driver checks their car survival kit supplies

10 Things You Need in a Car Survival Kit


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What’s in your car survival kit? You do have a car survival kit, right? If not, now’s as good a time as any to pack one. You never know when you’ll have one of those irksome unexpected emergencies. And the last thing you want is to be without something crucial.

What your car survival kit contains could say a lot about your personality. For example, do you have Tim Tam biscuits or a phone charger? Spare oil and water or magazines? We all have our top priorities.

But when it comes to cars, we need to put the fun stuff to one side (if you can resist the Tim Tams) and adhere to the car’s basic needs.

Here are 10 items every car survival kit needs:

#1. Maps are essential to your car survival kit

fold-out maps are essential to your car survival kit

It may sound old-fashioned, but keeping fold-out maps in your car survival kit is good planning. You’re thinking why? And you’re not alone. In the endless world of tech we’re surrounded by phones, Google Maps and in-car GPS. We’re never without maps right?

Wrong. It’s easy to end up on one of those long regional road trips with patchy to zero mobile phone reception. Always keep an actual map book, or at the very least a print-out for your particular road trip in your car.

Many of us wisely download the maps we need onto our phones or tablets for moments like these. But there’s always the chance your device could die and you’ve forgotten to bring along a charger. This brings us to the next item on our list…

#2. USB phone charger

Bring along a car mobile phone charger, just in case. Better yet – bring a fully charged portable charger on long trips as well… That way you’ll always have access to charge.

Did you know your phone camera is key to making your claims process easier and faster? Read how to make a comprehensive car insurance claim in six simple steps to see why.

Here’s a sleek monotone USB charger from JB Hi-Fi:

USB charger

#3. Torch: car survival kit couture

Packing a torch seems so obvious. But that’s what makes it possible to overlook. If you’re reading this and don’t have one in your car survival kit, make a note to throw it in ASAP. You could get a flat tyre after dark. And a bit of light on those nuts and bolts can make a world of difference. (Don’t forget to pack spare torch batteries/charger).

We like this rechargeable wearable headlamp torch from Bright Nite:

rechargeable torch

#4. Spare tyre (plus jack and wrench/spanner)

Never changed a tyre before? At some point this is a right of passage most of us will have to pass. Find out how to change a tyre and why car tyre pressure is so important.

Make sure your spare tyre is properly inflated and your jack and wrench (or spanner) are in your car where they should be. You might also want to get up to speed with these car maintenance tips.

Here’s a video from Drive on how to change a flat tyre:

#5. First aid kit

Let’s say you get some scrapes, scratches, splinters or an insect bite on a holiday road trip. Having some disinfectant, Band-Aids and a splinter remover could make the difference between a good time and a very sore time. Any nicks and bites that end up infected can snowball into scary scenarios, most probably in the doctor’s room.

Let’s skip that by packing that basic first aid kit in your car survival kit. Here’s one tailored to cars from Survival Emergency Solutions:

first aid kit for your car survival kit

#6. Jumper cables

Most cars that predate the year 2000 need jumper cables to start a flat battery. If you’re not sure how to do it, read how to fix your dead car battery. And if your car is a more recent model you’ll need to use a jump starter rather than cables.

Check out our steps to jump start a car with jumper cables or jump starters.

jumper cables

#7. Car survival kit emergency triangle

Packing an emergency triangle in your car survival kit is a no-brainer. They’re like the older sibling to your hazard lights.

Whether it’s during day light, fog, or after dark when you have a car breakdown you need other cars to know about it. Before they’re right up against your tail. Emergency triangles can prevent breakdowns from turning into collisions any time of the day.

It’s even more important to have one if you’re broken down on a bend, corner or narrow pass. It’s your responsibility to forewarn other drivers that the road ahead is obstructed. Here’s an emergency triangle from Supercheap Auto:

emergency triangle

#8. Cash

Keep spare cash in your car survival kit. In some unknown, unnamed tiny town you might need to buy a face mask or food where they don’t take card payments. OK we admit that’s hard to imagine. But let’s say they do take cards and for some reason yours won’t work. That’s when it’s nice having cold hard cash on standby.

Just in case.

keep spare cash in your car survival kit

#9. Toolkit

When you’re packing for a car trip having a basic tool kit is a car survival kit essential. You’d be surprised how many car maintenance tasks you’re capable of doing in times of need (thank you, YouTube). Especially if there’s no other option. Antifreeze, oil, brake fluid, foam tire sealant duct tape, screwdrivers and pliers are just some of the items you should keep in your car toolkit.

Another good edition is a Swiss army knife. Besides it usually comes with a toothpick. Not to mention that the handy scissors double as nail cutters.

Don’t have time to compile your own car survival toolkit? Amazon has some readymade car toolkits:

car survival toolkit

#10. Water, snacks and warm stuff

It just so happens those who keep a bag of biscuits in their boot were on the right track. Although we’d advocate for a snack that offers slow-release energy like unsalted nuts or dried fruit. Something that keeps well in your car storage area and gives you a lasting boost when you haven’t eaten for hours.

Water is of course absolutely necessary. You don’t want to be that person at dinner parties everyone remembers for fainting on the side of the road due to dehydration. If anything, you’d rather be known for having stellar car organising hacks under your belt.

We’re also a fan of a blanket and jumper in case you’re stuck waiting for assistance on a cold day or night!

wholesome snacks deserve a spot in your car survival kit

Car insurance – necessary and nice

Once your car survival kit is complete, you’ll feel well prepared and satisfied with being a car survival genius (kinda). Likewise, a fantastic car insurance plan that covers your car for fire, flood, storm, accident and more will give you great peace of mind. And we all know there’s nothing better than living and driving with the satisfaction of being safeguarded.

Besides this our car insurance is fast, affordable, reliable and easy to use! Click below and get started.

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