LAST UPDATED: May 22, 2018

The Best Car Emergency Kits (Review & Buying Guide) in 2020

Best Choice lifeline aaa road kit Lifeline AAA Road Kit
Premium Pick performance tool roadside emergency kit Performance Tool Roadside Emergency Kit
Best Value aootek upgraded 268 piece survival kit Aootek Upgraded 268 Piece Survival Kit

Whilst no one likes to think they are going to be involved in or witness an emergency incident, it does make sense to be prepared for the worst. A good car emergency kit makes it easier to prepare, by combining everything you may need into one handy package.

There are a lot of kits on the market however and some will be more appealing than others – there’s no point buying a kit that contains equipment you are unsure of how to use for example. That’s simply wasting your time and your money.

We’ve put together this guide then to help you to find the right emergency kit for you and your car, so that you will always feel prepared.

Best Rated Car Emergency Kits in 2020:

This kit is more designed for car breakdown type emergencies than it is for accidents or, like the kit above, for a nuclear apocalypse.

To that end then, whilst the kit does come with a first aid kit of sorts, it is very basic – just a couple of bandages and some antiseptic wipes. So if you want to be better prepared for accidents or medical emergencies then be prepared to supplement this kit with a dedicated first aid kit.

For car-based emergencies however this is decent. Having been put together with input from the AAA, you have most of the tools to tackle a simple car based emergency here. A two-in-one screwdriver and booster cables along with duct tape, a shop cloth and cable ties are useful tools for a range of vehicle breakdown emergencies.

The flashlight helps you see and the orange safety vest helps you to be seen. This is a good kit to throw in the trunk to prepare for any basic mechanical breakdown.

Key Features
  • 42 Piece Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Jumper Cables
Specification
  • Brand LifeLine
  • Model
  • Weight 2 lbs
PROS

Good Emergency Roadside Kit

Emergency Car Repair Book

Useful Flashlight & Safety Kit

CONS

Very Basic First Aid Kit

Bag is Not Waterproof

It’s frankly almost an insult to call this kit an emergency kit, as it is bringing so much more to the table. This is by far the best-stocked kit we have on out list, at least in terms of the sheer diversity of items packed in.

The kit contains an incredible 269 pieces of kit all packed into one handy (and water proof) case. The big attention grabber is of course the extremely useful Multitool device that comes with a range of useful functions such as pliers, small saw and Philips screwdriver.

There is a well thought out and very useful first aid kit with a range of materials and medical implements too, as well as some items you’re not going to see in many other emergency kits. We’re talking the fishing line and hooks and fire starter tool (amongst a few others).

This is a phenomenally well-equipped kit, and that is also the rub here. For some people, this kit is going to appeal simply due to the diversity of items carried. If however you are looking for a more basic, everyday emergency kit then this may not be the one for you.

Put it this way – if you don’t anticipate finding yourself in a situation where you need to catch your own fish, you may be spending more money than you need on a kit that’s too well stocked for your needs.

Key Features
  • 268 Piece Survival Kit
  • Emergency Whistle, Flashlight & useful Multitool
  • Fishing Kit
Specification
  • Brand Aootek
  • Model
  • Weight 1.4 lbs
PROS

Be Prepared for Anything!

Includes Medical Kit

Excellent survival/prep kit

CONS

Too over stocked to be a basic Kit

Better Quality Items in the Kit Could be Purchased Elsewhere

Despite happily cashing in on the brand that made millions for a racist and a homophobe, if you can look past that this is actually a pretty decent roadside assistance kit.

The standout feature really has to be the hand charged LED torch that is a very well designed little tool. Many of these kits come with torches, and whilst that is very useful – in fact it’s always useful to have a torch – the problem with a traditional torch design is the batteries. If you don’t monitor them they can leak or discharge, leaving you without a torch just as you need it – no such problem with the hand wound model here.

Safety is also a big feature in this kit, which is nice to see. A high visibility vest is paired with a reflective triangle to help you to be seen. Tools are basic – jumper cables, a space saving multi-tool, tie cables – but basically what you would expect to find in a similar priced kit.

