Cars are great at carrying things. That’s what they’re for, after all: to carry us around anywhere we need to go. Cars are also great at carrying just about anything you can put in them, and there are certain essentials to keep inside the car with you all the time. Time and time again, you're driving along and think of a certain item that you need at that very moment, only to be left high and dry because you're in your car and far away from home. However, the design of modern cars has led to many convenient compartments that can hold just about anything you might need.
Between gloveboxes, trunks, center consoles, slots in doors, and the crevices of your seats, there's plenty of space to stash handy items. Some of the most important things to have are specifically for safety, like a spare tire and water. Nothing is worse than needing something to keep you safe or keep your car driving and not having it, and having some of these items will serve you well.
In addition to safety, many of these items are great for convenience, and although they may not be extremely important or lifesaving, they're still great things to keep in your car just in case. Additionally, your passengers will greatly appreciate how prepared you are if you’re able to whip out everything they ask for out of compartments they didn’t even know your car had. These are the 20 most important things to have in your car, and 5 to be avoided.
25 Need It: Spare Tire
This one's obvious, but not everyone follows this rule. Some newer cars don't even come with spare tires, opting instead for run-flat tires or a roadside assistance number. Others leave their spare tire at home to save weight or space.
In an emergency such as a flat or shredded tire, it's absolutely essential to have a spare tire on hand.
You may be far from a tow truck, in an area that's extremely hot or cold, or just might be in a rush. In any case, your spare tire will save you.
24 Need It: Jack
The spare tire won't be much good to you without a jack, which is absolutely essential if you're going to be doing any impromptu work on your car on the side of the road. Without a jack, you won't even be able to lift your car up, and therefore, your tire will go unchanged. Having a jack also means that you can be of assistance to other drivers who run into problems and are away from other help, making you useful to yourself and others.
23 Need It: Jumper Cables
Having a set of jumper cables tucked away in your trunk will save you in the case of a dead battery. It can happen to anyone, but luckily, most drivers are often prepared with some jumper cables. They can help you out, and they can also help out others. Everyone reading this has likely called friends when he needs a jump start or has been called by someone in need. Most cars come with jumper cables, but if you're buying used, make sure to have a pair on standby.
22 Need It: CDs
For those drivers who have older cars without aux cords, CDs are the common alternative. After all, any noise is better than silence.
Many drivers, both young and old, use CDs, and for good reason. They're shareable, useful, and are a classic way to listen to music that keeps you off of your phone while driving.
Sure, the radio is entertaining, but listening to uninterrupted music without commercials is very enjoyable. It's easy to get sick of the same songs played over and over, and a stack of CDs will serve every driver well.
21 Need It: AUX Cord
For those who don't use CDs and don't have BlueTooth pairing for their phones, aux cords are the obvious alternative. They allow any of your passengers to plug in their phones and easily share their music with the whole car. The cord can easily be passed amongst four passengers and is much easier than inserting four different CDs. It's also much easier to listen to a podcast conveniently on your phone rather than burning it onto a CD, which is much more effort than it's worth.
20 Need It: Pocketknife
Having a pocketknife or a multitool on hand is incredibly useful. With a range of functions, most pocketknives can help you accomplish any task you need to get done. While you may not need it for driving, it's convenient to be able to go to your car to grab it when needed rather than being without one. Especially if you're camping and forget your pocketknife, you'll be set with no problem. Even with minor car work, a pocketknife may come in handy, setting you up for success.
19 Need It: Flashlight
Having a flashlight or a headlamp in your car is incredibly useful. If you're out driving at night and have to do anything, having a light source available will make your job much easier. Peering into a dark engine compartment or undercarriage is made much easier with some light. Especially if you're driving up a canyon at night or an area with little light, a flashlight will definitely be your friend. It's hard to go wrong with this handy tool in your car.
18 Need It: Sunglasses
A clear essential to have in your car at all times is a slick pair of stylish sunglasses. They're a versatile accessory that improves virtually any outfit you're wearing. They also make driving much easier, shielding your eyes from the sun's glare and doing so without having to put that stupid visor down. Especially with a convertible or even with your windows rolled down, a good pair of sunglasses makes you look like a badass when you're driving along.
17 Need It: Mints
In addition to looking cool, your breath should be cool, too. There's always a chance you could run into a coworker, a friend, or someone you want to impress when you're out and about, and in none of these situations do you want to have bad breath. A pack of mints will keep your breath fresh and your confidence up because who doesn't like someone who radiates minty freshness? This is incredibly useful and is nearly guaranteed to come in handy one day.
16 Need It: Microfiber Cloth
Every car enthusiast is familiar with the lovely item that's the microfiber cloth, and it's a good idea to have one or several in your car at all times. All too often, drivers find themselves in a poor situation that we're all familiar with.
If a bug, dirt, or trash gets on your car, there's no way you'll let it sit until you get home.
Rather, having a soft cloth on hand to clean your car is absolutely essential and will vastly improve the look of your ride.
15 Need It: Picnic Blanket
Summer is for spontaneity, and spontaneous (or planned) picnics are always a favorite. A quick call from friends and proximity to a park can lead to a picnic, but it isn't the best without a blanket. Many people have allergies to grass or don't want to get their clothes dirty, and you'll be praised by all of your friends for being prepared. Additionally, if someone who's soaked from a lake or pool is about to get in your car, a spare picnic blanket packed in your trunk can easily save your seats from all that water.
14 Need It: Car Charger
A fully charged phone is important to have, and it's hard to accomplish that without a car charger.
