10 Most Important Items to Keep In Your Car

A car emergency kit is always something we recommend people have in their vehicle at all times. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize their need for one until it’s too late.  There are a number of kits that you can purchase, like this one from AAA, or this one if you’re prepping for a zombie apocalypse , but they are simple to put together yourself at home.  You’ll be glad you made one should you ever find yourself in the position to need it.
Even if you have AAA, they may not come immediately, inclement weather may keep them from getting to you at all, and passengers inside the car could be injured. We put together our list of the 10 most important items to keep in your car emergency kit at all times.
1. A First-Aid Kit. Yes, a kit within your kit. These can be purchased very inexpensively at any drug store, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. and should include the typical items like Band-Aids, gauze, antibacterial cream, and anything else specific to your family’s needs.
2. Water. Depending on who your typical passengers are, you may want to keep more or less water handy, but a gallon jug is a good amount. We find this to be handy not even during a vehicle emergency, but also after a hike when you realize your dog doesn’t have quite enough water!
3. An extra cell-phone charger. Buy a spare charger that you NEVER take out of this kit. Most people have one handy inside the vehicle, but if your family is anything like ours, they mysteriously go missing from time to time. Keep one in the emergency kit that your battery-hogging teenagers don’t know about.
4. Non-perishable snacks. We recommend protein or granola bars and trail mix. We’ve also heard of people keeping those energy gel packets used by avid hikers and marathoners.
5. Rain poncho with a hood. This one sounds kind of silly, until you have to try and change your tire in the rain and you can’t see through the rain dripping down your face. It’s also helpful if you run out of gas and have to walk in the rain to the nearest gas station.
6. Multi-purpose utility tool. You can do a ton of cool things with a Swiss Army Knife, and the best part is, they are compact and lightweight. Handy for any number of emergencies, including, but not limited to, packing a romantic afternoon picnic and realizing you left your corkscrew or bottle opener at home.
7. Duct tape: One of the world’s most underrated inventions. A favorite of Michael Scott when he had to survive alone in the woods.
8. Flashlight and extra batteries. Bonus points if your flashlight is waterproof.
9. Jumper Cables. The longer the better, in case they have to be used after someone’s vehicle has gone off the road.
10. Foam tire sealant. Definitely not a permanent solution for a flat tire, but if you’re dealing with a small puncture, this foam sealant is a good quick fix to help you get from the side of the road to a nearby service center.
Also, here is a list of our  Roadside Assistance Numbers you may want to keep in your vehicle.

What Exactly Is That New Car Smell?

By Rachel Swaby for Giz Explains

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The smell of a new car is intoxicating. It reminds us of money and shiny objects. It evokes that golden period before repeat coffee stains, moldy Tupperware, and our trunk’s transformation into a Good Will depository change the way we feel about our car.

But it’s kind of a weird smell, right? It’s so different from chocolate chip cookies or eucalyptus or whatever else we identify as pleasant. So we decided to get to the bottom of the new car smell. What  is it?

The answer, according to Toyota’s color and trim manager Janis Ambrose Shard, certainly leans toward a more Pavlov’s dog-type reaction. We like the smell because we like the car. Unfortunately, says Shard, “The smell is mostly organic compounds in the vehicle off-gassing. Anything that is vinyl or plastic—the foam lamination on the seat surface, the plastic on the dash or on the door panel—it’s the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) coming out of them that causes that smell.” In other words, without the relationship to a brand new car, the smell would just, you know, smell.

VOCs probably ring a bell because they’re air pollutants. And they can do a number on your health. And they’re everywhere. Thousands of household products-from paints to cleaning products to waxes-all emit the gasses, and they’re normally found in low concentrations in indoor air. In your car, petroleum-based solvents in plastic and vinyl are to blame. VOCs escape from the dash and the seats because they don’t require super high temperatures to evaporate. A normal ol’ Tuesday will stir them up.

Another VOC fun fact: You know that weird foggy film that builds up on the inside of your windshield? Blame the new car smell. The same VOCs that we’re sniffing can be responsible for mucking up our windows, too.

“That new car smell is not something we strive to achieve,” says Shard. If anything, automakers are trying to cut it. Toyota has moved from solvent-based glues to water-based alternatives to slash VOCs, and other automakers, like Ford, have experimented with swapping petroleum-based seating for soy based foam. Natural materials, though, have their own set of challenges. For instance, Ford had to go through a lot of veggie-based foam trials to find one that didn’t offend the consumer’s nose. And because the natural material holds a lot of moisture, living somewhere like Louisiana where it’s both hot and humid, can cause some natural materials to deteriorate rapidly, says Shard.

Basically, they’re working on taking that new car smell away. In the meantime, we should start working on ending our affinity for inhaling VOCs. Let’s instead focus our olfactory efforts on new car leather. See, during manufacturing, the warm leather smell disappears from the pieces that go into cars. Leather manufacturers, knowing that the smell is important to us, make sure to add that smell back in before anything is shipped to consumers. Thank goodness we still have one unnatural smell to happily cling to.