Buying Guide for Car Emergency Kits
Why buy a car emergency kit?
Even if you have AAA or a similar roadside assistance plan, carrying a car emergency kit makes sense. If, for example, you end up with a flat tire inside or outside urban areas and have the tools to change your tire, you could save a lot of time and money in some cases. Many car emergency kits come with first aid kits. If you end up in a car crash, either minor or severe, you may wait before emergency response technicians or police arrive. With a car emergency kit, you can apply a tourniquet to a passenger’s open wound or apply bandages and medical tape. Let’s also not forget the value of jumper cables—If you’re near a car whose driver needs a jump, you’ll have the tools to help them out.
What should you look for in a car emergency kit?
- Essentials: On the most basic level, a kit usually includes jumper cables, an air pressure gauge, a tire repair kit, an air pump or compressor, a headlamp or flashlight, reflective warning triangles, work gloves, and a first aid kit. Those items will get you through most minor breakdowns and car performance problems.
- Extras: Some kits have more in the way of roadside emergency gear like foil blankets, ponchos, rope cutters, windshield glass hammers, incident report sheets, and so forth. As you read about the products below, reflect on what you think you need to feel safe.
- Case: A quality case is important, too, critical even. Why? Because when you need a car emergency tool or first aid kit, you need it as soon as possible. There’s no time to rummage around the glove compartment and truck for a pair of pliers. Look for a kit with a case that’s organized in a way that makes the most sense to you and is easy to access. Some have separate cases for first aid; others have whole toolboxes for tire repair.
What should you know beforehand to use a car emergency kit?
To make use of a car emergency kit, you’ll want to make it a priority to learn and know basic processes to keep your ride safe and understand what to do if a dangerous situation unfolds while you are on the road. Things like changing a flat tire, using jumper cables to restart the engine, using an air pump, and other emergency preparedness knowledge will be beneficial as you apply them with the tools in your kit.
Our Picks for the Best Car Emergency Kits
Heavy-Duty Car Emergency Safety Kit with Portable Air Compressor
An emergency car kit that comes with everything you need and more, even a portable air compressor.
Pros: This impressive kit has no less than 90 car emergency high-quality tools and first aid kit items. If you’re in a car emergency, you want to have the essentials on hand: a seven-piece tire repair kit, a portable air compressor, a copper-clad aluminum, a 10-foot jumper cable that won’t melt; a window glass breaker, 11.8-foot, 10,000-pound high tensile nylon tow strap; and more. First Secure’s emergency car kit has what you need to keep yourself safe as you work on and around the car, too. There’s a headlamp with LED bulbs, work gloves, and a reflective warning triangle. The 48-piece first aid kit includes the essentials: gauze pads, bandages, medical tape, plus a tourniquet.
Cons: Some of the tools are not made of high-quality, durable material.
Bottom Line: This emergency roadside kit includes the proper basic tools along with a portable air compressor for the worst-case scenario. Have peace of mind on the road with this kit.
Roadside Emergency Kit with Jumper Cables
A comprehensive emergency car kit and first aid kit, both of which are compact and lightweight.
Pros: Be safe on the road with this all-inclusive car emergency kit. Here’s what you get: eight-gauge copper wire jumper cables, a tow rope, a utility knife, a screwdriver, a safety hammer, gloves, tire repair tools, and more. These auto emergency items serve as a trustworthy defense if your vehicle breaks down on the road. Any scenario is possible. You may be driving in a downpour and unable to see a large branch or other debris and run over it. If you pull over when you hear a terrible scraping coming from the undercarriage, the kit has a reflective vest to put on for safety and a strong flashlight so you can get down and pull out the branch. The tools you need come in a compact, zippered case with a handle for easy storage.
Cons: This doesn’t come with an air compressor.
Bottom Line: This kit is compact and packed with the most practical tools you need on the road. Because it is so small, it can fit into most spaces, making it even more convenient to carry around.
Always Prepared All-in-One Roadside Emergency Assistance Kit and First Aid Essentials
An emergency car kit that covers the basics and makes a great gift for first-time drivers.
Pros: This well-organized, complete set of car emergency preparedness tools could bring some reassurance that you or your loved ones will be a bit safer on the road. When you’re in an accident, and everything you need is in one place, the odds that you’ll navigate the situation successfully are much greater than without it. The kit includes vehicle emergency necessities like 15-foot, four-gauge jumper cables, PVC tape, and a screwdriver. Visibility equipment gets overlooked far too often, especially in high-stress events like car breakdowns and accidents. Rather than hop out of the car at night without thinking, unzip the kit for the reflective vest, light stick, flashlight, and reflective triangles to make yourself seen by other drivers.
Cons: This does not include a tire repair kit, tow strap, or a window glass breaker.
Bottom Line: This large kit also includes first aid essentials for injuries and a poncho and emergency blanket for inclement weather. Keep yourself safe from the elements with these tools in a heavy-duty nylon bag.
Pink Roadside Car Emergency Kit with Pink Tools and Accessories
This pink car emergency kit has quality pink emergency roadside tools, a pink first aid pouch, and a pink tote to keep everything in place.
Pros: The THINKWORK car emergency kit has some seriously nice pink tools. Everything is pink except the tow rope, reflective vest, and warning triangle. You get the basics that most emergency car kits have, like jumper cables, an air pressure gauge, and safety gloves. But there’s also a snow shovel, ice scraper, whistle with a compass, and an innovative safety hammer. There’s one flat and one cone-shaped hammer on either end of the hammerhead, plus a rope-cutter blade built into the handle. To top it off, you get a waterproof pink bag to keep all of the safety gear organized in one place.
Cons: The jumper cables and tow rope are not the best quality.
Bottom Line: This car emergency kit is the top choice for the pink-lovers among us. Not only is it fun to look at, but it provides the necessities to prepare for roadside assistance.
Kolo Sports Roadside Emergency Car Kit with Automotive Tools and First Aid Kit
This exceptionally comprehensive emergency car kit has everything you need to make quick fixes, bandage wounds, and remain visible even in severe weather.
Pros: If emergency car preparedness is what you need, you’re going to love this 156-piece kit. Included are roadside assistance tools, first aid essentials, an auto emergency kit, a multipurpose tool kit, and a tire repair kit. You may need a bungee cord, cable ties, tow rope, or seatbelt cutter in a roadside emergency. The tire repair kit is its own hard plastic case and includes pliers, t-handle tools, plugs, and a knife to trim off excess plug material. First aid is essential too—the kit comes with gauze, surgical tape, cotton swabs and balls, a variety of bandages, and safety pins.
Cons: Some of the tools are not high quality.
Bottom Line: This is a serious emergency car kit equipped with over 100 pieces to keep you prepped for the road.
It’s never too late or early to improve your car emergency safety skills. Equipped with a quality tool and first aid kit, you’ll be prepared to use your knowledge on the road. When you’re in a situation and need something from an emergency car kit, you can rest assured with the right one from this list of options.