Must-Have Items to Keep in Your Car During Winter

Must-Have Items to Keep in Your Car During Winter

Most of the time, your vehicle gets you from point A to point B without a problem. Even the most well-maintained car can have unexpected breakdowns, though, and winter is a bad time to get stranded. If you have a problem in the middle of a major snowstorm, it could take hours for a tow truck to reach you.

Are you prepared for all the curveballs winter can throw your way? You should keep all these items in your car so you’re ready for any problem you might have. 

Winter Essentials for Your Car

Spare Tire

You should really have a spare tire any time of year, but it’s even more important during the winter. Why wait for a tow in below-freezing weather when you could just pop on your spare and drive to a tire shop?

Ice Scraper and Snow Brush

Even if your car stays in the garage when you’re at home, an impressive amount of snow can build up on your windshield during a simple grocery shopping trip in the middle of a brutal winter storm. A snow brush is much more efficient than your hand or sleeve when you need to clear snow off your windows.

Sand, Kitty Litter, or Rock Salt

Forward. Reverse. Forward. Reverse. We’ve all experienced the frustration of trying to find traction while the tires are just spinning in place. Sand, kitty litter, or rock salt can help your tires get traction and get you un-stuck.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Road salt helps minimize snow and ice buildup on the roads, but it makes a mess of your windshield when you drive. You can probably get by without topping up your windshield washer fluid between oil changes during the summer, but you go through a lot more in the winter. Make sure you always have spare windshield washer fluid before the flakes start to fly each fall.

Jumper Cables or Jumpstarter

Car batteries aren’t fond of cold weather, and some cars really struggle to start when the temperature drops below zero. Keep jumper cables or a portable jumpstarter in your vehicle in case your car won’t start.


Whether a snowplow piled up snow behind your vehicle while it was parked or you’ve slid into a snowbank, there are times you may need a shovel. Luckily, you can find foldable shovels that won’t take up too much space in your trunk.

Portable Phone Charger

We’ve all had those days where we forget to charge our phone. As long as your car is running, you can use a car charger – but what if your car battery dies? A dead car battery and a dead phone battery are a bad combination. Keeping a charged up phone bank on hand is a good idea.

Blankets, Gloves, Extra Warm Clothing, Hand Warmers

During a major winter storm, there aren’t enough tow trucks in the city for everybody who ends up slid off the road, in an accident, or with a dead battery, and you may need to wait hours for help. In some cases, you won’t be able to keep your car – and the heat – running the whole time. Make sure you have a way to stay warm while you wait.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is something you should always keep in your vehicle. You never know when it will come in handy.


If you have a problem with your car at night, your phone’s flashlight may not be enough, especially since you may need to be on your phone. Keep a big flashlight on hand for nighttime emergencies.

Emergency Flashers or Reflectors

Being stuck on the side of the road at night poses a unique set of dangers because drivers who can’t see your car could hit you. Just in case your vehicle’s hazard lights don’t work, you’ll want emergency flashers or reflectors to warn other drivers not to hit you.

Water and Snacks

If you get stuck waiting hours for a tow when you were on your way out to dinner, you’ll be glad you kept water and snacks in your car.

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter?

The best way to avoid needing to use any of these items is to make sure your vehicle is up to date on its maintenance and has good tires. If you’re in Chicagoland and need maintenance or snow tires, trust the professionals at Wheeling Auto Center in Arlington Heights.

Our 12,500 square foot auto service center has 15 bays to get you back on the road as quickly as possible, and we have free Wi-Fi in our waiting area to keep you entertained or working while you wait.

To make an appointment, click here or call (847) 259-3776. A bit of preventive maintenance now can help keep you on the road all winter.