19 Things to Keep in Your Car, From Jumper Cables to Energy Bars AP Photo/Peter M. Fredin
AP Photo/Peter M. Fredin

Driving isn’t all fun and games. Owning a car can be great, but they do need attention and maintenance. Automobile maintenance can be extremely costly, especially when you rely on others. Don’t worry, Alt_driver’s got you covered with the 20 essentials that you need in your car to keep it looking good and running better.

Jumper Cables

Jumper cables are one of the best car essentials ever created. Whether you’re on a lengthy road trip or a quick drive to the grocery store, a dead battery is a dead battery. You can own a brand new car or a beater, but batteries live and die the same way. Forget to turn your headlights off, and you will definitely need some jumper cables.

Car Battery 

The next best thing after jumper cables. A quick swap and you’re ready to roll again.

Jump Starter 

Jump starters are for the pros who don’t need to flag down someone for a jump. Fast, efficient, and much less embarrassing than standing around waving your cables on the side of the road.

Cell Phone Car Charger 

Even if your battery life is great, this provides peace of mind. Make sure your car has a USB port for it as well, or it’s useless.

Tire Pressure Gauge

Let’s be honest, we can tell when something is up with our tires. The gauge is good to verify our sixth sense, though.

Tire Inflator

Sometimes you just need some air instead of a patch or complete tire change. This will save you a lot of time and worry.

Spare Tire 

Life is full of bumps and potholes. We make it through, but we’re bound to catch a flat tire or two along the way. A spare tire can save you A LOT of money on a tow, and it doesn’t need to be high quality, either.

Car Manual 

Ever wish your car could talk to you? We haven’t quite gotten there yet, but the manual in your glove box is the next best thing. Give it a good read, and, when a problem arises, you will already have a solution in mind.


First Aid Kit 

Sometimes, certain things require immediate attention — and we’re not just talking bathroom breaks. First aid kits are extremely handy, because accidents happen, and you never know when you may need an awesome-themed band-aid.

Water Bottles 

This seems obvious, but not everyone is accustomed to long drives or road trips. Picture this: You’re headed to a relative four hours away during a sweltering southern summer, and you hit traffic. Do you really want to be the person delaying the trip to grandma because you “needed” a slurpie?

Seat Belt Cutter and Window Breaker 

This may sound extreme, but accidents have been increasing in America, thanks to our beloved smartphones and the distractions therein. Some goof texting and driving could have your car flipped like a turtle on its shell in an instant. You could wait for help — because accident scenes are SO approachable — or you could help yourself and your passengers out of a sticky situation.

Paper Towels/Tissues 

I got one word for ya: “Achoo!” This one may not be an essential, depending on who you ask, but it would be pretty unsanitary not to keep a roll in your back seat, just in case. In the pandemic age, sneezes will clear a car out faster than beans.

Duct Tape 

My fellow beater/hoopty road warriors feel me on this one. Duct tape has saved many a side mirror and should not be underestimated.



It’s everything you could ask for from a tool. This can be your best friend, depending on the condition of your car.


Car Vacuum 

Did somebody say Cheetos? Car vacuums make car snacking almost a forgivable sin.

Cup Holder 

Everyone loves coffee…until it’s on your floor or lap. Do everyone a favor and avoid some gnarly spills.

Hand Sanitizer

You may want to look into brands on this one. Clean hands, clean car.

Insurance Card

Avoid accidents at all costs. Preparation is important, in case the driver behind you isn’t as skilled. Don’t get caught in an accident without your insurance card.

Energy Bars

You’re not yourself when you’re hungry. Keep an energy bar stocked to avoid road rage.

If you keep your car stocked with these essentials, you can avoid a lot of issues and enjoy the smoothest ride possible.

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