Key Features
  • 66 Piece Kit
  • Hand Charged LED Torch
  • 34 Piece First Aid Kit
Specification
  • Brand GEARtop
  • Model 1106
  • Weight 4.2 lbs
PROS

Well-designed torch

Good roadside safety features

Decent Tools

CONS

Not the Best Choice of Branding

Quite Basic First Aid Kit

This kit is certainly toward the premium end of our selections, both in terms of content and in terms of the price tag – ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the most expensive kit on our list today. Saying that however, you’ll still get (a bit) of change from a 50-dollar bill, which is good going for the amount of items you’re getting here.

125 to be precise, with 25 of those being in the very useful Multitool box. Inside that you’ll find a mini-screwdriver set, an excellent Multi-Purpose tool with various screwdriver and wrench attachments plus needle nose pliers and a sharp blade cutter – all very useful, and all well above the levels of tool you’ll find in many lower priced kits.

Safety features are excellent too – a high visibility vest, a reflective triangle and even a whistle to attract attention. The first aid kit is still more basic than a dedicated one, but does pack more than a lower priced kit with multiple bandages and medical gauze.

Key Features
  • 125 Piece Kit
  • 25 Piece Multi-Tool Kit
  • Good First Aid Kit
Specification
  • Brand Kolo Sports
  • Model KS-0106
  • Weight 6.1 lbs
PROS

Very Well Stocked Kit

Good Tools

Good Safety Features – Vest, Triangle and Whistle

CONS

Quite a Big Kit, Will Take Up Some Trunk Space

Expensive

This kit from Performance Tool is, all in all, a relatively basic one. We have a useful pair of gloves, a very minimal tool kit (screwdriver, pliers, cutting tool) a torch, jumper cables and a rainproof poncho round out a kit that is no different to several others we’ve seen on the list already.

At Car Bible though we don’t waste your time with a repeating line of identical products so there must be something different about this kit, right? The standout from this one is the handy tire inflator, and this is the only kit on the list to boast one of these.

So if you’ve had issues with tire emergencies in the past, or if you’d like to insure yourself against them in the future, then maybe take a look at this kit.

Key Features
  • Includes a Tire Inflator
  • Jumper Cables Gloves & Basic Tools
Specification
  • Brand Performance Tool
  • Model 60220
  • Weight 0.16 oz
PROS

Can Tackle Punctures

Decent Tool Array

CONS

Quite Basic

No First Aid or Medical Supplies

We’ve mentioned on a few products on this list before that they either come with no first aid kit or, if they do, that the kit is usually pretty basic. We’ve also suggested that if you do want a good quality first aid kit then you may be better off buying a dedicated kit, and this could be the one.

This is a very well stocked first aid kit, containing just about everything you would need in the initial stages of minor medical emergency. A wide range of bandages, tape, anti-septic and alcohol wipes and wipes to treat insect stings along with eye pads, tweezers and cotton applicators – to name just a few of the things you’ll find in this kit.

There aren’t many tools included, but the kit is nice and small and easy to tuck away in the car.

Another cool thing to note is that the items have a pretty long shelf life of around 3 to 5 years. All perishable goods are clearly marked with a use by date too, so if you do buy this and pop it into the trunk or the glove box, jut remember to pull it out every now and then to check the dates.

Key Features
  • 150 Piece Medical Kit
  • Lightweight & Compact Size
  • Various Size Bandages, Antiseptic Wipes and Dressings
Specification
  • Brand Protect Life
  • Model PLFAK
  • Weight 1 lb
PROS

Excellent Quality Medical Equipment

CONS

Not Many Tools

No Flashlight or Safety Equipment

No Help in Mechanical Breakdown

From the dedicated First Aid Kit we just examined, we now turn to a more general emergency kit. Whilst it does include a First Aid Kit, it is, as you can probably anticipate by now, pretty basic.

The rest of the tools are pretty good however, and it’s great to see this kit includes a Towrope. It is in fact one of the few that does boast one, and it can be a very useful tool indeed when rescuing broken down vehicles/being rescued from your own breakdown.

Aside from that, safety features are good, comprising a vest and reflective triangle; jumper cables are useful as is the LED flashlight. A safety hammer/ seat belt cutter is a very, very useful tool as well – it’s the kind of tool that if it ever does come in handy you’ll be extremely glad you have it, because you’ll probably only use it in a situation when someone’s life is in immediate danger. 

