Best Car Emergency Kit Reviews (2020)
Owning a car is certainly convenient. Unfortunately, car ownership has some drawbacks. One of these is that it’s virtually guaranteed that you will have some sort of car-related emergency eventually. If you’ve ever found yourself stranded roadside, you know what that’s like.
It’s no fun, but you can get through these situations unscathed if you’re prepared. Keep your car well maintained. Use a service like AAA. Always keep a fully stocked, car emergency kit in your vehicle. To help with the last item on the list, check out these top five best car emergency kits.
Car Emergency Kits Review
1) Lifeline AAA Road Kit
It’s not surprising that AAA has come out with its own roadside emergency kit. We think that it’s a decently priced option. It’s a very good, basic car emergency kit. You’ll get jumper cables, first aid kit, flashlight, and a few other items.
The real selling point here is durability. Every piece, including the case, will last quite a long time. This is a useful kit from a reputable company.
2) Kolo Sports Auto Emergency Kit
This 156 piece kit is our most expensive option. We think it’s worth every dime. Unlike other kits that boast a large number of products, there are no throwaway items here. Everything is well-made and potentially useful. It’s truly useful in any emergency.
This kit has a multi-piece tool kit, a tire repair kit, reflective triangles, battery cables, fully stocked first aid kit, and many other items. This is a great kit for inexperienced drivers because it contains so many items that they may not realize they need. This earns our rating of top car emergency kit.
3) Aootek Upgraded 268 Piece Survival Kit
This kit truly has everything. Even better, it’s a great value option in our guide. More than a car emergency kit. This is a true survival kit. If you go offroading, car camping, or otherwise spend time in the backcountry, you need this.
This kit has a fully loaded first aid kit, tools, knives, scissors, fishing equipment, saws, a compass, firestarters, and so much more. The only drawback is that it doesn’t contain many of the standard items that would come in your standard emergency car kit. Still, combine this with one of the budget car kits on this list, and you will be able to survive some pretty intense situations.
4) Top Gear Roadside Assistance Kit
This kit from top gear is the second priciest on our list, but it contains some truly useful. In fact, there are a few things here that we didn’t find in other kits. One of these is a safety whistle. The other is a hand charged flashlight that doesn’t require any batteries. Both are important safety items that are well worth considering.
In addition to these extras, this car kit has several standard items. These include a reflective vest, first aid kit, booster cables, and a bungee cord.
5) WNG Brands Roadside Assistance Emergency Car Kit
Another great option included in our guide that comes in the middle of the pack as far as pricing is concerned. Still, we rank this as one of the best value car emergency kits that we’ve found to date. It’s got a wide range of useful products. These include a tow strap, first aid kit, safety vest, jumper cables, LED flashlight, tire pressure gauge, emergency blanket, and more.
The kit comes in a durable case that will store behind your seat, in your trunk, or in the spare tire compartment. This mid-priced car emergency kit will help you out in nearly any situation.
What to Look For in a Great Car Kit For Roadside Emergencies
- Do you feel comfortable making your own repairs? If so, look for a kit that has a decent repair kit. If not, prioritize safety items like reflector triangles, a flashlight, and first aid kit.
- How much room do you have? If you have limited space in your trunk or backseat, you may need to choose a smaller emergency kit for your car. This ensures you have room for your spare tire and other items.
- What do you already have? If your car is equipped with a tool kit and first aid kit, you can pick an emergency set that’s a little more basic.
With a little bit of planning, you should be prepared for any car-related emergency for well under 100 dollars.
Best Car Emergency Kit Buying Guide
For most car enthusiasts there are many more exciting car accessories to spend their money on than an emergency kit. It’s not going to make your car look better and neither will it improve the performance.
So what’s the big deal?
According to statistics, there are over 6 million car accidents every year which equates to around 16,438 every day. While we hope that every one of our visitors remains safe, statistically at some point you will be involved in an accident even if it’s just something minor.
And that’s just accidents, so what about breakdowns? Would you believe that it is around 69 million a year, so your chances of breaking down at some point in the year is 1 in 3.
Hopefully, these sobering figures help you realize why a roadside emergency kit might be a worthwhile purchase. We aren’t here to lecture but purchasing an emergency kit at the very least might make things a little more comfortable if you break down and at the best, save your life in an emergency.
If you carry passengers you have other people’s welfare to think about as well, and while you might say it will never happen to me, that’s what just about everyone says though the stats prove otherwise.
