Carrying too much clutter around in your car adds weight and increases fuel consumption. However, there are some essentials that you should keep in your car all-year round, as well as other important items that you should have to hand during the winter months.
Everyday Essentials to Keep in Your Car
Although modern cars don’t breakdown very often, you should be prepared for the worst. Safety is key if you’re unlucky enough to suffer a problem. So, you should keep a fluorescent hi-vis jacket with reflective trim in the car, to ensure visibility if you have to stop and exit the vehicle on a main road or on the hard shoulder.
It’s a good idea to have a torch too, so that you can look under the bonnet or can attend to a puncture in the dark. A torch with a magnetic base is a good choice, as it can be stuck to the side of the car to keep the light steady. If your car has a spare wheel – many modern models don’t – you should make sure that you have a wheel-changing kit, a jack, a wheel brace, the lock bolt for alloy wheels and a screwdriver for prising off trim covers. A basic toolkit for cars should include all of these items, but you might also want to add spanners and a hammer. If you don’t have a spare wheel, make sure that you have an emergency repair/inflation kit and ensure that you know how to use it.
It’s also a good idea to keep a cloth in the car for wiping the glass and mirrors. And of course, a first aid kit is handy for emergencies, as is a fire extinguisher.
Winter Essentials to Keep in Your Car
If you need to travel by car during the winter months, there are some important extras you should consider keeping in your vehicle. Even if you have breakdown cover in place, you may have to wait for a technician to arrive: it’s important to stay warm during the wait. Carrying an extra layer, in the form of a warm jacket or a blanket, can be very useful. Foil blankets, like those used by the emergency services are also available, and they are light and compact, so can be easily stored in the glovebox.
When driving during winter, make sure that you have a scraper to remove ice or frost from the windscreen and windows before setting off and a can of de-icer to prevent them from re-freezing. If your car is kept outside and doesn’t have central locking, a bottle of lock de-icer is also important – although it shouldn’t be kept in the car itself. A snow shovel in the boot can get you out of trouble if you get stuck, and collapsible versions don’t take up much space.
For longer journeys it’s a good idea to carry a top up for the screenwash – make sure that it has an additive to prevent it from freezing. You should also have something to eat and drink handy in the event that you get stuck: things like cereal bars and bottled water will keep for a long time.
Essential Items to Keep in Your Car When Travelling Abroad
If you’re taking your car overseas during the holiday season, you must consider the local requirements. In France, for example, it’s compulsory to carry a hi-vis jacket and a warning triangle in the car. You will also need a breathalyser kit and a set of spare light bulbs. And, if you’re travelling in winter, some countries may require you to have winter tyres fitted or to carry a set of snow chains.
Ensure that you carry the essential items mentioned above in your vehicle to prevent you from running into any problems while travelling by car.
For more information and helpful guides on all things motor-related, check out our blog or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- How to be prepared on the roads this bank holiday
- How to prepare your car for winter
- 13 essential car checks to do before setting off on a long drive