What Is in Your Car Emergency Kit?

I had an annoying battery failure this morning (accidentally left headlights on) which caused me some hassle.

I only have 1 set of jumper cables…they were in my wife's car and she had already left for work. I went across to the 1st nearby mechanic that was open at the time, and borrowed cables. I used my mother-in-laws car (she happened to be staying with us for a couple weeks) and tried to jump start the car. No luck. I reset the cables and tried again. Still no luck. I then went back to the mechanic to buy a new battery. He gave me the battery for free but obviously needed to pay after it was fitted. While i was in the process of taking the old battery terminals off, the 2nd nearby mechanic happened to walk past with his breakfast and told me to wait and he would grab his portable jump start kit. That worked straight away, and i went and returned the battery……………….No clue WHY that didn't work when i hooked up the leads (possibly the metal wasn't stripped back enough for the black lead?), but let's ignore that for now.

It's all got me thinking, what do people recommend to have in an emergency kit in the car or the garage?

  1. Portable jump start kit. Most of my issues with cars have been flat tyre or flat battery
  2. Portable tire inflator, battery and/or runs off 12V supply. As above
  3. Basic little tool kit. I have plenty of tools but don't have a single one in the car. I really should at least keep a shifter….
  4. ……….?

Comments

      • +1 vote

        I think I have some wipes in my first aid kit. If not, I'll just use the eye irrigation things as a bidet.

    •  

      window breaker

      I was literally thinking of a sledge hammer next to driver side or something.

      •  

        Don't think you'd want a sledge hammer flying around your cabin if you got into an accident, LOL.

        •  

          It'd obviously be tied, or secured somehow(Maybe wedge into the seats so it can't move out unless you forcefully pull it out?), down so it wouldn't be able to move in the chance of a collision with something or someone….

          •  

            @Zachary: I see what you are saying, but in a collision you can experience many G's, even a low speed impact with a fixed object can subject you to 30g. So a 2kg sledge hammer can now want to escape its mount/restraint with 60kgs of force. So you need to restrain it so that you can easily remove it, but it is secure in the event of an accident. It is so much easier to secure a light object to withstand the force, and be easily removed.

            •  

              @AdosHouse: so you need to strap it down as if it weighed 30kg instead of 2kg?

  • +2 votes

    First aid kit
    A few towels (for emergencies, plus we always seem to have a wet dog to deal with!)
    Rechargeable jump starter pack
    Rechargeable air inflator
    Hi-vis vests
    Reflective triangle
    Super bright torch (with flash mode for emergencies)
    Powerbank and car phone chargers
    Pocket knife
    Small tool kit and jack that came with the car
    Towelling seat covers for when we're covered in sunscreen, etc
    And small (non-emergency) things like dog poop bags, tissues, umbrellas, picnic rug, chewing gum, reusable drinking straws (for those takeaway drinks that come with paper straws!), pens, etc.

    Looks like a lot, but most of it is in the boot (in a boot organiser thing), in the middle console (which is massive in our car!), or hidden underneath the boot floor, next to the spare tyre. We've never needed most of the things on my list, but it's good to have them, just in case. I'm thinking we should keep some water in the boot though, now that others have mentioned it. It's one of those things you never realise you need until you don't have it…

    •  

      Do you do lots of Highway or remote touring? Interested because if you are only in the city, half those things aren’t necessary.

      •  

        Yeah, we're always taking long road trips. :)

        We do take some things out if we need the whole boot space (and it will be Murphy's Law that we need them when we don't have them!) but since it hardly takes up any room, we usually just leave it all in the car.

        ETA - we "upgraded" from a giant, bulky jump starter/inflator machine to an tiny (and much better quality) jump starter kit, and use a Ryobi inflator. The inflator mostly gets used for bike tyres or our inflatable kayak, so lives in the car for that.

  • +2 votes

    condom,, come in handy

    •  

      I see what you did there

      • +2 votes

        You do realise that handy doesn’t need that type of protection.

        •  

          Less mess to clean up in the car

          Source: - NVM

  •  

    Make sure the jumpstart cables suit your engines capacity, and not a motorbike/gogomobile.