Being prepared also means that you can potentially deal with the issue faster. If you have a car breakdown and it’s a small repair that you can fix yourself you won’t have to rely on roadside assistance if you have the right tools in your emergency kit.
What Items are Included in a Car Emergency Kit
If you’ve checked out the emergency car kits that we have reviewed you will see that they range from a 42 piece to a 256 piece set. Most will include a flashlight, jumper cables, and first aid kit at minimum other items will vary. You’ll also find standalone kits for repairs, safety, and first aid. We will discuss all the different items that you might need for vehicle safety shortly. You’ll have to realize that even the best emergency kit that money can buy won’t necessarily have every item you’ll ever need.
The Features To Consider When Buying a Car Emergency Kit
The first consideration to think about is where and how you use your vehicle. If you live in an urban environment and only use your car to commute to work and back you might not need the same items in your emergency kit as those who live in a rural area. It will also depend on factors such as the weather conditions in your part of the country if you have harsh winters you’ll need to consider emergency blankets and tools such as ice scrapers, it might mean purchasing a kit and supplementing the existing items with some winter-specific ones.
Items Included and Quality
As we have discussed earlier roadside emergency kits can vary vastly in the number of different items they contain. If you want to be as prepared as possible the more items the better, you’ll never know what you need until the emergency occurs. At the same, there is no point in buying a huge kit and finding that the components are of poor quality and will be of limited use if you breakdown or have an accident.
As well as providing a great place to store all your emergency kit the case it comes with should help you keep all your essentials organized so that you aren’t scrambling around looking for them when you experience an accident or breakdown. Most are compact enough to easily fit in a trunk and will be easily transportable they will usually either be soft cases made from fabric or hard case ones that are usually constructed from hard plastic.
If you haven’t got much room in your car you can always split the kit up if it is to big but just make sure that you know where you have put everything.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $25 to $50 for a good emergency kit and a bit more if it includes extras such as air compressors. You will probably want to buy some other add-on items and how much you spend on these will depend on how prepared you want to be. The bottom line is that even if you invest a hundred bucks in your roadside emergency kit, it will give you peace of mind and could ultimately save your life.
Items To Consider for Car Safety When On The Road
While this isn’t the ultimate list of all the items you should consider having handy in your car in case of a roadside emergency it is pretty close. Many of the items will already be contained in the best emergency kits but you might need to add a few extra items to your shopping basket.
Flashlight and Headlamp
Most emergency kits will contain a flashlight of some description and we deem this an essential item. Unless you purchase an emergency hand crank flashlight you should always have replacement batteries on hand and regularly check to make sure it is still working. As well as a flashlight a headlamp is useful it means that you have both hands free to carry out repairs or other tasks. While we’d say chose a flashlight over a headlamp having both at hand would be the best option.
Another essential item that should be in all vehicles. A basic medical kit should include items such as band-aids, bandages, sterile gauze, pain relief tablets, tweezers, anti-septics, scissors, safety pins and antibiotic ointment. You might want to add other items depending on if you or other members of your family have pre-existing medical conditions such as a prescription medication. You might also want to other non-essentials such as hand-sanitizer or sunscreen. Remember to replace anything that you use from the kit and also to check that none of the items has passed their expiry dates.
A good set of jumper cables is a must-have, you’ve probably done it, left the headlights on and returned to a dead battery. Having the best set of cables you can that are going to perform when you need them should be at the top of your list.
Portable Jump Starter
While a portable jump starter will likely double your roadside emergency kit budget it does mean that you can jumpstart your car without having to rely on the assistance of another vehicle. They can also be used to charge your smartphone and are compact enough to fit in a glove box. Not a core item for your kit but if you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery it will be worth every cent you paid.
Window Breaker and Seatbelt Cutter
These are two car kits emergency items that should be close at hand. If you need to get out of your vehicle and fast they are the accessories that could save your life. If the kit you purchase doesn’t contain these emergency escape tools then they are an inexpensive investment for what could be a choice of life or death.
Reflective Warning Triangle
A reflective warning triangle will give other drivers plenty of warning that you are ahead. The triangle should be placed enough distance before your vehicle to give other cars time enough to slow down and avoid causing any further accidents.
To tell you the truth the majority of drivers won’t have a fire extinguisher in their car. The newer car fire extinguishers that are made these days are reasonably lightweight and small enough to store out of the way. You’ll want an extinguisher that is rated for class A, B and C fires. If your vehicle is a camper van or RV a fire extinguisher is even more important with the more electrical items to catch fire as well as cooking appliances.
