45 Useful Things To Keep In Your Car So You'll Always Be Ready To Hit The Road

You never know when you'll have the spontaneous urge to go on a weekend road trip.
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Salty snacks from the gas station, a good playlist on the radio — there’s nothing like hitting the highway for a weekend road trip. That is, until you get a flat tire, lose your phone under the passenger seat and spill an entire iced coffee in the cup holders. But like a bright-eyed boy scout, you too can be always prepared with these helpful auto gadgets to keep in your car.

Between traffic jams and dead batteries, cars can be stressful. But rest assured, these auto gadgets are here to make driving a little easier, even in the rain or snow. Whether you’re a daily driver or just take your car to the food market once a week, these tools will help you stay cool, calm and collected when you’re on the go.

From all-weather gear to car cleaning products, these user-friendly products are compact enough to store in your car and will totally come in handy.

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A digital tire inflator complete with an LED light
You can also include use it to blow up balls, air mattresses, or anything else that needs inflating.

Promising review: "I was panicked when I went to my car the other night and had a flat tire. I had no idea how to change my tire, as my husband always takes care of stuff like that. Luckily a passerby had a small tire inflator like this one in his car. We inflated my tire and I was able to get home safely. The next day I got on Amazon and ordered this one. I immediately tested it and it worked great. It appears to be very well-made and comes in a very nice bag that I tucked away in the back storage compartment. Hopefully, I won’t have to use it any time soon, but if I have another flat tire, this time, I’ll be prepared..." —McintireP

Get it from Amazon for $31.99 (available in three colors).
A roll of black all-weather duct tape to keep in your glove compartment
Promising review: "I love Gorilla tape. It’s so strong. Ever since I used it to seal some windows that were bad and leaky, I’ve had rolls around the house for any other uses that need something strong like this tape. I used this on windows where the glazing was bad and water was getting into the house and it protected them for eight months before I could replace the windows and it kept the water out. I also used it to tape up plastic sheeting before a hurricane and it did not come off during the storm. However, I’ve learned it is not so great on cardboard moving boxes. Yep, this tape rocks." —FireflyJones

Get it from Amazon for $9.98.
A universal smartphone holder compatible with most smartphones
Promising review: "My hands-free smartphone cradle has a good design for attaching to vent. It hasn’t ever come off and feels secure. The method for securing the phone is good too. Button on back releases the ratchet-like mechanism that tightens and loosens arms. Just squeezing arms together tightens the phone securely in the holder. I was concerned I’d lose airflow but the air just pushes out around it. I love using the phone's GPS instead of the vehicle's one and my new Beam Electronics holder allows me to do just that. Holds iPhoneX securely." —Teddy B

Get it from Amazon for $14.99.
Or a cup holder phone mount that you don't have to clip on anything
Promising review: "I had to travel by myself across four states in an emergency situation. This cell holder worked perfectly. I am older and wanted it for eye level. It fit the cup holder and the ones between the bucket seats. Comes with extenders for larger cup holders, too. I was on so many highways with horrendous pot holes and bumps. This holder never wavered or bounced out. I had the neck fully extended and it was perfect for me. It can be set sideways and can be charged while in the holder. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!" —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $24.99.
A durable, three-pocket folding car trunk organizer to keep everything in place
Promising review: "It was just what I needed for my messy and unorganized truck! I wanted something not too bulky, but just the right size to help me reorganize my trunk. This product did that for me. I was also concerned that it’ll move when I drove but luckily there is Velcro on the bottom that secures it in place while you drive, and sure enough it did just that! This product does not take up a lot of space and gives you the right amount of room to place other things like groceries and a suitcase. I am completely satisfied and content with this product! I wish I had it all along!" —sheneese

Get it from Amazon for $17.66
A teeny-tiny trash can, because it's pretty much the cutest thing ever.
Promising review: "It’s ridiculous how much I love these! The push part is on a spring so it stays closed when you aren’t pushing it, and of course it perfectly fits in the cup holder of our vehicles. Pro tip: a quart-size Ziploc is the perfect size to add as a liner and fold over the top to keep the inside clean!" —Chaos Coordinator