Key Features
  • Includes a Towrope & Jumper Cables
  • LED Flashlight
  • Safety Equipment (Triangle & Vest)
Specification
  • Brand WNG Brands
  • Model 1
  • Weight 4.35 lbs
PROS

Good Selection of Items

Seat Belt Cutting Tool

Towrope is Very Useful

CONS

Basic Tool Kit (just 2x screwdrivers)

Basic First Aid Kit

Whilst this kit may share a name with the South Park character, the connection ends there so don’t expect to find a bag of Cheesy Poofs snacks inside.

What you will find is a kit that is somewhat basic (or even completely lacking) in some of the features you will find in other kits. There is, for example, no first aid kit at all, and there are no tools – screwdriver, wrench, multi-tool – to use for roadside repairs.

What you do have is a good quality towrope rated to pull around 4,500 pounds, plus jumper cables. So useful features to have in a standard breakdown, but there’s nothing in here to tackle anything more complex.

Safety features are decent, being a high visibility vest, reflective triangle and work gloves. This kit may be lacking in some items, but the ones it does have are pretty high quality.

Key Features
  • Includes a Towrope & Jumper Cables
  • Emergency Blanket & Poncho
  • Safety Equipment (Triangle, Vest, Gloves)
Specification
  • Brand Cartman
  • Model 3K-NVXV-41FH
  • Weight 6.37 lbs
PROS

Strong Towrope

Handy Plastic Box

CONS

No First Aid Kit

No Roadside Repair Tools

Best Car Emergency Kits Buying Guide & FAQ

One of the big questions you may have after reading through our list is – why bother at all? If you’re in the market for a vehicle upgrade, the emergency kit is not as much fun as a new radio, it’s not as eye catching as new tires and it won’t enhance vehicle performance like a new set of sparkplugs.

But it could save your life. Accident Stats across the US are startling. There were 7.2 million accidents just involving passenger cars alone in 2016 – that’s not including light and heavy trucks or motorcycles.

That level includes everything from minor fender-benders to full on smashes, but a good emergency kit will help you to prepare for anything.

There are other emergencies too, with car breakdown numbers at record highs. Again, a good emergency kit can help here too, so it does make sense to invest a little cash in one of these useful kits.

car emergency kit

What Makes a Good Car Emergency Kit?

The most important thing it to get a kit with enough contents that you are comfortable using.

For example, if you feel comfortable trying to perform roadside repairs then it would be a good idea to check out a kit that comes with a decent tool kit included. A good multi-tool, one that can be a wrench and multi-head screwdriver for example, is a great tool to have on hand for roadside repairs.

On the other hand, if you don’t fancy taking on your own repairs (which is fine, sometimes we can do more than good by not waiting for the professionals!) then it would be a good idea to look for a kit with good safety features. A reflective vest and triangle can help to make you easier to see for other road users, helping to keep you safe as you wait for help, or work on the car yourself.

Finally there is the question of first aid. If you what you are doing it can be very beneficial to have a first aid kit on board. Even if know you have no training, simply carrying a kit full of bandages and other supplies can be helpful in any emergency situation.

How Do You Choose the Right Emergency Kit for Your Car?

As we discussed above, finding the right kit is going to be a matter of personal preference in terms of what you feel able to achieve in an emergency situation.

When considering finding a kit for your vehicle, the only real extra consideration here is size. For example, the dedicated First Aid kit on our list above weighs about a pound and is very easy tuck away in a boot or glove box.

Some of the others though can weigh up to 8 or 9 Pounds, and be quite bulky. If that bulk is due to the kit being full of tools you’ll never use, it’s frankly a waste of space in your vehicle.

Car Emergency Kit Checklist

Torch – A torch is always going to come in handy, because chances are the time you need it the most is the time you won’t have one (such is Murphy’s Law!) Remember that batteries don’t age well, especially out of the packet. So either consider a wind up, battery free model or check those batteries periodically for leaks and discharge.

Safety Features – High visibility vests and/or reflective triangles are useful features in an emergency kit. They help you to be seen by other road users, helping keep you safe at the roadside.

Multi-tool – If you’re going to be attempting roadside repairs then you’ll need the tools. A Multi-tool with multiple adaptors can be very handy and also save space and weight in the kit.

First Aid – Whether a dedicated kit or part of the emergency kit you buy, a good first aid kit can be – literally – a lifesaver.

Sources:

  1. US Road Accident Stats – Statista
  2. US Breakdown Stats – AAA
  3. Murphy’s Law – How Stuff Works