20 Things You Should Always Keep In Your Car

Some people keep nothing in their cars. Others look like a dumping ground that they’re squatting in.

It’s important to keep the right things in there so you’re prepared for a breakdown or emergency. Here’s 20 things to replace the old McDonald’s wrappers with.


We can’t always prevent breakdowns or accidents, but we can keep ourselves as safe as possible when the unexpected happens. Having these things on hand will help.

  • All Of Your Information – License, registration, insurance papers, car manual and roadside assistance information. You should always have these on you just in case.
  • Dash Mount — Preferably just pull over when you need to use your phone. But if you really need to, use hands free. Don’t be that person who breaks the law and endangers people for a text.
  • Multi-Tool — Everyone should have one of these. You never know when you might need a screwdriver, pliers or scissors. Not sure what to look for? We got you covered.
  • First Aid Kit — For minor injuries and accidents.
  • LED Flares and Reflective Triangles – For those night time break downs. It’s important that other motorists can see you on the road. These could save your life.
  • Torch — You can’t always rely on your phone. Don’t forget the spare batteries too!
  • Map — You can’t always rely on technology either. Keep a comprehensive road or travel map of Australia in your glove box just in case. This is really helpful if you’re going on a road trip.
  • Food and Water — Opt for things that travel well and last awhile like nuts, muesli bars, jerky and dried fruit. Alternatively, you could take it to survivalist levels. Also, be really careful not to get distracted while eating in a car.
  • Phone Charger and Power Bank – Always keep a spare or two of each.


Car trouble is awful. Nobody likes being stranded on the side of the road. Here are some items that will help get you back on track quicker.

  • Spare Tyre that’s in good condition with enough tread and pressure. Also keep a tyre changing kit on hand and learn how to change a tyre. Tyre inflaters and sealers are also a good idea to help temporarily patch up flats.
  • Jumper Cables because most of us will need to deal with a flat battery at some point. Leads can help you get back on the road faster, just make sure that you know what you’re doing. No other cars handy, you can jump start cars with a self-starting battery.
  • Car Tool Kit – Similar to your home tool kit, but specifically for cars. Super, super handy.
  • Coolant – You should always make sure that your fluids (engine oil, water, transmission, coolants, brakes, power steering) are topped up. But it’s also worth keeping coolant and water on hand in case your engine ever overheats.

There are also plenty of other things you should also do to maintain your car and prevent mishaps from occurring.


You don’t have to just prep your car for the worst. Some things and worth keeping on hand because they’ll simply make your life easier.

  • Umbrella – Getting caught without an umbrella is awful. Always keep one in the car, and make sure it’s good quality.
  • Spare Clothes — Perfect for when you’ve gotten drenched or an unexpected but necessary wardrobe change. Also, always keep a jacket in the back seat.
  • Refillable Water Bottle – Even when you’re not in an emergency situation it’s always good to stay hydrated.
  • Toilet Paper – You never know. Road side bathrooms can’t be trusted.
  • Towel – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was right when it said that a towel “…is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly because it has great practical value.” Between impromptu beach trips, unexpected rain, spillages or even car trouble — a towel will always come in handy.
  • Pillow and Blanket – Whether you’re waiting for roadside assistance or having a post party power nap, these are always a good idea. You might even want to opt for this travel pillow alternative for remaining upright.
  • Cash — No everywhere takes card and cardless withdrawals aren’t always an option. It can help to have some cold hard cash on hand, especially for those nightmare moments when your credit card gets lost or stops working.


For any parents out there, spare batteries (or maybe even more USB cables) for in-car gadgets can be a sanity saver. As can a secret stash of disposable nappies. If you have fur-babies, it’s always handy to have a portable water bowl on hand too.

This story was originally published on January 27, 2017.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


10 responses to “20 Things You Should Always Keep In Your Car”