Nothing is more inconvenient after a day or night out than hopping in your car and realizing that your phone's battery has been drained, and having a charger on hand will alleviate this problem.
Even if yours is always charged, your friends will definitely thank you for having this handy item around. Many items on this list are useful not only for you but also for other people, which is quite convenient.
13 Need It: Some Water
Water means life for every living thing, and yes, that includes you. While you may not need to constantly take sips from a bottle at your side, it's handy to have in case your passenger wants some or if you're stuck on the side of the road. Having to walk far for help in an emergency is hard enough without becoming dehydrated, and having water on hand will make your experience much better. And, if you remembered your microfiber cloth, it can be used to clean things off of your car.
12 Need It: Gift Cards For Restaurants
Having gift cards on hand may not be the most glamorous way to pay for your food, but it's certainly better for your bank account. Having a stash of gift cards to a variety of restaurants means that you can confidently tag along with your friends anywhere they want to go, without having to worry about how much you're spending. And, if you owe someone money, what better way to pay them back than with some food that doesn't cost you any money.
11 Need It: Sunshade
If you live in an area that gets a lot of sunlight, you'll want to invest in a sun shade. This handy device will reflect sunlight away from your car, greatly lowering the temperature in your car.
No one wants to get into a car that's hot enough to cook food on the dash, so do yourself and your passengers a favor and grab a sun shade.
Driving in a hot car is awful, and unless you have one of these handy, you'll be suffering.
10 Need It: Air Freshener
In the same vein as mints, everyone should have stuff to keep themselves fresh at all times. Air freshener will do just that. Nothing is worse than getting into a car and being hit with a nasty wall of offensive odor, and air freshener will take care of that. It keeps your car inviting, crisp, and pleasant for your passengers. Nice enough air freshener can totally transform the feel of your car and does your nose a world of good.
9 Need It: Tripod
Snapping a great photo of your car is one of the best parts of a car enthusiast's day. While it's nice to grab photos of your car from imaginative angles, taking pictures of just your car can get boring. When trying to snap a photo of you posing with your car, a phone on a self-timer on the ground is pretty lame. Using a tripod that's geared towards your phone will be unique and useful in a pinch if your friends aren't around to take a photo.
8 Need It: Tissues Or Napkins
Most people spend many hours a week in their cars, and during those hours, there are many things that could happen. You could sneeze, need to blow your nose, or spill food somewhere. When that happens, a tissue or napkin goes a long way. Those snacks on your commute can make a mess of your clothes, fingers, and steering wheel. Blowing your nose into your shirt is a thing of the past when you make the easy decision to keep a stack of tissues in your car.
7 Need It: Ice Scraper
If you live anywhere that gets snow or ice, you absolutely need an ice scraper. Not only is it a major pain to clear snow off of your car with just your defroster and windshield wipers; it's nearly impossible some days.
Clean and clear windows make for a much safer and more enjoyable driving experience for you and for everyone else on the road.
If you're feeling generous, you can even clean the snow off of the cars parked next to you.
6 Need It: Fire Extinguisher
Now, this may sound a bit extreme, but this is something important to have in your car. It may not ever be used; however, if you have a car that you take to the track, you'll want one.
There are videos all over YouTube of drivers taking their cars to the track, driving hard, and heating up their engine and other parts of their car.
When a pump or line breaks and hot liquids spill onto hot metal, things can quickly catch fire. Having a fire extinguisher available will prevent major damage to your car and might even save your life.
5 Leave It At Home: Old Sandwich
There are certain things that should be left at home and not in your car, and your old sandwich is first on that list. Your old food is doing nothing but stinking up your car, making an atrocious environment for you and your passengers. Old food, or pretty much any food, doesn't belong in your car. Worst of all is when something gets trapped under the seat and gets so ripe that not even the strongest air freshener can save it... just leave it at home.
4 Leave It At Home: Important Papers
This certainly doesn't pertain to your insurance and registration, as these are important documents that you should have in your glove box at all times. However, you shouldn't have important papers laying on your seats as you drive around. The second you roll down a window, the turbulence will whip those papers around, and they may even fly out of your window. Anything important is best tucked away into a glovebox or console, not thrown randomly on your seat.
3 Leave It At Home: Drinks With No Tops
Your coffee and soda may be refreshing and energizing, but they can leave you with quite a mess. Any sudden turns or sharp brakes will rock them precariously, possibly spilling your drink all over your clothes, your dashboard, and your seats. These drinks are often sticky, sugary, and dark, and they could potentially alter the look of your car for a long time. No one wants to look at a big coffee stain all day, much less clean it up. Use a bottle!
2 Leave It At Home: Dogs
If you have a car that suits the outdoors and your furry friends like to accompany you on adventures, by all means, bring your dogs in your car. However, unless this is your lifestyle, leave them at home. Dogs will shed everywhere, and you'll be finding their hair stuck on the seats and carpets long after they leave the car. And if they pee in your car, you're not going to be having fun at all. They may also scratch and bite parts of the interior of your car, which is just unsightly.
1 Leave It At Home: Gym Bag
You may love the convenience of having your gym bag easily accessible in your car, but your passengers will hate it. Your sweaty clothes and gear smell, and if you leave this junk in your car for an extended period of time, it'll stink up your car. You'll likely go blind to the smell, but your passengers won't. Do everyone, including yourself, a favor and just pick this up at home. No one wants to smell your sweaty clothes, and there's hardly enough air freshener in the world to clear up the smell left behind.