23 Items You Need For Your Winter Emergency Car Kit

WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich


Driving through winter storms can be treacherous, but the right preparation and equipment help ensure your safety. These essential items create the best winter car emergency kit out there, providing peace of mind and a crucial lifeline during harsh weather conditions.

23 Essential items for your car emergency kit

The best winter car emergency kit has items to keep you safe and warm, as well as the tools needed to fix your car if you’re in a jam. Below we’ve included 23 essential items arranged by purpose.

Safety and survival essentials 

When preparing for winter driving emergencies, it’s essential to have the right safety and survival essentials on hand. These items will help you stay safe and comfortable during unexpected situations on the road.

Blankets or sleeping bags

1. Blankets or sleeping bags

Pack warm blankets or sleeping bags to provide insulation and keep you warm if you become stranded.

warm clothing and gloves

2. Extra warm clothing and gloves

Include extra layers of warm clothing, such as jackets, sweaters, and thermal gloves, to protect against the cold temperatures.

non-perishable snacks and drinking water

3. Non-perishable snacks and drinking water

Keep non-perishable snacks like energy bars or dried fruits, along with bottled water, to sustain yourself in case of a long wait for help.

Hand warmers

4. Hand warmers

Hand warmers are compact and provide valuable warmth, keeping your hands comfortable in frigid conditions.

Reflective vest

5. Reflective vest

Wearing a reflective vest increases your visibility to other drivers, especially during low-light or poor weather conditions.

Emergency whistle

6. Emergency whistle

An emergency whistle can be a lifesaver, attracting attention and helping rescuers locate you quickly if needed.

Tools for vehicle assistance

Having the right tools for vehicle assistance is crucial when facing winter driving emergencies. These tools will help you tackle common issues and ensure your safety on the road.

Jumper cables

7. Jumper cables

Jumper cables are essential for jump-starting a dead battery and getting your vehicle running again.

Ice scraper and snow brush

8. Ice scraper and snow brush

Clearing ice and snow from your vehicle’s windows and surfaces is made easier with these tools.

Portable shovel

9. Portable shovel

A portable shovel allows you to dig out your car if it gets stuck in deep snow.

Spare tire, jack, and lug wrench

10. Spare tire, jack, and lug wrench

Be prepared for a flat tire by carrying a spare tire along with a jack and lug wrench for tire changes.

Tire chains or traction mats

11. Tire chains or traction mats

Tire chains or traction mats provide added traction on slippery roads, improving your vehicle’s grip.

Tire chains or traction mats

12. Reflective warning triangles or flares

These warning devices alert other drivers to your presence and indicate a stranded vehicle for enhanced safety.

Communication and navigation

Effective communication and reliable navigation are vital during winter driving emergencies. Ensure you have the necessary tools to stay connected and find your way in challenging conditions.

Portable phone charger or power bank

13. Portable phone charger or power bank

Keep your phone charged with a portable charger or power bank to stay connected during emergencies.

Flashlight and extra batteries

14. Flashlight and extra batteries

A reliable flashlight with extra batteries is essential for visibility and navigating in low-light situations.

Roadside emergency kit

15. Roadside emergency kit

Carry a roadside emergency kit that includes first aid supplies, adhesive bandages, and antiseptic wipes.

Windshield washer fluid (winter formula)

16. Windshield washer fluid (winter formula)

Use a winter-specific windshield washer fluid that is formulated to prevent freezing on your windshield.

Extra windshield wipers

17. Extra windshield wipers

Having spare windshield wipers ensures clear visibility in snowy or rainy conditions.

Tire pressure gauge

18. Tire pressure gauge

Monitor tire pressure with a gauge to ensure proper inflation, especially in cold weather.

Duct tape

19. Duct tape

Duct tape can come in handy for temporary repairs or securing loose items in your vehicle.

Multi-tool or swiss army knife

20. Multi-tool or Swiss Army knife

These versatile tools provide a range of functions, from cutting to opening bottles or cans.

Fire extinguisher

21. Fire extinguisher

Having a fire extinguisher in your car can help you address small fires that may occur.

Road atlas or GPS device

22. Road atlas or GPS device

Carry a road atlas or use a GPS device to navigate accurately, even in unfamiliar areas.

Extra cash

23. Extra cash

Having extra cash on hand can be helpful for unexpected expenses or tolls during emergencies.

Winter car maintenance tips

winter car maintenance tips

Winter car maintenance is crucial to ensure your vehicle is prepared for the challenges of cold weather. Follow these tips to keep your car in optimal condition.

1. Check the battery and electrical system

Inspect the battery for corrosion and ensure it’s fully charged. Test the electrical system to avoid unexpected issues in freezing temperatures.

2. Inspect tires and consider winter tires

Check tire tread depth and condition. Consider using winter tires for improved traction on icy roads.

3. Ensure proper tire pressure

Cold temperatures cause tire pressure to drop, so regularly check and maintain the recommended tire pressure.

4. Check the antifreeze and coolant levels

Ensure the antifreeze mixture is appropriate for winter conditions and that coolant levels are sufficient to prevent freezing.

5. Test the heater and defroster

Make sure your heater and defroster are functioning properly, as they are essential for maintaining visibility and staying warm.

6. Replace worn-out windshield wipers

Replace old or damaged windshield wipers to ensure clear visibility during snow and sleet.

7. Check and top up windshield washer fluid (winter formula)

Use a winter-specific windshield washer fluid with antifreeze properties to prevent freezing on the windshield.

8. Keep the gas tank at least half full

Maintaining a half-full gas tank helps prevent fuel line freezing and provides a safety buffer in case of delays.

9. Inspect and replace any faulty lights

Check that all exterior lights, including headlights, taillights, and turn signals, are functioning properly for improved visibility.

Protect your vehicle with car insurance

While a well-equipped winter emergency car kit can keep you protected from harsh elements, you still need a good insurance policy to protect your car. Let us help make the process simple for you. Use our online quote tool to compare multiple rates in minutes. 

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