10 Things Your Friends Should Always Have in the Car

Duct Tape
It isn’t just for prom dresses, it can also be used to reattach your muffler and other car parts that may wriggle loose on long car trips. Duct tape is an excellent temporary fix for side-swiped mirrors, tears in the upholstry, and other quick fixes until a more permanent solution can be put in place. I’ve actually had to duct tape my car door closed once because the latch would no longer catch. Thank goodness I had duct tape or my passenger would have been holding the door closed the whole ride home. Now our formally purple van has a green passenger door.

Try changing a tire without WD-40 and you’ll wish you had some nearby. Guys, let’s face it, girly girls probably don’t know what WD-40 is, much less how to use it. Help them out by making sure they keep some in the car and know what it’s used for. You’ll probably still get a call the next time they have a flat, but at least you won’t be trying to loosen those lug nuts without it.

Tin Can with a Candle (and Matches)
things you should always have in your car tin and candlesSimple but effective, a candle won’t keep you from shivering, but it could save your life. A single candle generates enough heat to keep you from freezing to death; the tin keeps the candle wax from getting all over your friend’s car. They’ll thank you for that after the frozen toes and fingers return to a normal color. Blankets are nice and may feel warmer at first, but it only traps your existing body heat. Once your core temperature begins to drop, the blanket won’t be as much help as a candle. Make sure your friend knows not to leave the car running. This will eat up the gas and potentially cause carbon-monoxide to build up in the cabin.

Jumper Cables
This should be a given, but not everyone keeps jumper cables in the car. If you’re tired of getting woken up and asked to jump the car (PS could you please bring your jumper cables, thanks), make sure your friend has a pair as well.

First Aid Kit
You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to be prepared. Bandaids, antibiotics, pain killer, you never know what you or your friend may need, especially on long road trips. The larger first aid kits can be stocked with food and water, essential if you live in an area prone to blizzards or other bad weather. This is also a good location to stash that tin candle.

Owner’s Manual
This might not be the first thing you consider when buying a used car, but when car shopping with your friend, make sure they have the owner’s manual before they hand over the down payment. Vital to taking good care of a car, the owner’s manual let’s your friend know how often to rotate tires, take it in for oil change, change the wiper blades (yep, gotta do that too), and other car maitenence essentials.

Spare Tire
things you should always keep in your car spare tireThe next three really go together. Out of the group, the spare tire is the most important. You can call AAA and wait for someone with a car jack and lug wrench, but if your friend doesn’t have a spare tire, you’re still stuck, or at least the car is. Though it seems like common sense, many of us are guilty of removing the tire to make extra room for “more important things,” like camping gear, bicycles, and other things that won’t get your car back on the road. If they can afford it, encourage friends and family members to buy a fifth tire for the spare, otherwise a donut (undersized tire for emergencies) works in a pinch.

Car Jack
Unless you’re planning on lifting your friend’s car while they change the flat (do not attempt), you’re going to be stuck without a car jack. Very important for off roading, jacks can also help get you out of the mud and make it easier to reach things that have rolled under the car. Friend not a fan of physical labor? The exhaust air jack connects to the exhaust pipe and fills that way. How have I not heard of this before?

Lug Wrench
Spare tire? Check. Car propped up on a jack? Check. Lug Wrench? No? The spare tire is pretty useless if you can’t get the flat off first. Again, if your friend isn’t one who likes flexing the muscles and exserting physical strength, there are automatic options. If they go this route, make sure the batteries are fresh or there’s another way to keep it charged.

Visa® Gift Card
Visa Gift Card Green GasolineSafer than cash, if the Visa Gift Card was purchased and activated through GiftCard.com, we can replace it if lost or stolen. Visa Gift Cards are the duct tape of the gift world. Because they can be used wherever Visa debit cards are accepted, keeping one in the car can mean the difference between getting home and running out of gas.

Rebecca Killam
Consumer Marketing Manager

Visa Gift Card is issued by Sunrise Banks, N.A. pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. Sunrise Banks, N.A.; Member FDIC.

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