12 Car Essentials That You Should Always Have with You

person driving a car

 There are people who keep their cars spotless and neat, and then there are others who stuff their cars with all kinds of knickknacks and paraphernalia. Whichever category you may belong to, there’s no denying that there are some car essentials that every car owner needs to carry along in their vehicle. In this article, we’ve curated a list of the 13 most useful car essentials in the market. Take a look at the products that made it to the list and see if you’ve got them stocked up and handy in your car.

1. Car Charger

A car charger is essential for keeping your mobile devices powered up during long trips or in case of emergencies. Look for one with multiple ports and fast charging capabilities to ensure that all your devices, from phones to tablets, can be charged quickly and efficiently. A charger with a long cable offers flexibility, especially for passengers in the back seat. It’s a simple yet vital tool to stay connected and access important apps for navigation or communication.

We Recommend: AINOPE 4.8A All Metal USB Car Charger

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Among tons of other car essentials, very few are as important as the car charger. The AINOPE 4.8A car charger features dual USB ports that enable you to charge up to two devices simultaneously. The charger’s compact cylindrical design plugs neatly into your car’s 12-volt power port and comes with a 2.1A socket as well as a 1A socket. Sporting an intelligent circuit design, the charger automatically stops charging when the battery is full and also protects your device in the case of a short circuit, under voltage, or over voltage.


  • Adequately long cord
  • Blue light to indicate connectivity
  • Moderately quick charging


  • Cord quality needs improvement
  • Fits into the socket loosely

2. Emergency Car Kit

An emergency car kit is a crucial component for any vehicle, designed to assist you in unforeseen situations. This kit should include items such as road flares, a tow rope, a flashlight, and basic tools. Check for kits that also contain a reflective vest and gloves for safety during nighttime breakdowns. Having an emergency kit not only provides peace of mind but also prepares you for handling most roadside emergencies.

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We Recommend: Lifeline AAA Premium Road Kit

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Always be prepared for the worst with the Lifeline AAA 42-piece traveler road kit. Neatly contained in a compact storage bag with handles, the road kit features booster cables (8′ long and 8 gauge), 24pcs of first aid aupplies, 15pcs of emergency supplies, flashlight. Ideal for summers, the kit contains almost everything that you will need in case you get stranded. The storage case is also large and roomy and can easily accommodate a few more items.


  • Great value for money
  • Portable design
  • Useful assortment of accessories


  • Jumper cable quality needs improvement
  • Mostly includes only basic items

3. First Aid Kit

A comprehensive first aid kit is indispensable in dealing with minor injuries or health issues during your travels. Ensure it includes various sizes of bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze, and pain relievers. Additional items like allergy medications, scissors, and tweezers can be very useful. Regularly check and replenish your kit to keep it well-stocked and ready for use.

We Recommend: Protect Life First Aid Kit

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No car essentials kit is complete without good first aid gear. Fully equipped with up to 150-pieces, the Protect Life first aid kit is a comprehensive emergency bag complete with high-quality medical supplies. The kit features items that you’ll need in the case of an emergency such as a CPR mask, an instant ice pack, some band-aids, an emergency blanket, a mini compass, and a few survival tools, among others. The storage case is compact and can be easily made to fit inside a glove compartment.


  • Fits into the glove compartment
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Useful assortment of first aid necessities


  • Items are crammed in
  • May be smaller than expected

4. Tire Inflator

A portable tire inflator saves you from the hassle of finding a gas station when you have a low-pressure tire. It’s a compact device that can be easily stored in your trunk. When purchasing, look for one with an easy-to-read pressure gauge and sufficient power to inflate your tires quickly. Regular use can help maintain optimal tire pressure, ensuring safer driving and better fuel efficiency.

We Recommend: Fix-A-Flat S60420 Tire Inflator With Eco-Friendly Formula

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Fix-a-Flat is another one of the most important car essentials to have with you, as it has the ability to fix a flat tire in seconds. Featuring a new and improved formula that is also eco-friendly, the Fix-a-Flat does not require any tools or hardware. All that you need to do to get your car back on the road is to connect the hose to the punctured tire’s valve stem and press a button. The tire inflator is completely safe and does not damage the tire pressure sensor system.


  • Great for emergencies
  • Reasonably priced
  • Handy and compact design


  • Plugged design cannot be reused
  • Tough to drain the fluid out

5. Tactical Flashlight

A tactical flashlight is more robust and powerful than a standard flashlight, making it a reliable tool for nighttime emergencies or car repairs. Choose a model with a durable, water-resistant design and a high lumen output for strong illumination. Some flashlights come with additional features like SOS modes or adjustable focus, which can be extremely beneficial in various scenarios.

