Emergency Car Kit: How to Survive a Rural Breakdown

Vehicle breakdowns can happen anywhere, but with the availability of cell phones and roadside assistance services, most people don’t bother to carry an emergency car kit. Even fewer know how to change a tire or put oil in their engine, and some people don’t even know how to read a local map.

However, there are way too many instances where you can breakdown, run out of gas, or a have a flat tire in a place with no cell service and a sparse population. Considering how much time we spend in our cars on a daily basis, being prepared for these kinds of emergencies should be a top priority.

Tips for Building an Emergency Car Kit

Putting together a good emergency car kit doesn’t require a lot of time or investment, but it does mean that you need to consider what roadside emergencies you could face and how you want to prepare for them. See this round-up, do yourself a favor, Go and browse http://adamstoyota.com to cover the essentials that you must have in your emergency car kit. Then take a look at the easy skills to learn, and safety tips for avoiding the most common roadside emergencies.

These items can be packed into a small plastic tote or duffel bag that is easy to pull out when needed. Labeling and organizing the contents will save you time searching, especially if you are in a panic. Be sure to periodically check the expiration dates of food and medicine, and rotate out when necessary.

Emergency Car Kit Essentials

Your emergency car kit should contain the following items:

  • Food – Enough for 24 hours, 48 hours is better. High calorie food/ration bars, energy bars, and snacks like granola bars, trail mix, etc.
  • Water – Minimum of 4 bottles of water or 8 water sachets.
  • Light – LED flashlight with extra batteries, preferably with a wrist strap.
  • First aid kit – Keep a small amount of any necessary prescription medicine you take.*
  • Extra pair of glasses

Build an emergency car kitShelter and Warmth for the emergency car kit

  • Rain poncho with hood
  • Emergency survival blanket
  • Polar fleece or wool blanket
  • Extra set of clothes and walking shoes
  • Hat, gloves, and jacket for winter
  • Hand and body warmers


  • Mutli-function Swiss Army Knife
  • Emergency survival whistle
  • All-in-one car emergency tool with seat belt cutter, window breaking tip, and signal light (keep on the driver’s side of the car, and if possible, add one to the passenger side as well.)
  • Road flares
  • Lighter
  • Reflective safety triangle
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Fix-a-Flat type of tire sealant for minor punctures
  • Work gloves
  • Compact multi-function shovel
  • Set of plastic funnels
  • Duct tape
  • Bungee cord
  • Compact basic tool set with coated pliers, Phillips head screwdriver, and flat head screwdriver
  • Cable ties in long and short lengths
  • Utility knife
  • Ice scraper
  • State road map or atlas
  • Extra cash and coins
  • Car manual
  • Spare tire and tire changing kit
  • Emergency contact list and roadside assistance service numbers

Skills to Learn

  • How to correctly and safely change a tire
  • How to check the oil level in your car, and add oil if needed
  • Learn about each one of your car’s warning lights and the appropriate action to take

Safety Tips

  • Always keep at least a half tank of gas in your car
  • Follow your vehicle maintenance schedule and get the oil changed regularly and brakes inspected
  • Keep your tires inflated to correct pressure, rotated, and balanced.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and make note of gas stations, rest areas, etc. whether you drive around town or long distances. Women should pay particular attention to their surroundings when driving alone or parking in a parking lot, especially at night. If you notice someone following you, drive to the nearest police station or if that’s not possible, drive to a crowded area and call the police. Do not let them follow you home.
  • Keep a road map handy, sometimes your GPS won’t work or your cell phone is out of range.
  • If you are involved in an accident, be sure to call the police, your insurance company, and get the other driver’s information. Take pictures of the accident and damaged vehicles if possible, to aid in insurance claims or in the worst case, a lawsuit.
  • Pay attention to the road and other drivers, eliminate distractions while driving.

You can find internet videos and tutorials on car repair, car maintenance, driving and personal safety to add to your knowledge. In addition to an emergency car kit, we suggest that you also keep a bug out bag (BOB) or everyday carry (EDC) bag in your car. To learn more about these, see our article What is a Bug Out Bag?

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