Get it from Amazon for $8.99+ (available in four colors).
Or a car trash can to at least attempt to keep a clean and tidy car
Promising review: "I finally got tired of the metal stockpot I’d been using as a vehicle trash 'can' and bought this item. Best decision I made that day. Sturdy sided with a rubber gasket lid so my two dogs can’t spill it everywhere. Interior has plastic baggie-esque liner but I use a grocery bag in it for easy emptying. Oh! And it has these two wonderful clips that hold the grocery bag in place. Genius! I bought the larger one to also use in camper van. This is a well-designed vehicle trash can." —Patts44ok

Get it from Amazon for $12.70+ (available in three sizes).
A two-sided wheel desk that'll let you dine from the comfort of your car
Promising review: "As a traveling sales guy, I spend A LOT of time working in my car. Until now, I have wrestled with balancing my laptop on the console, on my lap, or up against the steering wheel. I was actually looking for some sort of passenger seat desk when I came across this tray, and I decided for I would try it before springing for something more expensive. The result? This is perfect! Two seconds to set up and it holds the laptop in a perfect location. WORKS GREAT!!!!" —ChrisH

Get it from Amazon for $8.97 (available in two colors).
A front seat organizer perfect for snacks, water, and other documents
Promising review: "The perfect medium-sized bag. Exactly what I was looking for to hold all the crap I have to have in my car. I have five grandsons who ride in my car so my car has always been a disaster. This bag holds all their stuff — face masks, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bandages etc....it even has an insulated pocket for a water bottle. Also, with the clip it’s easy to remove or swing around to the back of the seat if needed." —Melinda P.

Get it from Amazon for $24.99.
A car diagnostic scanner to see what's wrong with your car
Don't forget to clip the coupon before checking out for an extra 5% off!

Promising review: "I needed to replace an older OBD2 scanner that broke and found a great deal on this one. It feels much more solid than the old one I have, and the larger screen is easier to read. It also provides more information than the old one did, like a voltage readout and signals from all the OBD2 sensors. The cable is nice and long, so I can sit in the driver's seat and read the codes rather than having to stay cramped in the footwell. I tried it on both a GMC Yukon and a Toyota Sienna and there were no issues. I highly recommend it, and it should be required in every shade tree mechanic's toolbox." —J. W.

Get it from Amazon for $25.99.
A pair of lightweight and durable escape tracks to keep handy in the snow
Promising review: "These traction pads are amazing! For anybody who's never used them, essentially you jam them against your drive tires in slick conditions or if you're stuck in sand, and your tires grip them and pull you right out! The bright orange makes them easy to see after digging them into the mud, and the knobs are durable enough to withstand a very large truck's beating. For the price, the quality, the durability, and the hundreds of uses, you can't go wrong with these. If I could give them six stars I would have!" —Arianna

Get them from Amazon for $129.99.
A set of seat gap fillers so you'll never lose your phone under the seat again
Promising review: "I watched the episode of Shark Tank this was on. I have had incidents where things have dropped into the gap between seat and console and what a pain that is! This product is so simple and easy to install. I highly recommend it and wonder why I didn't think of it first." —The Crew Dog

Get the set of two from Amazon for $24.99.
An adorably tiny hanging diffuser to jazz up the inside of your car
Amber & Wood is a small biz located in Indiana that makes thoughtfully sourced goods designed to bring sweet aromas to your space.

Promising review: "I purchased a couple of different scents and I love them all! I couldn't decide which one to use first. The bottles are adorable and small enough to not be obtrusive when driving, but they give off the perfect amount of beautiful scent! I've had mine up for more than two weeks and the scent has not faded one bit. It's still as strong as the first day, even though I tip the bottle daily to release more scent. Incredibly, it's still practically full to the top! This was such a great buy. Everyone who has gotten in my car comments about how nice it smells! I will definitely be back to buy more when I finish my current batch." —Kristen DePascale

Get it from Amber & Wood on Etsy for $8 (available in 23 scents).
A console side pocket with a coin slot so you can always feed the meter
You can order one for the driver's side seat or passenger's side seat.