We Recommend: Lighting EVER LED Flashlight

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The Lighting EVER LED tactical flashlight is among the many car essentials that can prove to be really handy when you’re stuck out in the dark. Luminous flux is about 140 lumen in full brightness. Equipped with a zoomable flashlight, you can stretch the head-pulling zoom to adjust its focus and get spot beam or flood beam you need. Crafted from a military-grade aluminum, the flashlight is rugged and durable. Powered by 3 standard AAA batteries, the Linkax is compact, pocketable, and also waterproof.


  • Bright light beam
  • Portable and lightweight design
  • Batteries included in the pack


  • May be tedious to switch between modes
  • No clear instructions

6. Jumper Cables

Jumper cables are a lifesaver when facing a dead battery. Select cables that are thick, have sturdy clamps, and are long enough to reach another car’s battery easily. A good set of jumper cables can mean the difference between getting back on the road quickly and waiting for roadside assistance.

We Recommend: CARTMAN Booster Cable 4 Gauge x 20Ft In Carry Bag

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Bestowed with resistance to extremely low temperatures, the 4-gauge Cartman booster cables come in a waterproof carry case for easy storage and transportation. With a maximum length of up to 20 feet, these UL-certified cables fit both top and side post batteries comfortably. The cables’ heavy springs help clamp down on the terminals and provide maximum grip and conductivity. To prevent short-circuiting or accidental contact, the clamping surface and the cables are adequately shielded. The unique T-Prene coating on the cables not only helps with flexibility but also prevents tangling.


  • Strong and durable clamps
  • Solid and heavy-duty construction
  • Comes with handy instructions


  • Bulky design
  • Quality control needs to be improved

7. Tire Pressure Gauge

A tire pressure gauge is a simple yet effective tool for maintaining the correct tire pressure, which is vital for safe driving, tire longevity, and fuel efficiency. Look for a digital gauge for easy reading or a traditional analog one for reliability. Regular checks with a pressure gauge can alert you to slow leaks that might otherwise go unnoticed.

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We Recommend: Accutire MS-4021B Digital Tire Pressure Gauge

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The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge is a nifty little device that can come in really handy when you least expect it. Ideal for cars without a dedicated tire pressure monitoring system, this gauge can help you find out the air pressure in your tires. Unlike other tire pressure gauges, the Accutire MS-4021B shows the measured reading for about 10 seconds before switching off. This gives you enough time to view and make a note of the pressure. The angled head of the gauge allows you to place it on the valve stem, irrespective of its position.


  • High degree of accuracy
  • Lightweight design
  • Holds the reading for around 10 seconds


  • Larger than average
  • Doesn’t work on regular batteries

8. Blanket

Keeping a blanket in your car is useful for various situations, from providing warmth during a breakdown to being an impromptu picnic spread. Consider a blanket that is compact yet warm, possibly one that is weather-resistant. It can also serve as an extra layer of comfort for passengers on long drives.

We Recommend: Simplicity Super Soft Warm Plaid Patterned Polar Fleece Blanket

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Ideal for cold weather, the Simplicity fleece blanket is absolutely a must-have when driving during the winter season. The blanket can help keep you warm if you’re out stuck in the middle of a snowstorm or a blizzard. Made from 100 percent polar fleece, the blanket creates a comfortable layer of insulation that will help warm you up. The blanket also includes a tie that can be used to compactly package it and store it away.


  • Soft and comfortable
  • Available in five different colors
  • Folds into a compact roll


  • Not very thick
  • May be a little on the smaller side

9. Duct Tape

Duct tape is a versatile and strong adhesive tool for temporary repairs on your car or gear. Its strength and flexibility make it ideal for a wide range of applications, from patching up a hose leak to securing loose items. Always carry a roll in your car for those unpredictable moments when a quick fix is needed.

We Recommend: Duck Brand 394468 All-Purpose Duct Tape

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There’s nothing that duct tape can’t fix. Therefore, carrying a roll of Duck Brand duct tape in your car can be really convenient should you ever require it. From fixing broken mirrors to bumpers, this duct tape works like magic to hold them in place. Specially designed to be able to tear away effortlessly, this duct tape can be easily split by hand without having it curl up.


  • Works on most surfaces
  • Tears easily from the roll
  • Thick roll at a low price


  • May not be sticky enough for some applications
  • Thinner than other options

10. Multitool

A multitool is an all-in-one gadget that combines several tools in a compact form, making it perfect for minor repairs or adjustments. When selecting a multitool, look for one that includes pliers, screwdrivers, and a knife at the very least. Its convenience and functionality make it a must-have in any car.

We Recommend: LEATHERMAN – Wingman Multitool


The Leatherman–Wingman multitool is an all-in-one toolset that features a pair of pliers, a combo knife, a pair of scissors, 3 different screwdrivers, a wire cutter and stripper, and a package opener, among other things. This multitool kit is compact and can be easily stored in your car’s dashboard or in one of its cubby holes. Made from high-quality stainless steel, the kit is highly durable and is guaranteed to last very long. It is also backed by a solid 25-year warranty.


