Chicago Auto Show Blog

12 Essentials Items to Store in your Car for the Winter

Posted by: Erin Guth

Ever heard of Murphy's Law? "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." With that in mind, a flat tire or an engine failure would surely occur in the dead of Chicago winter.  Don't get stuck in a bad scenario for which you're unprepared. One of the top things on your 'prepare for winter' to-do list (besides move to warmer city and state) should be to assemble an emergency kit to store in the trunk of your vehicle.

While emergency car kits are available for purchase, the majority of these items can be found in your house. Here are the 12 essential items you should store in your car for the winter.

  • Tire gauge - The air pressure in tires changes with the temperature. Be sure to routinely check the pressure of all tires- including the spare!
  • Flares - If you are stopped on the side of the road for any reason at night, it is critical that you let other cars know you're there so they slow down and take caution. Flares are a good way to alert other drivers of your whereabouts.
  • Blanket - For warmth - in the terrible instance you are stranded without heat for a long period of time.
  • Flashlight - More accidents occur at night, when it's dark and hard to see. Pack a few extra batteries as well to be safe.
  • Ice scraper - Your windshield will most likely be frozen over each winter morning if you live in Chicago. Don't be caught driving to work with your head out the window because you don't have an ice scraper.
  • Jumper cables - For your sake or the sake of your spouse or friend who may be stuck in because his or her car battery died.
  • First-aid kit - Including, but in no ways limited to, Band-Aids, rubbing alcohol, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, gauze pads, and safety scissors.
  • Fire extinguisher - It's always smart to be fully prepared for any situation that comes your way.
  • Necessary car fluids - Engine oil and antifreeze make the most sense. You should not carry a full gas can in your trunk.
  • Extra food and water - If you're in the middle of nowhere, it could take hours for a tow truck or a friend to come to the rescue. It's always a good idea to have a few snacks and some water on hand.
  • Extra coat, gloves, and a hat - You can never be too warm and no one likes frost bites.
  • Sand, kitty litter, or salt - These items can help when a tire is stuck in a snow bank or on ice. They work as an added traction for the tire to break free from the rut. A small shovel may be able to help as well.

Do you have any other suggested items for a trunk emergency kit? If so, tweet them to us @ChiAutoShow! To be further prepared for the cold weather ahead read our blog post on the 5 steps to winterize your car.

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