Promising review: "I put this in last night and went to work today and everything was perfect. I did have to install the foam spacers (included) to make it a really snug fit. It would have still worked without it but I like things perfect. So now the coins go in the coin pocket and my keys and other work-related accessories go in the bigger pocket. This is one of the best cheap life hacks you can get if you're a car person and/or just like being organized and neat." —R

Get it from Amazon for $27.99 (available with or without a cupholder).
An all-purpose car cleaner formulated to remove dirt and grime from upholstery
Promising review: "I have used every product that you can find on the shelves of your local store. When I sprayed the cleaner on the light beige interior of a 25+ year-old car, the interior turned to its original color. After years of detailing, I had assumed at this point, the color was set and that's it; not with this stuff. While cleaning it I literally said out loud, 'No way, no way,' because I was in disbelief at how amazing it worked, and the results are in the compliments I receive from friends." —Andrea Garcia

Get it from Amazon for $16.99.
A set of resin car coasters for added interior decor
Summer Azure Design is a small business based in North Carolina that specializes in resin crafted items.

Promising review: "Amazing...perfect! This is like having the beach in a cup holder! These are beautiful and exactly what I was looking for to put in my Jeep. These coasters give me a little serenity feeling when I look at them. I can hear the roar of the ocean." —Elizabeth J. Yingst

Get two from Summer Azure Design on Etsy for $12.50.
A case of 64 purified water pouches in case of an emergency
Promising review: "This is something you hope you never have to use. I keep some in each of the cars in case of emergency. The stated shelf life is five years, which is good. They are expensive and not intended to be kept as your main emergency supply at your home. Pick up some gallon bottles when on sale at the grocery store for that. If you have the room get some 55-gallon barrels. Better to have more than not enough! Keep these in your car or boat where you can leave them and not have to rotate them for five years." —Chris

Get it from Amazon for $36.89.
A car windshield sunshade to keep your parked car cool
Comes in multiple sizes (depending on your make and model) with a money-back guarantee.

Promising review: "This is super easy to use. Open and put in in the window, can't get any easier than that. My GMC Denali sits outside in the Southeastern NC sun all day and this really made a difference. When I get into my truck I can actually sit on the leather seats without being burned. It also keeps the sun off my dash, which is important down here in the Southeast. I would definitely recommend it.' —Sharon

Get it from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in sizes XS–XL).
A Bigfoot air freshener to pack a punchy pine scent.
Promising review: "A faithful and friendly traveling companion, my very own Big Foot brings not just humor and delight, but the refreshing scents of a Northwest pine forest to my car. Perfect for Jeeps, families, and overcoming the odor of wet Labrador retrievers." —M. Formica

Get it from Amazon for $5.45.
A water-resistant LED flashlight to keep in the glove box
Includes three AAA batteries and will illuminate whatever situation you're in for five hours straight. This flashlight has five modes: high, medium, low, strobe and SOS emergency. And, you can focus the light beam from a wide-angle to a narrow beam zoom.Promising review: "This is a wonderful flashlight. It’s super bright with three AAA batteries and has different modes. My favorite function is that it allows you to zoom the light in for small spaces and out for large spaces like anywhere outside. I highly recommend this flashlight for your car, power outages, camping, and looking for lost items. I plan to buy more as gifts because I love it, it’s priced low and works great!" —Rebecca B

Get it from Amazon for $10.99.
A keychain car escape tool with a seatbelt cutter and car window breaker
Promising review: "I work in the medical and rescue field and have to say this is a great product to have on your keychain. One of the concerns I had when buying this was the breakaway portion of the device itself but that was an unfounded fear. This is something that will save your life if you are ever trapped in your own vehicle as it will stay connected to your keys in the ignition which means that you will be able to reach it without a major issue. It will not easily detach without you pulling it off which means it will be available where you want it when you need it. I have nothing negative to say about this and have bought one for my wife as well to have." —Aizrec!

