Buying your first car can be a very exciting feeling. There may also be some feelings of anxiety since this is a big purchase. Cars come with a lot of responsibility: you have to put gas in them and keep up with routine maintenance. Maintenance is especially important because it ensures that your car will run better, and longer, and none of the emergency dashboard symbols light up. However, there are other things that you can do to ensure that you’re the best car owner possible.
#1: Emergency Repair Items
Sometimes you may run into car trouble while driving, and immediate help may not be nearby. In these situations, it’s good to have a few emergency repair items right along with you in your car.
Duct tape is a very handy tool to have to temporarily patch up small cracks and leaks. Keep a roll of durable duct tape in your car for those “just in case” moments.
On average, car batteries last about 4-5 years. However, if you find that your car won’t start, you can buy yourself a little extra battery life if you have jumper cables handy. To jumpstart your battery, you’ll need another vehicle and you’ll need to know the correct way to attach the cables to the batteries.
Most cars are equipped with a spare tire, but you’ll also need a tire jack and a lug wrench in order to change a flat tire. It’s also helpful to have a tire pressure gauge to check the air in your tires. WD-40 is also handy to have to help with loosening stubborn bolts.
#2: Owner’s Manual
When you purchase your next car, make sure that you also have an owner’s manual handy, as it tells you all of the important details about your car. It should already be in the glove compartment when you buy a car. Along with your owner’s manual, you should also have car repair instructions in the event that you have to use your emergency repair items, but you aren’t exactly sure how they’re supposed to be used.
#3: Safety Supplies
Basic safety supplies are necessary everywhere you go, and your car is no different. You should have safety supplies for both you and your car.
While cleaning supplies are necessarily considered “safety items”, having them on hand can make for a better driving experience. Keep a plastic grocery bag or something similar in your car as a de facto trash can so garbage won’t pile up in your car. Also, keep paper towels and tissues on hand.
Cold Weather Essentials
Even if you don’t live in a particularly cold area, you never know when the weather may surprise you with something a little different. Ice scrapers are great to have on cold mornings when you don’t have much time to defrost your windshield. It doesn’t have to be snowing for your windshield to get icy, and it’s not safe to drive if you can’t see through your windshield.
First Aid Kit
A simple first aid kit in your car can help save you time and money in the case of a minor medical situation. Keep Band-Aids/gauze, ointment, OTC medications, etc. in your car— especially if you have children.
#4: Valuable Documents
Last, but not least, you should always have your license and registration on you every time you drive. Another valuable document to have with you is your car insurance card/information. In the United States, every state except for Virginia and New Hampshire requires you to have car insurance, but it’s still something good to have if you live in those states. You should definitely obtain a solid insurance policy before you start driving your car.
Depending on where you live and how you travel, you may require more car essentials than listed here. Other handy items to keep in your car include an umbrella/rain boots/rain jacket, winter jacket/extra clothes, pen and paper, sunglasses, and gum.