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The Absolute Essentials You Need In Your Car

Author: Jason Snyman
Date: 2019-08-27
Every car should be carrying a couple of essential items, just in case the worst should happen. To help you prepare, we put together a list of items to add to your supplies, from nice-to-haves to absolute-must-haves!

There comes a time when every motorist needs to start taking their vehicle seriously. This doesn’t just amount to maintaining it or insuring it, but also getting the best out of it. No, we’re not talking about superchargers, NOS systems or performance chips – we’re talking about kitting it out for everyday travels.

All motorists need to ask themselves a few important questions.

  • Could you find your way home without GPS?
  • If your car should break down in the middle of nowhere, due to engine failure, a flat battery or some other issue, what would you do?
  • How much driving do you do every day, and are you in close proximity to assistance in the event of an emergency?
  • How old is your car, does it have a history of problems and what are they?
  • What would you do if you or somebody with you sustains an injury?

Some people make pretty good use of their car’s storage space, others do not. We’ve put together a list of essential items to keep in your car for when the unexpected occurs. You probably wouldn’t need everything on this list, and some might not have the room for everything, but it’s always good to be as prepared as possible.

In the end, it all depends on how much time you spend in your car, and what purpose your car really serves. If you’re living in the city – in close proximity to all sorts of assistance in an emergency – you’ll probably find that your list of ‘essentials’ won’t be very long.

On the other hand, if you find yourself driving long, desolate roads through the Karoo, or winding through the mountains on a regular basis, you’ll probably want to look into some careful provisioning.

Without further ado…

The Absolute Essentials

There are a couple of items which every motorist should have in their vehicle at all times, without question. Some of these are incredibly obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many South Africans go about their lives without them. Excluding, of course, your driver’s licence and some extra cash on hand, these are:

  • Emergency contact numbers in a notebook;
  • A spare tyre, in good condition;
  • A reliable carjack;
  • Jumper cables;
  • A wheel spanner, and a pair of work gloves;
  • Your car’s user manual;
  • A reflective triangle, to make your position visible in the dark;
  • An affordable little toolkit. 

Building A Reliable Emergency Kit

A good first-aid kit is one of the most basic items everyone should possess, whether for home or your car. It should be stocked with the essential items you might need in the event of a medical emergency, such as gauze, bandages, band-aids, burn ointment, painkillers, antiseptic, disinfectant or even feminine hygiene products.

You can pick up great first-aid kits at any good pharmacy, and you can always replenish the items as you need them.


None of us are looking to go out and put all our Bear Grylls knowledge to use, but tricky situations could arise. You don’t want to end up stranded somewhere in the cold or the rain , starving, thirsty, lost and with no means of finding any help. So, sometimes you’ve just got to be prepared.

  • A working flashlight with spare batteries;
  • Snacks;
  • Matches, a lighter or some other fire starter;
  • A sharp knife;
  • Adequate drinking water;
  • A physical map book or street directory;
  • A spare blanket and a warm jacket;
  • Raincoat or umbrella;
  • A car adapted charger for your phone, either USB or plugged into the lighter socket. A charged power bank also comes in handy;
  • Comfortable walking shoes;
  • An empty bottle or fuel canister. 

Beyond The Essentials

It’s always a good idea to have some sort of container on hand, in order to carry whatever you might need. Invest in a ruck sack or a gym bag – which will also allow you to keep all the smaller odds and ends of your essentials together in your boot. 

  • A roll of duct tape and a pack of cable ties;
  • A couple of spare headlight globes and fuses;
  • Tow rope or cable;
  • A tyre pressure guage;
  • A tyre inflation kit;
  • Pencil and notebook;
  • A roll of toilet paper;
  • Tyre sealant, to patch a small leak;
  • A small fire extinguisher – particularly if you’re driving an old VW Beetle; 
  • Spare motor oil and brake fluid;
  • A small shovel. 

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