Get it from Amazon for $10.62.
A dog car harness that can also be used as a no-pull walking harness
Promising review: "I’m pretty impressed with this purchase. I was worried that it might be a weird fit because I wasn’t sure what size to get. I ended up buying a medium for my dog and it fit well. He is a Chihuahua-and-Jack Russell mix (body is more of a JR). He is about 19–21 pounds and pretty short. I like that it comes with a detachable strap that has a clip for a seatbelt and a carabiner that seems VERY secure. I think this was a good purchase!" —S N

Get it from Amazon for $13.99+ (available in sizes S–XL and six colors).
A windshield cleaning tool to ensure you can see clearly
Promising review: "I've always had to go through contortions in order to reach the forward edge of my vehicle windshields. I don't know why I never thought of getting one of these earlier. The handle collapsed down for easy storage, and it comes with three pads/socks/booties that are easily removable for washing. I was able to wash both car windows in a matter of minutes, without even having to go to both sides of the car to do it. It even comes with a handy storage bag for keeping everything together and easy to find." —SS

Get it from Amazon for $13.99.
A super large, super warm, super durable military wool blanket to keep in your trunk
Promising review: "This inexpensive washable wool blanket should be in every car, truck, and RV as a 'just in case' item. Be sure to wash it several times before use and tumble dry low. It will shed a lot, but makes the blanket nicer for use. I have one for my dog’s bed as she seems to like the feel of wool to lie on." —Chris J.

Get it from Amazon for $39.99 (available in four colors).
A can of Fix-A-Flat tire inflator to use in a pinch
Promising review: "Bought this as the last resort backup option if I got a flat. Well...got a flat and this was the last chance option. Worked well enough to get me to a shop to get the tire patched without ruining the rim of the wheel. That's what it is for and that's what it did. I give 5 stars." —Dave D

Get it from Amazon for $7.42.
A car jump starter for when you accidentally leave your lights on
So what's in the box? You'll get a GB40 UltraSafe Portable Lithium Car Battery Jump Starter Pack, heavy-duty battery clamps, a 12-volt car charger, a micro USB charging cable, a microfiber storage bag, and a user guide, along with a 1-Year Warranty.

Promising review: "I use a Genius battery tender so this was the brand I searched for. Rattling around in the trunk for a year, it got me started without breaking a sweat. The second time I had to use it, my battery was dead at 6 volts out of 12. The little charger couldn't start the truck and kept connecting and disconnecting with an overcurrent problem. I decided to let the device do its thing. I kept it on the dead battery for 15 minutes and it finally cranked over and started. Amazing. It took every drop of juice this little gizmo could muster and it brought back a battery from the dead safely and automatically and got me unstuck. Best money spent. If it ever dies, I'll replace it with the same brand without hesitation." —Nameless Faceless One

Get it from Amazon for $99.95.
A pair of flex-grip work gloves to ensure your safety if you're checking under the hood
Promising review: "Used for various projects around the house, from working on the car to replacing a light switch. These gloves have held up well with good enough dexterity to handle wiring and good enough padding to feel safe pulling off the lawnmower blade. The touch screen ability with thumb and index finger is nice although quite frankly they are often just too dirty to take advantage of." —Alex

Get it from Amazon for $13+ (available in sizes S–XXL).
A portable solar panel charger if you're ever stuck in the dark
Promising review: "Charged quickly, held its charge for a long time, the flashlight is VERY bright, and it withstood the water-resistance test when it fell in a stream while I was out camping. It's a little slow to charge on solar, but does work. It's best to charge at an outlet or electrical source." —JL

Get it from Amazon for $23.99.
A five-pack of 48-sheet waterproof notebooks for all weather
Promising review: "These are the best notepads I have ever purchased. I work a lot with water so I carry them on my vest or shirt and they handle the water very well. I even showed my coworkers at work by pouring a water bottle on them. It took a bit of damage but not as much if it was a regular paper notepad. They are very durable and strong. I highly recommend them to anyone in a trade or traveling." —Ricki Ramirez

Get it from Amazon for $11.99.
A digital tire pressure gauge to quickly assess your tires
Promising review: "This pressure gauge was a bit more expensive then what I'd like to pay. However, it definitely came in handy at night when I needed to check my tires. The blue light makes the process so much easier to find the stud that sticks out of your tires and check your tire pressure. The device also allows your to switch between pressure units (I just use the PSI). So far I've had this product for six months and haven't need to change to the battery or any problems. I recommend this product." —Annie