  • Great value for money
  • Durable construction and finish
  • Useful set of tools


  • Tough to access the blade
  • Ruler isn’t very useful

11. Food & Beverage

Keeping non-perishable snacks and bottled water in your car is important for comfort and sustenance, especially during long trips or unexpected delays. Opt for food items that are high in energy and easy to store, such as nuts, dried fruits, or energy bars. Hydration is key, so ensure you have enough water for all passengers.

We Recommend: Spicy Penne Pasta MRE Meal

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Perfect for long drives through desolate areas, the Spicy Penne Pasta MRE is a nutrient dense, ready-to-eat meal with up to 1250 calories. Being an emergency food supply, it is designed to provide maximum nutrition and endurance. The package also comes with a flameless ration heater that enables you to eat hot meals wherever you are.


  • A variety of options
  • Package includes all essentials
  • Great value for money


  • Taste may not be for everyone
  • Cookies may be soggy

12. Umbrella

An umbrella is a simple yet often overlooked car essential. It protects you from rain or harsh sun when you step out of your vehicle. Look for a compact, durable umbrella that can be easily stored in your car door or under a seat. This ensures you’re always prepared, no matter the weather.

We Recommend: Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella With Teflon Coating

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Featuring an automatic open and close button, the Repel windproof travel umbrella can be easily operated one-handedly. When completely folded, the umbrella shrinks down to a very compact package that measures just 12 inches long. Equipped with 9 fiberglass ribs, the umbrella can also easily withstand moderate wind. The outside of the umbrella is coated by a layer of Teflon to help repel water from the surface.


  • Handy and compact design
  • Durable and heavy-duty construction
  • Easy to use


  • Fabric is a bit thin
  • Inadequate coverage in heavy rains


Before we go on to discover the 13 most useful car essentials, let’s first take a look at the answers to some frequently asked questions about these items.

1. What Are Car Essentials?

Car essentials are basically accessories and items that you need to have in your car, so you’re better prepared for any and all kinds of emergencies. While there’s no set list of essentials, there are certain items that are universally acknowledged as necessities to stock up on. Some examples include accessories that can help you in case of a breakdown or in case of an unexpected medical emergency.

2. What Are Some Essential Items Needed For Car Repair And Maintenance?

Car essentials that help with repair and maintenance are handy tools that can come to your rescue should you ever suffer from a breakdown. Some examples of car essentials that are needed for repair and maintenance include a spare tire, a tire inflator, a tire sealer, jumper cables, a pressure gauge, and even duct tape. A toolbox, of course, is an essential that you absolutely can’t do without.

3. What Are Some Items Needed For Safety And Security?

It’s always advisable to have a safety kit or two stocked up in your car for any untoward medical or other emergencies. Some items you could add to your safety kit include a powerful flashlight, spare batteries, a multi-tool, candles, matches, energy bars, instant food packs, a seat-belt cutter, a window-breaker, and of course, some water bottles. Aside from these items, you also need to ensure that you have a first aid kit handy.

4. How To Organize Car Essentials?

You could store the larger items like your safety kit, toolbox, and first aid kit in the trunk of your car. And if the back of the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat contain pouches, you could also store car essentials like maps and your car’s instruction manual in there. The glove compartment is another handy place to store some smaller items like a flashlight and some matches.

5. Where Can You Buy Car Essentials?

You can buy car essentials from online marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Costco, Home Depot, and Overstock. The advantage of online shopping is that you can get all your car essentials from one source. Alternatively, if you prefer to get a good look at your choices and inspect them before making a purchase, you could visit a supermarket or a departmental store to get your car essentials.

How We Reviewed

We spoke to several car owners and looked up many blogs and articles online to identify the car essentials that most people believe to be absolutely necessary. Having done that, we proceeded to pick the 13 most useful car essentials and prepared this list, in which we’ve reviewed each item and compared it with the others in terms of its features, its pros and cons, and its price range.

Overall Price Range of the Best Car Essentials

The price range of the best car essentials can be quite ambiguous as it depends entirely on the individual items. Nevertheless, it’s possible to put together a decent set of car essentials for a total of around $$$ or lower. Most items like duct tape, a flashlight, and a charger tend to cost less than $. Some essentials, such as a pre-assembled road kit, a first aid kit, and a versatile multi-tool may cost between $ and $$.

The Verdict

Based on our review of the top 13 car essentials, the Lifeline AAA Premium Road Kit comes out on top. Featuring multiple useful items that include a pair of jumper cables, an LED flashlight, and a first aid kit, this traveler road kit offers the most bang for your buck. In addition to this kit, the Fix-A-Flat tire inflator and the Leatherman – Wingman multitool are two other car essentials that you should always have with you.