25 Items You Should Always Keep in Your Car
Price: $5.50 | Buy it at Amazon
File this one under something you hope you'll never need. The seatbelt cutter has a steel blade that can help you free yourself if you're trapped after a crash, while the hammer can help break out the car window in case of fire or flooding.
Price: $7 | Buy it at Amazon
That tire looks a little low – or does it? Ditch the guessing game by tucking this reliable pencil-style gauge in your glove compartment. Made of plated brass, it has a built-in deflator valve and a white nylon indicator that will measure 5-50 PSI.
Price: $25.32 | Buy it at Walmart
Though they may be most valuable when there's snow or ice on the ground, these emergency mats can also provide much-needed traction in mud or sand, too. You can adjust the angle depending on your tires' position, and they won't take up too much trunk space since they fold flat for storage.
Price: $12.25 | Buy it at Amazon
Accidents and breakdowns don't always wait for a sunny day. Stay dry while changing a tire or checking a fender-bender with this large, reusable hooded poncho. It includes reflective striping to help you stay visible at night or during poor weather conditions.
Price: $28 | Buy it at Amazon
Whether it's a breakdown or a fast-food value meal that leaves you with smelly, greasy hands, you'll be glad to dig out a pack of antibacterial wipes from the center console. These travel packs come with an easy-to-reseal flap that help keep the wipes from drying out.
Price: $33.95 | Buy it at Surviveware
Your car is the perfect place to stash a small first-aid kit. This one comes in a water-resistant polyester bag that's small enough for the glove compartment, but contains 100 items from alcohol wipes and bandages to a CPR mask and an emergency whistle.
Price: $70 | Buy it at Amazon
Dead battery? You won't need to wait for AAA or other roadside crews if you have this portable jump starter, good for up to 20 starts on a single charge. It even includes an LED light with strobe and SOS modes, a compass, and a USB port to charge your phone.
Price: $16 | Buy it at Target
Compact enough not to hog valuable space, this auto fire extinguisher comes with a mounting bracket to keep it from rolling around while you're driving. It's effective against flammable liquid and electrical fires and is backed by a 10-year warranty.
Price: $22.90 | Buy it at Amazon
This cold-weather must-have can help you clear snow away from your tires if you get stuck in a wintery mess. It only weighs a little over a pound, and the handle adjusts from 25 to 32 inches. It breaks down into three pieces for easy storage, too.
Price: $7.87 | Buy it at Amazon
Sure, everyone should know how to use their spare tire, but Fix-a-Flat can seal up many run-of-the-mill punctures and re-inflate your tire long enough for you to get to a tire shop for a permanent fix. It's also safe for cars with tire pressure monitoring systems.
Price: $13.46 | Buy it at Amazon
When your phone dies or your GPS goes on the fritz, a paper map can be an invaluable back-up when you're in an unfamiliar area. This one includes maps of every state and Canadian province, and includes more detailed maps for 350 cities and even 20 national parks.
Price: $44.95 | Buy it at Amazon
This emergency radio can do a little bit of everything. Aside from receiving weather alerts and AM/FM stations, it has a built-in LED flashlight with blinking and SOS modes, a clock, an emergency buzzer, and a USB charging port. Best of all, you can charge it up with a hand crank or solar power.
Price: $9.13 | Buy it at Amazon
Keeping a tow strap on hand can allow generous Good Samaritans to help pull you out of that drift or muddy mess, or at least get you to a safer spot before checking out your car. This heavy-duty 20-foot polyester strap can tow up to 10,000 pounds in a pinch.
Price: $23.98 | Buy it at Amazon
At night, or when weather conditions are poor, road flares might be the most conspicuous way to warn oncoming drivers that you need some space. These magnetic LEDs are visible for up to a mile; they're also shatterproof, crushproof, and rainproof.
Price: $3.88 | Buy it at Amazon
If something is rusty and it shouldn't be, WD-40 can come to the rescue; it can even de-grease your hands or easily clean splattered bugs off your windshield. Though it's available in larger quantities, an 8-ounce can is small enough for the glove box or center console.
Cheapism.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product through a link on our site. This helps support our work and does not influence editorial content.