Get it from Amazon for $11.99+ (available in three colors).
A four-pack of car headrest hooks to hang all your bags
Promising review: "These are one of those things you don’t know you need until you see them. Very sturdy, not cheap at all. Honestly, I drunk ordered these and I’m super glad I did. I will use them to hook grocery bags on the way back from the grocery store so they don’t fall over. For now...they work great for my umbrella." —Adam S.

Get it from Amazon for $11.97.
An impact and water-resistant dynamo crank radio that also works as a phone charger
Promising review: "I bought this earlier in the year after the California earthquakes to put in my emergency kit. I take it everywhere and on vacation with me. For the past couple of months, it’s lived in the trunk of my car. I took it out to use it today and it’s still completely charged. It’s a bit beat up from being in my trunk but it’s held up amazingly for being thrown around with a softball, softball bat, and all the other things in my trunk. I’m sure it’ll survive an apocalypse." —penguinio

Get it from Amazon for $49.98 (available in five colors).
A tiny emergency kit to sneak in your glovebox
Anne Cate is a woman-owned handmade accessory brand that makes simple yet unique gifts themed after city skylines, people, places, and things. The kit comes with a mini wallet (obvi): a hair tie, lip balm, two floss picks, a sewing kit, adhesive bandages, an emery board, two safety pins, two earring backs, a makeup wipe, two bobby pins, two mints, a deodorant wipe, a Shout wipe, a tampon, hand sanitizer, and pain relievers.

Get it from Anne Cate for $22 (available in a variety of skylines).
A 100-piece first aid kit to always keep you safe
The multipurpose first aid kit includes: 6 antiseptic towelettes, 12 alcohol wipes, 2 antibiotic ointment packets, 10 cotton tip applicators, 1 instant cold compress1 first aid guide 20 adhesive bandages, 30 adhesive bandages, adhesive tape roll, 5 butterfly Closures4 wooden finger splints, 4 gauze pads, 2 gauze pads and 2 gloves.

Promising review: "I bought this first aid kid with the intention of keeping in the car. Having kids, accidents always happen. It is the perfect size to keep in the trunk. It has everything you could need. However, I wish it would have come with more of the normal size or even bigger Band-Aids versus the extremely small ones. But for the price, it was worth every penny!" —julie h

Get it from Amazon for $8.99.
A reusable, quick-drying waterproof rain poncho for all weather
Promising review: "I got this rain poncho just before the big storm in NYC. It saved my backpack, clothes and dignity during the time of commute. The coat falls below the knees and has a room for whatever you want to cover. It has a decent hoodie with adjustable string, one side pocket with sealed zipper, and snap buttons around the arms. The front zipper is rubber sealed as well. It’s a lightweight but fully waterproof rain coat that you can carry around and not worry about being caught in the rain. I’m very happy with this product and design." —Zamira

Get it from Amazon for $18.99 (available in 12 colors).
A tissue holder to hang on your car visor for colds and allergies
Tiger98 is a Texas-based shop that makes fun and useful handmade accessories for your car.

Promising review: "Obsessed! It’s so perfect and exactly what I was looking for. I love the pattern and got a matching trash holder too! It also came with a pack of tissues which I appreciate so much! If I could give it 10 stars I would!" —Traci Adams

Get it from Tiger98 on Etsy for $8 (available in 14 fabric options).
A set of six LED road flares for signaling for help
Promising review: "Excellently designed product. Our FD is using these instead of traditional safety flares. There are flexible light pattern settings and can be used on top of traffic cones or underneath to illuminate. Set on the roadway they can be run over without breaking apart. Magnet is strong for sticking on side of the vehicle or use handy hanger which sits neatly in the groove when not used." —Jacqueline Shadford

