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10 things you should always keep in your car

It’s always a good idea to be prepared – having the right car insurance and keeping your vehicle maintained will go a long way towards giving you peace of mind. But, if problems do arise, with the right planning and the right kit you can make car trouble less of a headache. Just having the tools you need to hand can help you tackle difficulties more easily and help you stay safe should any problems arise. An emergency car kit can be a great tool when you’re stranded, and you’ll always be glad you took the time to put one together.

Spare coolant, oil and windshield-washer fluid

Checking these regularly can help you avoid getting caught out, but it's always good to have extras to hand, just in case.


A useful item if you break down at night and need to inspect your car's engine, change a tyre or alert a passer-by. A candle in a can and matches can also be useful in winter emergencies.

Jump leads

If your battery flat lines, these will be essential for jump-starting your car – especially if you’re far from a garage.

Ice scraper

You’ll need this to clear the windscreen and windows in winter.

Portable air compressor

This is an easy-to-use, compact tool that can re-inflate a slow-leaking tyre very quickly. Make sure you also have a working spare tyre and the materials to change it, including a jack and wrench, should the need arise.

Duct tape

Versatile and lightweight, duct tape can act as a quick fix for just about anything when you're in a pinch.

Fully charged mobile phone

Failing that, a charger that works via your cigarette lighter. If you need directions, or if you get into an accident or need to call for help after a breakdown, then having a working phone will make for a much easier process.

Water and energy bars

Stay hydrated on long journeys, and when waiting for roadside assistance, by keeping spare bottles of water to hand. If you get stranded in your car, then you'll be grateful of any water and snacks you have to hand too.

Warm, waterproof clothing

Keep this in the boot in case you get stranded in winter, or need to wait in the cold for assistance (for example, during a motorway breakdown). A warm jacket may prove indispensable if you have to leave your vehicle for any reason.

A first aid kit

Having the means to deal with minor injuries while on the road can make your journey much more comfortable.