    • +1 vote

      Or do you mean the battery CCA?

  • +1 vote

    No luck. I reset the cables and tried again.

    Was the negative cable for the drained battery on the battery post or a grounding point in the engine bay?

  •  

    Condoms probably a good idea, if there's somewhere to put them where they won't bake on a hot day.

    • +1 vote

      If it’s hot, take them for a dip

  •  

    A couple of folding warning triangles and a Michelin foot pump to pump up the spare. I can't be bothered keeping the spare pumped up before I need it. And an NRMA membership.

  • +6 votes

    Portable jump starter
    Portable tyre inflator
    Portable solar panel usb
    A selk bag
    US Army parfum spray bottle
    A compass
    Tape measurement
    2009 road map book
    Cable ties
    A tub of vaseline
    Red & yellow M&M's pillows
    Vomit bags
    Spare undies

    •  

      US Army parfum spray bottle

      What's this for?

      • +3 votes

        Keeps the spare undies smelling fresh of course

        • +1 vote

          Why wouldn't you just flip them inside out every 3 days like everyone else?

  •  

    Hardly anything! A towel and a high vis vest. Mobile phone, but I guess that doesn’t count as it’s not kept in the car.

  •  

    What is a good Rechargeable air inflator for car tyres?

    •  

      Colleague at work recommended one which also comes with a foam injector so you can temporarily repair the tyre and get to repair shop

  • +1 vote

    Picnic rug, blanket, scented candles and baby oil.

    • +6 votes

      Going to need a bigger car after that…

  • +3 votes

    My phone and NRMA's phone number.

  •  

    2L oil, jumper leads, 2L water, picnic rug, multitool, tennis balls,…

  •  

    Looks like I'm underprepared. Which items have you found the most useful?

  • +1 vote

    In the past i carried a 40L container of emergency items as mention by everyone, only ever needed them in the times I didn't bring it because I took it out of the boot as I needed the extra space. So these days I just keep 2 bottles of 600ml water in addition to the standard flat items that came with the car. Regular checks and care will eliminate a lot of issues and the remainder of issues i call for help. I live in a metro area.

    •  

      Ah, good point! You're right, often the time you need the stuff is when you're on a long trip, in which case you're trying to jam heaps of luggage in the car.

  • +2 votes

    Nothing, just ensure you keep your car in perfect condition and get it repaired or replace when its due not when it get break down.

    Ensure your spare tire is inflated and you have checked it and not left to mechanic to do that job,because after replacing the spare tyre you will noticed that no air was check for last 4 years and there is no air in spare tyre.

    We try to keep lots of things for emergency use purpose and there is no end to it and hence we need to ensure we keep our vehicle in perfect condition. More the junk you keep in car the more the car is loaded with junk.

  •  

    I think I'm gonna get massive negs. But just sign up for RAC, 100 bucks a year and just call them anytime you can't fix a problem easily. It's piece of mind at a cost.

    • +1 vote

      That's not exactly a fix-all. I would safely say that 95% of all my vehicle problems historically have been tyres or batteries. Don't generally need roadside assistance + wait for 2hrs for that

      Roadside assistance is great during weekday + daytime hours + city areas. Doesn't work so well after hours on weekend in the countryside

      •  

        My experience is with old cars, starter motors, fuel problems and such that need to be in my garage to get anywhere. I would assume a lot of ozbargainers drive old cars and get themselves in similar predicaments.
        I don't use RAC anymore, have a newer fleet and breakdowns are much more rare, its only $200 for a tow if you signup on the spot so it's more cost effective to not have rac if you gamble that you will have a tow every 2+ years.

    •  

      You try calling them in a middle of nowhere, but are greeted with

      SOS Only

      on top of your phone's screen.

      What do you do then?

      •  

        Probably the same thing we'd all do if the issue with the car couldn't be fixed by the equipment on hand - post on ozbargain asking for help.

      •  

        If it says SOS only it means there is signal, but not from your provider. So you can call only 112 - the international mobile phone emergency number (equivalent of 000).

