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Receive 20% Off Select Wagner branded brake parts with your online purchase.

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Whether you’re gearing up for a road trip or simply driving to the supermarket, be prepared for the worst by stocking up on these essential items.

The Basic Kit

Easy to store and simple to use, the below items are included in most basic roadside emergency kits. It’s recommended that you store these items in your vehicle at all times.

Jumper Cables

Multiple issues can cause your vehicle to need a jump, from forgetting to turn off the headlights to driving through extended periods of extreme heat or cold. So play it safe and always keep jumper cables stored in the trunk of your car.


Trying to change a tire when it is dark out could compromise your safety and make a situation more frustrating than it already is. Having a bright, weatherproof flashlight in the vehicle is a great idea–just make sure the flashlight is working properly before hitting the road.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit might not always be necessary in the event of a breakdown, but one should always be stored in the vehicle in case someone gets hurt. Basic items such as painkillers, bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, antihistamines, alcohol wipes, medical tape, and an instant ice pack could all come in handy in an emergency.

Tire-Related Items

In addition to keeping a jack and lug wrench stored in the trunk of your vehicle, you should always have a tire pressure gauge and a can of Fix-a-Flat on hand. That way you can temporarily patch a flat until it can be looked at by a professional. Most importantly, keeping a spare tire in your vehicle can help you avoid being stranded in the event of a flat tire or blowout.

Triangle Reflectors and Roadside Flares

Reflectors and flares alert motorists that they should slow down and/or pull over. That’s why It is recommended you keep at least two reflectors and four 15-minute flares in your vehicle at all times—especially for emergencies that occur at night.


A blanket can be very useful in different breakdown scenarios. If it is chilly outside, a blanket can provide comfort and warmth while you or your passengers wait for help to arrive. Additionally, a blanket can be placed on the ground and knelt on while changing a tire to keep clothing clean and provide some cushioning.

Air Compressor with Jump-Starter

An air compressor with a built-in jump-starter not only generates compressed air for a flat tire, it also provides the power needed to jump-start your vehicle without the assistance of another motorist. Most air compressors with built-in jump-starters can conveniently be charged at home—just remember to store it in your vehicle after it’s completely charged.


You may need to make a minor repair when you least expect it, so it is best to keep some small tools in your car. Items such as a flat-blade screwdriver, Philips-head screwdriver, pliers, and/or multi-tool are all good to have on hand. Even if you aren’t confident you can fix an issue yourself, it is advised to keep these tools in your car in case a passenger or passerby can help.

Extra Bottles of Fluids

Keeping extra quarts of oil, a gallon of antifreeze, and a bottle of windshield wiper fluid in the trunk of your vehicle will be extremely beneficial should your vehicle be low on any of them. Place these items in a cardboard box so they don’t bounce around in the trunk or spill. You should also keep a funnel handy as it will make pouring fluids easier and less messy.

The Worst-Case Scenario Kit

The worst-case scenario kit is meant to highlight items you might need in the event you get stuck in the middle of nowhere, your cell phone doesn’t work, and it is too far to walk to get help. Pep Boys hopes you never have to use these items, but it is best to stock them in a vehicle for precautionary reasons.


Being stranded in the middle of nowhere might mean spending the night in the area, and having a sleeping bag handy can provide some extra comfort. In the event a camp fire must be started, waterproof matches can prove extremely valuable. Other good items to pack include a rain poncho, sunscreen, a bandanna (use as a sweat rag or face mask), a solar-powered or crank-powered emergency radio, a hat, walking shoes, a tarp (makes a good makeshift tent or sleeping surface), extra batteries, a backpack, and simple food items like energy bars, trail mix (without chocolate since it melts in the heat), and/or whole wheat crackers.

Items For Winter

There are some items that you should have in your car only during the winter months, such as a shovel (could be a small, folding shovel or a full-sized snow shovel) to dig out your car, a knitted hat, a pair of boots, chemical hand warmers, and a bag of sand or kitty litter to provide some traction on a slippery road surface if your vehicle gets stuck. Pep Boys also recommends having snow tire chains on hand to improve on-road traction in the event of a snowstorm.

If you need help building your own DIY roadside emergency kit, stop by your local store or shop online today.