Having a car break down is frustrating for anyone, but it’s much less stressful if you’re prepared. Stocking your car with the right items will make all the difference for your next road trip, whatever happens. In this post, you’ll find a list of the essentials you should always have in your car and why.
1. Your Driver’s License
Not having your license with you in the car—even for a short trip—is illegal. In many states, it’s a misdemeanor, and if you’re pulled over and don’t have it, you could be fined.
Most people know that not having a license at all and driving a vehicle is illegal, but it’s also punishable by law to drive without one in your possession (even if you are a licensed driver). Make sure your license is up to date. We can help you get appointments at the DMV to renew your license with Skip, and we can even send you reminders to renew.
2. Your Registration and Insurance Information
You should have your registration and insurance paperwork accessible in your car in case of an accident or being pulled over. Keep them in the glove compartment so they don’t get lost. By law, all cars need to be registered and insured. Sign up for our renewal reminder service to make sure you always have your registration up to date.
3. Owner’s Manual
Whatever is going on with your car, from mysterious lights popping on to strange noises, the manual will tell you the source. Keep it in the glove compartment with your registration and insurance information. We recommend that you spend some time reading through your manual when you first purchase a new car so that you’re already familiar with the manual when you need to use it.
4. Spare Tire and Jack
Most cars will come with a spare tire and a jack so you can change out a flat tire, but you should double-check to make sure you have one. Some newer cars do not come with spares. Spare tires need to be replaced every six years to make sure they are serviceable.
It can be hard to see what’s going on in a car’s engine, even during the day. At night, it’s impossible without a flashlight. Keep one in your car, so that you don’t have to worry about being able to see if you’re trying to make a roadside repair. Don’t rely on a phone flashlight—the flashlight function drains phone batteries, and if you are stranded you may need to use your phone to call for a repair or a tow.
6. Jumper Cables
A dead car battery is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to drivers on the road. Keep jumper cables in your car so that you can get a jump if you need one. Remember that to jump a car you need to be able to link it to another vehicle. If you’d rather not rely on the kindness of other drivers, you can also keep a battery jump-starter in your car, which will allow you to restart your car’s battery on your own.
7. Duct Tape
From reattaching a mirror to closing up a shattered window, duct tape is a great temporary solution to get you home in a pinch. Of course, taping up a broken car isn’t a permanent fix, but it will get you through until you can reach a repair shop.
Of course, having a blanket in your car is nice for picnics or outdoor events, but it is also great if you break down. It will keep you warm, but you can also use it as a pad to lie on if you need to get under your car to inspect damage or make a repair.
Pack Up What You Need Now for Low Stress Driving
Packing up some essentials to keep in your car will only take a little effort, and it will save you from hefty fines or being stranded in an emergency. We can help you with all your government needs as a car owner for peace-of-mind at Skip, whether it’s registration, title transfer, or license renewal.