Just looking after your car is not enough these days and knowing the difference between a Service Plan and Maintenance Plan just wont cut it anymore. For many of us, your car is an extension of your living space. We spend hours in our cars daily but sometimes we give very little thought to what essential items should be kept in the car. These items can come in use when you least expect it and, in some cases, can even save a life.

While the basics such as your driver licence is important, there are other items we might not consider as essential items because the need has never arisen for them. While different trips demand different items, this article will focus on day-to-day items that should be kept in your car.

  1. First-aid kit

A first-aid kit should be in your car at all times. One doesn’t need a large and overly complex kit, but a basic alternative that includes medical items such as rolled-up bandages and a ball of cotton wool, stretch plasters, adhesive tape, diaper pins and small scissors. It should also include disinfectant, pre-packaged sterile gauze, a small container of hand sanitizer, latex gloves and a surgical mask, a CPR mouthpiece and a few meters of rolled-up thin-gauge fishing line. It is also advised that you familiarise yourself with basic first-aid.

The need for this is so that if a situation should arise where first-aid is needed you are capable of assisting. If you have a first-aid kit in your car already, check to make sure that it is fully stocked. The kit should also be kept in an easy-to-reach location such as under a seat or in the boot. First-aid kits can be bought from a variety of large shopping retailers and are in some cases inexpensive.

  1. Tyre repair kit

A tyre repair kit is also an essential item as it can save you a lot of time and even money. Too often have people picked up nails or screws in their tyres. Many modern cars don’t even offer a spare wheel, instead, they have a gel-like substance which you put into the tyre and it should, in theory, block any leaks. The problem is, if you have a noticeable hole in your tyre the gel formula tends to just leak out. A tyre repair kit includes plugs which can be placed in the hole effectively stopping the air from getting out. Once the hole is plugged, you can reintroduce the sealing gel followed by air from the supplied compressor.

If your car has a spare wheel it is advised to change it out for the flat wheel. You can then head on over to a service station and seek assistance in plugging the tyre. Many tyre shops plug tyres that have incurred nail or screw damage as it only costs around R100 to repair, instead of a few thousand depending on the brand of tyre you require. Keeping both a tyre repair kit and a small, 12V air compressor on hand in your car can prove to be extremely helpful.

  1. Jumper cables

Jumper cables are another important item to keep in your car as accidents do happen and some older cars might not warn you of lights that have been left on. There is nothing worse than coming back to your car after a few hours of shopping or after a long day at work, turning the key and nothing happens. Thankfully, jump-starting a car with jumper cables is a fuss-free task and can be completed very quickly with assistance from another driver. Car batteries can also just let you down with very little in terms of a warning.

  1. Warning Triangle

First and foremost it is a legal requirement to have a red warning triangle in your vehicle at all times. Some manufacturers include this in their cars’ standard kit, but not all of them do. Perhaps you bought your used car and the previous owner removed the item without replacing it before selling it. Don’t be caught without it as you could face a fine of R500. It is also important to know how to use the item correctly.

Placing a warning triangle right behind your car is ineffective. The purpose of the item is to alert other drivers that there is an issue ahead of them so once you have parked safely to the left-hand side of the road, activate your hazard lights. Once it is safe, place the triangle a few meters away from your car to effectively warn other drivers.


  1. A secure storage compartment

With the above items and many more needed storing everything can become an issue as one doesn’t want objects moving about in the car, as this could be a hazard in itself. Thankfully you can buy a special bag that sticks to the boot floor carpet in your car. This bag lets you securely store a variety of items and it makes for convenient access when needed. By having all the items in one secure place lets you monitor them and ensure that they are effective at all times


These items are just some that should currently be in your car. Many of them are inexpensive and easily available at various retail stores. Have a look through your car, clear out any rubbish or items that you don’t need and replace them with the essential items that you do need.

Written by Justin Jacobs for CHANGECARS