10 Car Essentials for New Drivers

I remember when I first received my license. Although a bit nervous, I couldn't contain my excitement. There was a sense of freedom that I never felt before.

My mom was very patient during the entire process. She kept telling me to stay calm and when I would get frustrated, she told me to give it time. She also found ways to build my confidence by sending me on quick errands and allowing me to drive in the rain when she was in the car.

Another important thing she did was put a crate in the trunk and told me it was for my car necessities. We started slowly with car must haves, like a car safety kit, gloves and a phone book for emergency contacts. Needless to say, as I grew and changed so did my car emergency kit list. Keep reading to check out 10 car essentials for the new driver.

1. Flashlight

Everyone should invest in a high-quality flashlight in case of emergencies. And don't forget the batteries! A flashlight is essential when working on your car, trying to locate lost items or for warning approaching traffic during a nighttime breakdown.

2. Gloves


When changing a tire or going under the hood of your car, gloves help not only to keep my hands clean but also to assist in preventing any unnecessary injuries.

I personally keep two pairs in my car: one for minor maintenance tasks and the other for pumping gas. They help me from picking up unwanted germs at the pump, and they also keep my hands from smelling like gas fumes.

Pro Tip: I always have a can of disinfectant on hand to spray them after using.


3. Owner Manual

Keeping an owners manual in my car as a resource was one of the best things I could have done over these past few years. It has helped me answer many questions about lights that have popped on, or about weird sounds that my car randomly starts to make while driving.

I know in this day and age keeping a car manual on stand by may sound a bit antiquated. However, by ensuring this valuable book is left in your glove box, you don't have to worry about bad cell reception or misinformation listed on the web when trying to figure out what's wrong with your car. Even if what you need is on the internet, when it comes to the health of your car, a little fact-checking never hurt anyone.

4. Car/Windshield Mount for Smartphonesundefined

Not sure about you, but when I don't see or have my hand on my phone I feel anxious. That's why it is important to invest in a car phone holder.

Just attach your mount to an area of choice within your car — such as your dashboard, windshield, or air vent — and you are all set. This makes navigating traffic and new places a lot easier and definitely a lot safer. You will still be able to take calls, follow Google Maps, and more while keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.

Pro Tip: The best car phone mount that I have used is the iHome Dashboard Phone Mount for Smartphones. I love it because it attaches to either the dash or your windshield.

5. Phone Charger/Battery Pack

A cell phone is only useful if it has juice, which makes phone chargers very important essential tools.

Keeping your phone charged in case of emergencies or if you need directions is crucial. You want to always be prepared if you need to call 911 or reach an emergency contact.

Pro Tip: In addition to a car charger, I would also invest in a few battery packs. Battery packs are great because they keep your phone charged independently of the car.

6. Tire Plug Kit

A new driver may face all types of unexpected surprises while on the road. One situation is that a tire may get punctured and need to be repaired or re-inflated because a spare is not available. Thank goodness you can purchase a fairly inexpensive tire patch kit at your nearest Advance Auto Parts store. 

Pro TipIf it is your first time repairing a tire, I suggest watching a few YouTube videos that show you how to plug a tire and then if possible, practice on an old tire. Doing so will prepare you and build your confidence if you ever run into this type of situation.

7. Jumper Cables/Portable Power Pack


In my opinion, EVERY driver should know how to jump a car and keep a pair of jumper cables or a battery booster in their vehicle. You never know when you will need a boost — plus you'll be able to assist someone else in their time of need.

I personally feel more confident about my daily commute with jumper cables or a portable power pack on hand. In most cases, one or the other will allow me to get my car started without needing to call a tow service.

8. First Aid Kit

Keeping a first aid kit in your car is important. You never know when you will have a car emergency and a portable medical kit is needed.

Additionally, I always keep a needle and thread in mine just in case I tear an article of clothing or a button falls off. I started doing this years ago when I ripped the seam of my skirt right before a job interview... talk about embarrassing.

9. Trunk Organizer

ALL drivers have a ton of things to think about when on the road but in most cases, those same things are amplified for new drivers. When you are in the process of perfecting your driving skills, amongst other things, car clutter should be the least of your worries.

That's why I suggest a good trunk organizer. They are affordable, very practical, and an easy way to keep my things in place and protect them from getting damaged.

10. Important Phone Numbers

It's no secret that most of us are very reliant on our cell phones. Why wouldn't we be since they satisfy so many of our needs, right? That is until the battery dies or there is no reception!

I have been in both scenarios and when I couldn't remember either of my emergency contact numbers, I realized that it was time I either memorize them or keep a list in my glove box. Needless to say, I went with the list in the glove box. When in a bind, it will be one less thing I need to worry about.

Over time, each new driver will be able to determine what items are most important to them while on the road. As you become more experienced that list might change, but it's always important to have the essentials on hand.

Did you find this helpful? Be sure to check out our New Driver's Guide for tips on safe driving and an easy intro to DIY!

Last updated October 15, 2021