        SOS only is great news in a real emergency. Much better than no signal.

      • +2 votes

        Been there, tyres tread flew off but the tyre stayed inflated (30 Yr old mecerdes). The spare wasn't functional(yea I never tested the spare as suggested above). Had to limp along at 40km/hr. Didn't even bother with RAC when I could have called. True ozbargain style!

  • +14 votes

    I tow another car, just in case…

  • +3 votes

    There's usually a box of wet wipes on the floor of the car along with a few nappies and a towel. Those have been handy for the kids.

    My F-I-L put one of those reflective triangles beside the spare tyre and a window breaker/seat belt cutter in the drivers door pocket. Good to have I guess.

    If I'm going to be driving for more than about 30 mins then I'll usually chuck in a bottle of water but I don't keep one in the car.

    Personally I don't own anything like a tyre inflator, battery charger, jumpers etc. I used to when I was much younger and drove terrible cars where breaking down was about 'how often' rather than 'if' but that's no longer that case.

    These days if something happened this is pretty much how it would go:
    A) Incident occurs - my partner is alone - she's calling RACV regardless of what tools might be kept in the car.
    B) Incident occurs - It's both of us - I'd be out in the rain trying to change a tyre or jump start the car while she chants 'just call RACV, we pay for it for a reason!'
    C) Incident occurs - It's just me with no-one to impress, so I call RACV because why pay for it if you aren't going to use it.

    •  

      where did you buy window breaker from? is it the one with the strong pin that easily break window?

  • +1 vote

    In order of importance

    Cable ties
    Duct tape
    Electrical tape
    Battery jump kit
    Battery tyre inflator
    Screw driver set
    Tow capable rope
    Standard rope
    Multi meter
    Socket set
    Leatherman tool
    Glow sticks
    Mini axe
    Foldable shovel

  • +1 vote

    No spare tyre, 300mL water, tissue box, 1 bandaid. Weight reduction!

  • +1 vote

    Whiskey

  •  

    First aid kit and a window breaker/seatbelt cutter/torch unit

  •  

    In my car (aside from spare wheel and scissor jack) I have an OzB jumpstarter/powerbank. I've also got a $5 Bunnings camping chair for waiting/lunch, a spare set of clothes, and a spare cigarette/USB plug. That's about it. However roadside assistance would most probably be used if anything were to happen.

  •  

    How important is portable air pump? I have a spare tyre, but it's hard to inflate it without taking it out the way it is kept in the boot. Once I had a flat and when I called roadside they said the person won't have air pump, but he did and helped inflate the spare tyre. Wondering how often one should check air in spare tyre

    •  

      Easier to just Pump your spare as hard as you can at petrol station, I go 60psi.

      My cars are also pushbike sag wagons :) so they've often got a floorpump or 20V cordless electric tyre pump next to the onboard bike tools.

      •  

        Easier to just Pump your spare as hard as you can at petrol station, I go 60psi.

        Yeah watch it explode in your face when you realise the tyre is only rated for 30psi…

        •  

          Please show us a car tyre rated at 30psi..

          Car tyres will take way over 60psi without exploding, unless it is structurally damaged, rim is damaged or incorrectly fitted to the rim. In saying that. I don't recommend you drive on it at 60psi, but you can always correct the pressure when you need it, pen style gauges are a few bucks. As always, refer to your car's user manual.

          •  

            @tagrobert: Back in the good old days my old man would always overinflate the spare before our camping trips. Then on arrival he’d use the air to inflate the tent.

            If he ever needed the sore on the car it’s not too hard to deflate to a usable pressure.

          •  

            @tagrobert:

            Please show us a car tyre rated at 30psi..

            Aren't space savers rated only at 30 psi? Or small car tyres smaller than 15 inch? Or tyres with really high(or low…) profile? And what are the max pressure rating on the tyres for if you can pump it willy nilly at any amount higher than it's rating?

            Car tyres will take way over 60psi without exploding

            So I could pump 1000psi on all car tyres including the spare and it'd be perfectly fine and won't explode?

