No matter what time of year it is, how far you're travelling, or how experienced of a driver you are, there are some items that you should always have handy in your car. It's better to have these things and hope you never have to use them than have to use them and wish you'd packed them. Easy to fit into one bag in your boot or spread out throughout your glove compartment, seat pockets, or door compartments, ensure these DIY emergency kit essentials are always in the car when you're on the go...
Spare Tyre & Jack
Most car manufacturers have already taken this into account and you can usually find a spare tyre and jack hidden in the boot or attached to the rear of your vehicle, ready to be used in the unfortunate event of a popped tyre. Just check your spare regularly and make sure it’s still in a good, road-worthy condition.
An essential during the colder months, an ice-scraper will help you to quickly get rid of the frosty layer on your windscreen and get on the road faster.
Jerry Can & Funnel
If you like living life on the edge an trying to make it to the next gas station before topping up on fuel, chances are that an empty jerry can and a funnel will serve you well one day. If it’s safe to leave your car where it is, travel to the next petrol station and fill up your jerry can then get back to your vehicle and fill up your tank to get back on the road.
Don’t get stranded with a flat battery. If you’ve got a set of jump leads in the boot, all you need is a friend or generous stranger with their own car and a charged car battery and you’ll be up and running again in no time. Make sure you read a guide or watch a tutorial on how to jump-start a car safely before you attempt it yourself.
Foot Pump / Air Compressor
Check the tyre pressure on your car and quickly pump up deflated tyres. Getting a pump or air compressor is especially great if you have to change to your spare and it needs a little extra life to get you the next few miles.
Spare Bulb Kit
Stay safe and legal if one of your bulbs blows by keeping a spare set in the boot of your car. Essential for both night-time and daytime travelling, the lights on your car help to keep both you and your passengers and other road users safe.
Endlessly versatile and an quick temporary fix for any number of problems, sometimes a few strips of duct tape is all you need to get back on the road until you can get to a garage. However, driving a vehicle that’s held together by tape is dangerous and may affect your insurance, so this should only be used as a temporary resort until you can reach a mechanic and resolve the problem properly. Never drive a vehicle if you think it may be unsafe.
Drinking Water /Snacks
Stowing a bottle of water and a few non-perishable snacks in the car may save you from an uncomfortable thirsty or hangry moment while you travel long distances or sit tight and wait for recovery.
First Aid Kit
Whether you just need a plaster or an emergency clean/patch-up on your way to seek proper medical attention, a first aid kit is a must! You never know when you’re going to need one.
Reflective Warning Triangle
If you ever have a breakdown or have to pull over at the side of the road, a reflective warning triangle will alert other drivers on the road and make them aware of your location so they can plan ahead and avoid you. These should be used in conjunction with your hazard lights.
You never know when you’re going to need a torch. Great for taking a look at parts on the underside of your car or if you have to pull over at night-time, torches are a small yet staple part of your DIY emergency car kit.
If you don’t have space for a large chunky knit one, a tiny foil space blanket is equally (if not more) effective.
Photocopies of Your Documents
Whilst it’s not a legal requirement to keep any documents in your vehicle, keeping a photocopy of your insurance policy/breakdown membership info will save you a lot of time & hassle if you ever have the misfortune of having to contact them.
Your car’s manual
Unsure what that warning light on your dash means or how to change your radio channel? Safely pull over and check your manual! Easy to keep in the back of your seat, this small booklet will help you to determine what the problem is and whether it’s safe to carry on driving.
Phone charger or Power bank
Make sure that online maps, emergency services, and breakdown companies are always reachable by keeping your phone charged with a car charger or power bank.
Pen & Paper
If your phone fails, it’s great to have a back-up for taking notes. A pen & paper are endlessly versatile, coming in handy for writing down directions or playing noughts and crosses to break the boredom of long journeys.
Great for if you have to park at a Pay & Display carpark, go through a toll point, or if you’ve accidentally left your wallet at home and need some emergency coins. You never know how far the next ATM will be.
If you’re travelling abroad with your vehicle, make sure you check the legal requirements of driving in that country before you leave. In addition to the above list, a lot of European countries require you to at least display a GB sticker and carry a reflective jacket for each passenger.
Find all of these essentials and more in our Motoring collection.