Emergency Car Kits

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How to pack a kit to keep on board that could save the day: 

Emergency car kits are as crucial to worry-free travel as oil changes and keeping your car clean at your local touchless car wash. But we only think about being stranded seconds after we slide off the road. So, don't wait until you’re stuck in a ditch. We’re going to help you pack an emergency car kit made to protect you, provide basic needs, and get you back on the road.

What do most drivers think of when it comes to car trouble? A flat tire. But AAA says the number one reason for getting stranded is a dead battery.


So, your roadside car kit should include either:

  • Jumper cables
  • Portable jump-start device

Jumper cables require another car to stop and help you. A portable jump-starter doesn’t. 

Emergency Car Kit Cuisine

No matter why your car or truck is on the side of the road, your survival kit should include food and water. Granola bars, nuts, and bottled water are not delicacies but will be appreciated by your family if help is hours away. Humans can survive months without food but just days without water. 

And you don’t have to be on a wilderness adventure to be far from help. Many winter storms have kept drivers stuck on the interstate for more than ten hours. Some cities are not prepared for snow and ice. Their plan often entails “waiting for things to warm up.”

Here are more ideas for non-perishable foods to have in your car kit:

  • Meals Ready to Eat (MRE)
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Dried fruit
  • Beef jerky
  • Trail mix 

Remember, without water, all the food in the world won’t help. Staying hydrated is crucial to being alert and strong enough to wait until help arrives when your car is disabled. Keep an eye on expiration dates even on bottled water and non-perishable food. Check dates monthly or bi-monthly, or every time you get your car washed. 

Roadside Injuries

Would you be ready if you get a cut changing a tire? It’s wise to make a first-aid kit part of your emergency car kit just in case. Ready-to-go medical kits are available starting at just $7 online. 

You can also assemble your own medical supplies. Many of which you may have in excess around your home already. Here are some items that can help with minor injuries while on the road:

  • Adhesive bandages / band-aids
  • Pain relief tablets or liquid for children
  • Antibiotic ointment 
  • Medical tape - (the duct tape of docs)
  • Antiseptic wipes / alcohol pads
  • Aspirin
  • Gauze 
  • Eyewash / saline solution

What else can save the day if emergencies become self-serve situations? Taking a CPR class. Again, the best time to know CPR is long before you need to know it. 

*24% of all weather-related car crashes occur on slushy, icy, or snowy pavements.

Storing Your Emergency Car Kit

With only so much room in your vehicle, choose your carrying case wisely. If you buy a premade emergency kit, decide on a soft or hard case first. And measure the area where you’ll keep it to ensure the kit will fit.

Using a backpack is the perfect plan for building your own roadside emergency bag. Kids usually say their school bag is out of style after a year - or two weeks. So, recycle theirs and carefully pack the backpack with the items we’ve listed. Ensure no item can be damaged during storage. Using small hard cases inside the backpack will provide extra protection for fragile items. 

Off-Road Phone Power 

We overestimate the power of our phones. Sometimes they can’t get a signal. Other times rescuers can’t reach a stranded vehicle due to conditions. Instagram filters can’t fix that problem. Still, it’s smart to keep a power bank fully charged to recharge your phone in an emergency. A signal could be just 100 feet away.

The main thing is to stay safe and defend against the elements while you wait for help or perform a roadside vehicle repair. Extreme heat and cold are huge threats to you and your family. That’s why our last suggestions for your emergency car care kit include a blanket, a tarp for make-shift shade, and a couple of ponchos. 

Prepare today so you’re back on the road to simpler car problems.  Like bugs on the windshield for instance…something we can handle for you at ZIPS Car Wash – just saying.