wire and plug. These are usually cheap and can be bought almost anywhere.
Pens/Pencils – Always good to have one or two of these in the car in case you need it. I think it’s pretty explanatory what the benefits could be used for.
Facial Tissues – A car pack is nice to have in the case you’re under the weather or dealing with seasonal allergies.
Gum/Mints - After a meal, before a meeting, whatever the need, it’s always helpful to have some gum or mints readily available when you want fresh breath. It’s just as important to keep yourself fresh as it is to keep your car fresh!
Blanket – Not one of the most “needed” things to have in your car, but it’s certainly not the worst thing to have in there. If you’re ever stuck with the car not being able to turn on, it’s an easy way to keep warm.
Ice scraper - While on the topic of cold weather preparedness, this is something that only certain people will need. Once the temperatures start to dip, you’re definitely going to want to keep one of these in your car to help get your windshield clear and safe for you see on your drive.
Sunglasses – In case you forget to grab a pair, it’s good to have one ready to go in the car. On those sunny days, it will improve your vision and give you a safer drive.
In summary, this is a list that we feel can make your drive a lot easier, safer and more comfortable. Some are more applicable to certain people’s geographies, but some are also must-haves for anyone who owns a car. As always, be safe on the road and hopefully this guide can give you an idea of what you should keep in your car!