Get it from Amazon for $32.99.
A two-pack of static clinging car window shades for an instantly tinted windows
Promising review: "These work great. I thought they might not stay on the windows, but that is not an issue. Contact adhesion is due to the soft plastic-type inner shade liner that also helps cut penetrating sunlight. I've actually forgotten about them being on the windows several times and put the window down only to realize the shade was being 'swiped' into the door. Luckily I was able to catch it in time and run it back up. After pulling this mindless stunt several times, the shades are still 100% like new, working great." —Rich

Get it from Amazon for $12.97.
A Leatherman multi-tool for a 14 things in one.
Promising review: "Great value and quality, I've already bought several as gifts and everyone loves them. I keep one in my car and in my camping gearbox. Anybody familiar with Leatherman knows they make good quality products. The only consideration is the tools on each Leatherman multitool. For the money, this is the best value of all the Leatherman multis. Cheap enough so that if it gets lost or scratched up you won't cry too much. I like that the knife blade is on the outside so that you do not have to unfold the thing to deploy it. The fit and finish just shines quality. There are cheaper multis out there and I've tried them all, in the end, I keep coming back to Leatherman." —Avg. Joe

Get it from Amazon for $69.52.
A Zippo Typhoon matches kit complete with a floatable container
Promising review: "These matches are strong! After lighting one match just to try it out, I realized that they mean business. As soon as the match lit up, you could tell that it was very well designed. I lit it up indoors, not realizing the strength of the flame, and had to walk outside to make sure the fire/smoke was well-ventilated. Even after walking outside, the match itself wasn't even 25% consumed. Meaning, that in an emergency situation, you know that one match will give you a decent time to make sure your fire going. Also, the container itself is very sturdy and waterproof. I fully submerged it and manually kept it underwater for about a minute, as it actually floats. After taking it out and opening it, it was dry as could be. Really happy with these matches!" —JeanTheGeek

Get it from Amazon for $21.95.
A three-pack of windshield de-icer to save your poor hands in the cold
Promising review: "The winter weather here is unpredictable, so some days it’s warm and the next it’s freezing. I come out to a car that needs the windows scraped and defrosted, which takes time I don’t have to spare since I’m typically late getting out the door already. With these handy dandy canisters however I can quickly spray the windows and go! —d Thompson

Get it from Amazon for $41.99.
A 16-count variety pack of Cliff energy bars to have a snack on hand
The variety pack comes with two chocolate chip, two chocolate brownie, two crunchy peanut butter, two blueberry crisp, two white chocolate macadamia nut, two cool mint chocolate, two peanut butter banana, and two surprise flavor bars.

Promising review: "I purchased this box of them to use as a meal replacement in the event of a bugout situation, adding it to my stash of emergency supplies in my car. I already have five of the bars in my BoB. I bet they taste a lot better than a ration bar!" —Kelly

Get it from Amazon for $19.99 (available in three other flavors).
A jar of cleaning gel for those nooks and crannies that never seem to get clean
Promising review: "Where has this been all my life? I never thought to use slime to get the crevices in my car clean. It’s so easy to just press or roll this around in the car picking up the dirt and crumbs vacuums are too stubborn to pick up." —Andrea

Get it from Amazon for $6.99.
A portable car vacuum cleaner that can plug into your car outlet
The car vacuum kit comes with a handheld vacuum, a storage bag, and various attachments, plugs, and filters.

Promising review: "This thing is awesome! I own a 2018 Dodge Durango that sadly does not have leather seats. I own three dogs and it is just a nightmare pulling out my extension cord to vacuum my truck. I can now just plug this little guy into my 12-volt car outlet and I’m good to go! The power in this vacuum is as good as it’s going to get for a car vacuum so if you want extreme suction then buy a shop vac. Also, the attachments are fantastic." —Sally

Get it from Amazon for $42.99.
An adjustable and extendable cup holder adapter to hold your water bottle
Promising review: "Thrilled to finally have a way to keep my giant water bottle upright and not have it tossing around my car! This product is so thoughtfully designed. You can tell that someone put a lot of time and energy into making this product work for a myriad of car cup holder designs. It comes with multiple adapters to make it work in many cars." —Jessica M. Pelletier

Get it from Amazon for $16.95.
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