Preparing Your Car for an Emergency

Category Safety
You never know when an emergency is going to happen. With the amount of time we spend in our cars, it's important to be prepared for an emergency when we are driving. This is a page about preparing your car for an emergency.


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I keep a small suitcase in my car's trunk with a change of clothing, personal hygiene products, and some spare money for emergencies. I also keep crackers, snacks, gum, and other food products there, along with my spare tire (always filled), some wood and fire making supplies, a spare blanket, and pillow. This insures that if some unforeseen catastrophe or emergency happens, I am able to take care of myself. These really take up less room than you would suppose.

By Nightsong from Yates Center, KS

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February 18, 2005

You're stranded in your car or truck in the middle of winter and you have no winter survival kit in your car. No relief in sight. This TP heater may save your life.

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I live in Salem, Oregon and even though we have four seasons most of the time, we have had our share of bad weather. I was also stuck in the Chicago Storm of the Century in January/Feb and literally could not get out my home doors. I was luckier than some who were stuck in their cars overnight and could not go home.


I have also lived in Alaska. I don't need to tell most of you that you don't leave the house without half of it with you. Spark plugs, tires, coats, fuses, food, water, all of it is essential.

So, unless you live in the southern part of the US, you might want to look at your emergency stash in the car. This is a good idea for the house, but when you are stranded, you are vulnerable.

Today, was our first storm of the season. I put together a clothing emergency kit and the rest will be in come payday. Sometimes, just an extra pair of socks, shoes, pants, or sweater can make the difference. Gloves, earmuffs, water, vitamins, water proof matches, and more are all good to keep in sealed bags or containers to keep them water proof and clean.

All the other things you need, you know you need. But people tend to forget clothing, so this might help.

This site is just one from Google that might help.


Source: Necessity is essential to keep ahead of disaster.

By Sandi/Poor But Proud from Salem, OR

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It's always a good idea to have keep a full tank of gas in your car. In case of a family emergency in the middle of the night, you don't want to run out of gas right in the middle of it and have to search for an open gas station.

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My friend was stranded in her car last evening when she went to use her cell phone it was dead. She told me she was so thankful she had listened to her Dad's advice which I decided to pass along to you for yourself or someone you care about.

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January 7, 2005

Ladies, be sure to carry a pair of boots or sneakers in your trunk in case you should breakdown. Dress shoes are not good for walking in an emergency situation.


An old warm coat and gloves left in the trunk is also handy to have.

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March 4, 2005

You never know when you could break down in bad weather and eventhough you have a cell phone, you never know how long it will be until the tow truck will be there. So here are somethings you should keep in a plastic tub in your trunk:

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Keep a couple of big plastic trash bags in your car - trunk, tool box, or gear box - they will help keep the grease and grime off your clothes when you need to change a tire, attach or detach a trailer to the hitch, or add oil/radiator fluid under the hood.

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I find that keeping a blanket in your car for emergencies is a wonderful idea. I used to keep a sleeping bag when I lived in areas that would have snow in the winter for warmth.

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June 20, 2005

For emergency purposes, stash a $20. or more, somewhere in your car, so only you know where it is (maybe your spouse, too), in case you leave home with no money in your wallet, purse, or are pickpocketed.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 7, 2001

I want to keep an auto emergency kit. What are your suggestions for things to go in it? Thanks!

By MTeel


September 18, 20010 found this helpful

One important item to include with your other items in your auto kit is a large size coffee can with lid that can be used for an emergency potty. Should you get stuck for several hours in a traffic shutdown you are prepared; especially handy if you have children.

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September 25, 20010 found this helpful

A blanket or "space" blanket
Rain poncho or other waterproof jacket
Small tool kit with pliers, screwdriver, pocket knife


Some strong wire
Bottle of water
Motor oil and other car fluids (transmission fluid, antifreeze)
Car chains or traction devices
Can of Fix a Flat
Small first aid kit

Also make sure your spare tire and jack are ready for use in case of a flat.

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September 26, 20010 found this helpful

One other item to keep in your emergency kit is duct tape. If one of your hoses develops a hole in it, then you're pretty well stuck. You can use duct tape to seal the hose and will allow you to drive for a short while until you can repair it.

Just remember to wrap the duct tape all the way around the hose several times, and cover couple of inches to either side if it as well.

I had this exact problem a few years ago, and the duct tape kept the seal long enough for me to drive to work the next day and bring my car into the shop so that the hose could be replaced.


- Tony M

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By Tawnda (Guest Post)
May 7, 20040 found this helpful

In addition to other items listed in reply to your request:

*CAR JACK - Also make sure that your car jack works on your car! I bought a car and had to change a flat and the jack was about 1/4" too short! I do not know if this was the jack the manufacturer included with the car because I had bought it used, but it would be smart to do a test on your jack before you get stuck. This could also occur from buying larger sized tires for your car and the jack does not accomodate it. If for some reason you DO get stuck in a situation like that, you can use a 2x4 piece of wood under the stand of the jack to make it taller.
*A cardboard sign you can set in your window to ask passersby to call 9-1-1 for help. If you are alone and are leery of getting out to change a tire, etc. you may just want an officer there to ward off trouble. You never know if your cel phone will be out of range or go dead.

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May 5, 20090 found this helpful

For Cold weather emergencies always keep a warm blanket and a candle or two with matches in a waterproof container. If you have to stop in cold weather to rest or if you get stuck in an icy rut you'll be able to turn off the motor-so you won't use up all your gas nor get carbon monoxide poisoning. Then you can get under your blanket(s) and light the candle in its holder. A single candle wiil be able to keep you warm in a car!
I used this technique successfully once when there was a freezing rain that made it impossible to drive more than 20 mph during a very long night on a two lane highway until I was able to get to the thruway and finally reach home.

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August 5, 20120 found this helpful

Once I was driving on a very icy secondary road by my house, and I could not get up the hill. Because I was coming from grocery shopping I just happened to have a can of table salt in my car, so I sprinkled some of the salt on the ice and I was able to get past the patch and to my house. A little bit of road salt or sand kept in a coffee can might not be a bad thing to keep in your trunk, if you live in a snowy place.

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