Once your teenager becomes a newly minted driver, it’s only a matter of time until they get their first car. Most of the time, these cars are older models that don’t come with all the bells and whistles of a modern vehicle. Parents aren’t made of money, after all. Still, you have to keep your kids safe, and that involves filling the trunk with some useful gadgets. These ten essentials should be placed in every teen’s car.
1. Jumper Cables and Written Instructions
Jumper cables are an incredibly important tool for all drivers. Not only can they help the owner out of a tight spot when the car lights are left on, but they’re useful for helping others. Many drivers rely on AAA to come and aid them when they break down, but jumper cables only require a helpful passerby or nearby friend. While the jumper cables are a must-own item, they would ideally include a set of written instructions. Accidentally misusing jumper cables can result in some catastrophic results, so the instructions are a necessity until a teen knows the process by heart.
2. A Charged Phone Battery Pack
While we’d all prefer that our teens didn’t have them in their car, cell phones are a lifeline. If they’re stranded on the side of the road, all the jumper cables in the world won’t help unless they can bring aid to them. A fully charged phone battery pack will provide a complete charge to most devices, giving your teenager more than enough power to bring help to them. It’s important to take it out of the trunk and charge it from time to time.
3. A Flashlight and Multi-tool
A teenager can find many uses for a flashlight and multi-tool. A flashlight is critical to changing tires at night and signaling for help in the event of an emergency. It’s not always a tool that’s used in an emergency, though. Your teen might need a screwdriver or a a pocket knife at some point, and they are frequently included in the multi-tool portion of a combination flashlight. Either way, make sure to keep a flashlight and extra batteries in the car.
4. A First-Aid Kit (Including Gloves)
You never know when your teen is going to get an injury or find someone that has one of their own. A good first-aid kit, preferably one that includes gloves, will allow your teen to treat minor wounds on their own. Everything from a pain reliever and gauze to butterfly bandages should be included in the first aid package. It might be a good idea to instruct your teen on how to use it, too.
5. Warm, High Visibility Clothing
High visibility clothing is a must for every car owner. Your young driver could be stranded on the side of the road changing a tire. It’s crucial that people in other cars see them, so they know to stay far away. A neon-colored, reflective article of clothing is very useful, but it’s even better if it’s long-sleeved. Not only does that increase the wearer’s visibility, but it offers warmth if an emergency happens during the winter.
6. Reflective Triangles
These collapsible reflective triangles are helpful in keeping a driver safe while they’re stuck on the side of the road. These triangles warn oncoming traffic that a stranded car is ahead, providing the driver with a zone of safety. Reflective triangles are superior to flares for inexperienced drivers that are more likely to hurt themselves than properly set them. That being said, it never hurts to teach them about the flares, too.
7. An Electric Air Compressors and Tire Sealant
Most cars have an electrical port. Older vehicles have it in a lighter port and newer ones have it behind a plastic plug at some place. There are electrical air compressors that can be used in those sockets. It may take a little time, but they can fill a tire in a pinch. When used with a tire sealant, your teen will have enough time to get their vehicle somewhere safe or to a better place to change their tire. Of course, the tire sealant will all but ensure that you can’t use that tire again, but it’s always better to err on the side of safety. Again, this is something that your teen may use to help someone else, too.
8. Spare Tire and Jack (And More Instructions)
Many used cars are being sold without a spare tire in them. You should make sure your teen’s car has one before they ever get behind the wheel. Also, take time to put a jack in the car, too. Again, having the tools in place is useless without the knowledge to use them, so take some time to to teach your teen how to put on a spare. Inexperienced drivers have a bad habit of putting the lug nuts on in clockwise sequence instead of using the star pattern to ensure the spare is mounted correctly. Go through the entire tire-changing process with your new driver and then make them demonstrate it so you don’t have to worry.
9. The Car Manual
A vehicle’s car manual can help solve a lot of problems. It will show the location and purposes of fuses and even help solve the mystery of a check engine light. The only problem is that a lot of starter cars won’t have the vehicle manual in them. You can fix this problem by looking online or reaching out to the car manufacturer if they’re still in business.
10. A Jug of Water
Water has almost as many uses as duct tape in a vehicle. It can be used as coolant in an emergency. Water can also be added to a windshield washer fluid reservoir to restore visibility. Of course, it can help quench a driver’s thirst if they are stuck on the side of the road on a hot day. Also, it’s helpful in putting out small fires. Hopefully, none of these problems arise for your young driver, but it helps to be prepared. Make sure that the jug is taken out of their car in the winter. Otherwise, it will turn into a useless block of ice that could potentially break open in the trunk.
Helping your teen get road ready can be an interesting process. Yet, you can’t let them hit the road without being prepared. With this handy list, you will know precisely what to put in the trunk after your teen obtains their first vehicle. If they’re lucky, you might even buy some of these items for them!