            •  

              @Zachary: I can't speak for all space savers but the ones I'm familiar with are actually on the high side compared to a normal road tyre pressure at 45 - 60psi. Burst pressure for an average road tyre is well over 100psi from what i recall so putting 60 in isn't going to hurt but probably won't help much either. Barring a faulty valve, modern tubeless tyres don't lose pressure as quickly as old inner tubes used to so filling the tyre to the correct pressure and checking it once a year is sufficient IMO.

            •  

              @Zachary:

              So I could pump 1000psi on all car tyres including the spare and it'd be perfectly fine and won't explode?

              That’s just being ridiculous. Of course you can’t put 1000psi in, but a car tyre will be rated to safely receive a reasonable amount above the typical road pressures.

              I know bicycle tyres have a max rated pressure, but never noticed car tyres - because there is less scope between what is recommended min or max.

              •  

                @Euphemistic: Follow up: google didn’t help initially, but a carpark survey (dozen or so vehicles) at work today indicates all tyres have a rated max pressure marked on them. The max ranged from 45psi for a light hatchback low-ish profile to 80psi for a big 4wd tyre.

  •  

    ozcharge rescue mate for jump starting…. never need to keep charged up… saved me a few times

  • +1 vote

    Amputated parts bags - very important people… very important.

  • +2 votes

    Gotta love the Japanese, not only does my Lexus come with the usual jack stand, hazard triangle etc but it also comes with cute little gloves, a lexus branded face towel and the best part: a little bottle of Lexus moisturizer for when your done.

  •  

    Always have Road side assistance. New car got with warranty and old ones with NRMA road side. Never drove without it.

  •  

    I have the same minimum emergency equipment as when I go for a hike:

    PLB (personal locator beacon, to summon emergency services)
    2 snake bite bandages.

    Those are for real emergencies. Anything less than a real emergency I have time. I can borrow things or hitch-hike somewhere to sort it.

  •  

    A bottle of Vodka

  •  

    Portable jump starter, Gloves (keep you hand clean), crescent wrench, pliers, cable ties, wire, duct tape, screw drivers.
    Distilled/deionised water. Phone.

  •  

    NRMA membership. Leave it to the pro's.

  •  

    Sounds to me like OP needs a Gooloo.
    And no, don't keep it in the garage, keep it in the car, but remember to charge every 6 months or so.

  •  

    In this day and age, just leave your headlights on 'auto', and the only time you have to worry about them is after the annual service, when you find every single button and lever has been flipped and left in any position other than the one you had them in.

  •  

    when I drove a small manual hatchback I could push-jump start it easily

    so I was surprised when I got an automatic and first need to jump start it - and no it wouldn't start with a push

    since then I've carried a set of jumper cables in the boot

    my car is 30yo, driven about once a week, and serviced every 2 years whether it needs it or not, and is perfectly reliable and has never broken down AFAIR

  •  

    Aside from the spare tyre and tools, I carry a large knife and flashlight. Can be used for multiple different purposes.

  •  

    Did anybody say tyre patch? no point having a tyre inflator if you got a hole in the tyre. Need a emergency patch + tyre inflator

  • +1 vote

    Didn't know so many people here were either serial killers or spontaneous sex artists.

    •  

      Hip in the car, I know a place that’s 15% off.

  • +1 vote

    Roadside assistance is a must I would say, so get that first.

    I now made an equipment tub I can transport from car to car and leave in the boot.
    First aid kit
    Supatool Tool Kit - cheap tools but get the job done in a pinch
    Cable ties (large size)
    Electrical tape
    Duct tape
    Coleman headlamp
    Coleman torch
    500A rated Jumper cables
    Foldable saw
    Foldable shovel
    pack of waterproof/windproof matches
    picnic set (cups/plates/cutlery)
    picnic blanket
    heavy duty gloves
    2 rolls of toilet paper
    toilet seat covers
    10L water container
    12v to 240v 150w inverter

  •  

    Car emergency kit?

  • +1 vote

    Nrma membership

  • +1 vote

    Racv Card