These are great survival gadgets not just for the car but for bringing along on camping or hiking trips. You’ve likely seen or heard of some of the famous brands such as Swiss Army and Leatherman. They are small enough to carry in your pocket so you could carry one around at all times. A multi-tool will contain all sorts of useful items such as a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire strippers bottle and can openers all in one useful gadget.
You’ll always find a use for duct tape if you need to temporarily fix something until you can get your car home or to a garage shop then duct tape is usually the answer. As a last resort, you can use it for first aid if for some reason your can’t get to a first aid kit.
While we wouldn’t describe this item as an essential nothing sucks more than changing a tire or dealing with a breakdown in the pouring rain. A rain poncho won’t take up much room and you can guarantee when you breakdown the situation it is always going to be compounded by the scorching sun, a blizzard or torrential rain!
Portable Phone Charger
Portable phone chargers are an inexpensive addition to add to your roadside emergency kit and can be used to charge your phone or other small devices even if you’re not in an emergency situation. Make sure that you buy one with multiple USB ports that way you can charge more than one device at the same time.
It can get cold and very quick in certain conditions and this is when hypothermia can be an issue with your body losing heat faster than it can produce it. To protect yourself from this situation ever occurring an emergency blanket or space blanket as they are often should be part of your roadside emergency equipment. Many of the kits have this as standard but if not they are inexpensive enough to purchase as an add-on.
Some of the more expensive kits come with an air compressor included. If it isn’t included with your kit you can still pick up a small portable air compressor that can be stored in the trunk of your car. If you get a flat when you are off the beaten track then an air compressor could be a godsend.
Food and Drink
Food and water are going to make that wait for roadside assistance a little more comfortable and if you are stuck somewhere for longer will keep you from getting dehydrated. Plain water and foods that won’t perish easily are the best options, for instance, energy and protein bars. Some of the specially designed emergency food bars or rich in calories and have long shelf lives so we’d go for them rather than the standard ones you pick up at a grocery store.
If you are going to leave bottled water in your car make sure that it is out of the way of direct sunlight. It’s been known for sunlight to cause fires if sunlight passes through it at the right angle.
➡️ Where should I store my car emergency kit while on the road?
The majority of drivers tend to keep their car emergency kits in the trunk alongside the spare tire. Ideally, you’ll want it out the way but easy to get to if an emergency arises. There are certain items that you’ll want to keep close by such as a seatbelt cutter and a glass-breaking hammer, so you’ll maybe want to keep them in your glove compartment. Food, water, and your first aid kit could be stored under a seat. Emergency repair items can be stored in the trunk.
My car emergency kit has been stored in the trunk of my vehicle for a few years is it still OK?
Maybe, maybe not! It’s certainly a good idea to inspect your emergency kit from time to time as certain items can deteriorate over time. Check that any medications in your first aid kit aren’t out of date, test any electrical equipment as well as items such as jumper cables.
➡️ What should be included in a winter emergency kit?
You’ll want all the items that you usually carry in your regular kit but a few extras. We’d suggest an emergency blanket and some spare warm weather clothes on hand. You’ll also want an ice scraper and tow strap and tire chains are always a good idea though unless you are really off the map not an essential.
➡️ What should be included in a summer emergency kit?
If you are driving in one of the hotter parts of the USA then there are a few extras to consider. As your vehicle stands a lot more chance of overheating in the summer months we would suggest carrying some extra coolant. If you breakdown and you have to walk any distance some sunscreen is a good purchase to prevent yourself from getting burnt as well as a sunhat as you don’t want to get sunstroke. We’d also suggest a 5-litre water carrier and some electrolytes.
➡️ Conclusion and our Top Picks
We hope that you have found the best kit for your needs, even the most basic is going to be a lot better than nothing at all. As well as that you can always add to your emergency roadside kit with the specific extra items that you feel are essential to you.
To recap the 5 best emergency kits that we rated were the American Automobile Association road kit and as you can expect this is a high-quality and durable product and while it wasn’t the biggest it includes all the essentials.
This was followed by the Kolo Sports Roadside Kit which is a little pricier but does contain 150 items including a bonus 25 piece multipurpose tool-kit and a tire repair kit. The Aootek 268 piece survival kit will prepare you for any disaster situation and is ideal for the more adventurous road trips you might undertake.
The Top Gear Premium Roadside kit is an affordable kit and if you are a big fan of the show you get a branded case and an ‘I am the Stig’ window cling as well as all the necessary items you would expect. Last on the list of the best emergency kits is the highly-rated Roadside Assistance Kit from WNG with a solid variety of safety items included,