There are many types of auto kits, auto roadside kits, auto emergency kits and auto survival kits; you need to be careful what you purchase because while you may think auto kits are all the same, they are not.

Many of us realize the importance of vehicle maintenance, and the significance of an auto emergency kit. Whether you are just commuting back and forth to work, or planning a cross-country trip, you should have an auto kit. Generally speaking, the more passengers

Help Flag 36" x 24" w/grommets
Help Flag 36″ x 24″ w/grommets

you normally have in your mode of transport and the more you use your vehicle, mileage wise, the larger the kit should be. For example, if you generally just commute a short distance, alone, a smaller kit will probably accomplish the requirements when needed. Likewise, if you are a “soccer Mom,” and transport your children to multiple places and events, you would want a larger auto emergency kit to keep the passengers comfortable, warm, and occupied and have food and water. It may be hours or even days, depending on the circumstances, before help arrives.

Auto kits, Auto Roadside Kits, Auto Emergency Kits, Auto Survival Kits

You may find several similar auto kits, and some kits that are just a waste of space in your car. The following is a recommendation that most emergency disaster preparedness agencies will agree with. Comparable to a home or camping survival kit, an auto emergency kit should meet survival requirements. Be cautious in what you purchase because there is a difference between an auto kit and auto roadside kit which generally only has equipment (jumper cables, reflective markers); and an auto emergency kit that includes survival supplies (food and water, warmth and shelter). What an auto kit contains is what differentiates an auto kit from an auto survival kit, so its contents, while traveling, are of special importance.

Basic Contents of an Auto Kit or Auto Roadside Kit:

  • Rechargeable Flashlight
  • Emergency Survival Blanket
  • Tow Rope
  • Car Battery Jumper Cables
  • Reflective Triangle or road flares
  • Oil Funnel
  • Small First Aid Kit

Contents of an Auto Emergency Kit or Auto Survival Kit should also include:

  • First Aid Kit                           Pencil and paper
  • Flashlight                              Batteries
  • Food (long-term)                    Water
  • Clean change of clothes           Jacket or Coat
  • Warmth – blanket                    Contact List
  • Emergency cash (about $20.00)          Tarp

Winter is here, so in addition to the above minimalist list, you also should be prepared to obtain help in case of an emergency. Swerving and sliding on winter roads can cause your vehicle to go off the road. If it happens on a dark gloomy night, you could be there for quite some time before rescue arrives. A multiple number of scenarios; including weather, road conditions, other drivers and vehicle problems, give rise to another part of a well-planned emergency auto kit.

Major additional contents in a comprehensive Auto Emergency Kit should include:

  • Car Battery Jumper Cables
  • Reflective Triangle, marker or flares
  • Shovel – Multi-Function
  • Work Gloves
  • Bungee Cord(s)
  • Tire Pressure Gauge
  • Duct Tape
  • Tarp
  • Phone charger
  • Swiss Army Style Knife
  • Poncho or rain gear

You may also want to consider:

  • Ice and snow scrapers      Window breaker
  • HELP flag                        Whistle
  • Rope                              Cat Litter (for traction on ice and snow)
  • Hygiene kit                      Hand or Body warmers

A comprehensive auto survival kit would include all the items listed above, and in some cases more as recommended by the Registry of Motor Vehicles such as:

  • Set of tire chains. Know how to install these beforehand.
  • Fuses. There are several types, so make sure you have the right ones for your car.
  • Tools: pliers, flat and Phillips-head and Torx screwdrivers, and an adjustable wrench.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Motor oil, antifreeze, water and other auto fluids, such as brake and transmission fluids
  • Rags

You see, when tragedy happens, you do not know what you may need, or when you may it. If you can, at least prepare yourself for a breakdown, or an accident. At best, give yourself the peace of mind knowing that if you have the need to use the auto kit, your auto emergency kit is already in the car.