5 BEST Car Emergency Kits to Have on Hand in a Jam

In a perfect world, everyone would have a set of tools in their car with all the skills to get back up and running when disaster strikes. Although, that same world probably wouldn’t even have breakdowns because every vehicle would be in tip-top shape and all roads would be safe to travel. Obviously, the real world looks nothing like this. Potholes destroy tires and parts break. And while you can’t predict when or why it will happen, you can be prepared. Read on as we break down some the best car emergency kits to have on hand.

Performance Tool Roadside Safety Tool Kit

If you don’t travel far and you live in a well-populated area with a mild climate, you probably aren’t looking for much more than the basics. Similarly, if you’re working within a small budget but still want to be prepared, Performance Tool makes a roadside safety tool kit with the fundamental elements to keep you safe. In this compact kit, you’ll find gloves, jumper cables, a tire gauge, whistle, some fuses and basic hand tools. At $20, it won’t get you out of a true disaster, but could probably save your hide in a jam or two.

AAA Lifeline Premium Road Kit

Maybe covering the basics appeals to you, but you favor safety over repair. The king of roadside assistance, AAA, offers a premium starter kit to suit your needs. This roadside bundle provides a few less tools than the kit listed above, but makes up for it in first aid necessities. With antiseptic towelettes, clean bandages, and a sting relief pad this kit can handle small bumps and bruises that may arise during travel. The booster cables, screwdriver, flashlight, and duct tape can handle average inconveniences. And the thoughtfully-added poncho and shop cloth can keep you dry and covered! At around $30, this is one of the best car emergency kits you can have on hand if you don’t expect too much trouble.

Performance Tool airTIGHT Premium Roadside Kit

But what if you pop a tire and your spare is flat? Those band-aids aren’t going to do you any good then, will they? Well, Performance Tool comes to the rescue yet again with its airTIGHT Premium Roadside Kit. Ranging from $30-$50 depending on the retailer, this kit offers the basic tools and safety gear, but adds in an air compressor. We recommend throwing some first aid essentials in the convenient carry case. While those bandages won’t patch a tire, they will cover any busted knuckles.

Survival Supply Roadside Essential

With a name like Survival Supply, you can be sure that safety is the name of the game. This roadside essentials kit lacks many of the tools of other kits, but supplies everything you’d need for other motorists—and that tow truck—to see you. With an emergency whistle, Call Police banner, LED flashlight, safety flares, and a decent first aid kit, Survival Supply ensures you won’t panic next time you find yourself stuck on the side of the road. And at less than $30, that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Survival Supply All-in-One Winter Roadside Kit

If you live in an area that sees a harsh winter, it’s never too early to start planning accordingly. Even the most basic of road kits can offer some assistance in a jam. But in a full-blown winter storm? Well, you need to think bigger. Luckily, Survival Supply is back with a solution. The All-in-One Winter Roadside kit focuses on safety and survival, so you won’t find a robust cache of hand tools. However, it does provide a sturdy and collapsible shovel, an ice scraper, battery cables, and a tow strap as well as a 34-piece first aid kit, reflective safety gear, hand warmers, and a space blanket.

As anyone who’s had to wait out a nasty snowfall in their car will tell you—staying safe and warm is more important than tinkering in the cold. At roughly $70, this kit costs a little more up front but we still think it’s one of the best car emergency kits you can have on hand. Even Consumer Reports agrees!

Tailor As You See Fit

While being prepared is half the battle, even the best car emergency kits can’t cover everything. Don’t be afraid to add to your road kit as you see fit. Maybe that means more first aid supplies or a stash of snacks. Spare meds, extra diapers, and a change of clothes are all minor items that can be a real blessing in disguise. Even a deck of cards can feel like a saving grace when you and the family are on hour two of waiting for that tow truck. But above all, if the road ahead looks dangerous or the car you’re driving isn’t in great shape, find a detour or consult a professional before you head out on that trip. Emergency kits are important, but so is preventing the problem before it starts.

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