Hooniverse Asks: What’s the most important thing you keep in your car?

For some, it’s going to be a spare key. Others need a few quarts of oil to keep the magic alive. Decades ago, it may have been a bag phone in case you got stranded under an expansive sky with no friends on either horizon. Today that’s not likely the case, but I am curious as to what you consider the most important item you keep in your car.

You could call out a specific tool. Perhaps it’s actually a keepsake or even a good luck charm. There’s a chance you’re more practical than that, and it’s simply a paper map because you’re worried about the day both your car and your phone run out of juice.

Whatever it may be, it’s important to you and that’s what we’re on about here today. What is the most important thing you keep in your car?

17 Comments

  1. Oof, tough question. The single most important item? Well, let’s go through the mental checklist of what I really need to always carry: Leatherman, tie-down straps, tri-ball insert, sunglasses, leather gloves, ice scraper, Atlas and Gazetteer of Minnesota, CD of Exile on Main Street, pack of gum, first-aid kit, AHA. I’ve got it – the single most important item I carry is a tube of Vaseline. I get horribly chapped lips and always need to have moisturized lips (I’m such a prima donna).

  2. I thought I blundered the garage question with an ultimate dad answer already, but…oops. What came to mind first was toilet paper of all things. Driving around with kids means constant spills of various fluids. Checking oil levels, drying off salty water from the car (irritates me green during winter), or just condensation on the windows in the Leaf especially…always some use for it. I also keep spare batteries for keys, after the immobilizer issue I had with the Centennial last year. And masks, hooray, corona!

  3. Hah! I live in the wealthiest, most desirable, most progressive city in North America! We don’t keep anything in our cars because some undermedicated, overprivileged mental defective will smash a window and walk, not run, off with whatever’s in there. Silly.
    You don’t think we pay $2K – $3K rent and 9% sales tax and have an operating budget of $12.6 billion (with a ‘B’) so that we can blithely leave our take-out meals on the passenger seat while we run into the liquor store, do you? You must live in a place with a less evolved standard of living than San Francisco, you poor benighted soul. Why, I bet they actually prosecute property criminals where you live, like some medieval tribunal or something. Rube. Bumpkin. Candide.

    1. Oh boy, is the ultimate hack to leave your car unlocked/windows open?

      Property crime though…Rural Norway had been essentially crimeless for a while, with a lot of municipalities having in effect zero police, or one uniformed guy hanging out at the local store/gas station/school. With less socialist governments for the last two decades, we get more differences in society, underpaid workers, poorer health care, and, thus more crime. Cases of videotaped theft have famously remained unprosecuted, so there are a few vigilantes out there for “defense”. And we got an Orwellian named “nearby police reform” (Nærpolitireformen) – that moved police out of municipal centers and into regional hubs. Sigh.

      tl;dr – you’re welcome to take what is not yours, here, too.

      1. I’ve been following a thread on a motorcycle forum that centers on rural-coastal Northern California, where I look forward to retiring to, and their reports are that it’s not any better in the old cowtowns and lumber ports. Everyone locks their car doors now.

        When they said these people have been driven to crime I didn’t think they meant the local District Attorney had hired an Uber for them.

      2. I tend to not leave anything in the passenger compartment of convertibles, and then to always leave them unlocked. The theory is that it’s cheaper for a thief to steal your stick of gum effortlessly than to steal it by slicing through the top.

        That being said, I wasn’t quite prepared for the time I returned to my car and found a mom taking photos of her kids behind the wheel.

  4. Probably my clip on sunglasses. My eyes have a hard time with bright sunlight, so being able to filter it out a little is hugely helpful. The other essentials are chapstick and eyedrops, a paper map or road atlas, and a good ice scraper.

  5. Used to be street directory and change for parking meters, does a phone count today?

    For proper remote travel, water, fuel, second spare tyre, tools, parts, uhf radio (should really have a hf radio) – I assume there are places in the US with no cell signal? In outback South Australia there were signs when you got near towns to say that you could get signal. Had a map, but there weren’t enough roads to get lost, and good signage.

  6. I keep a few essentials MOLLE’d to my dash: walkie talkie, tissue pack, collapsible trash bag, rechargeable flashlight. The flashlight probably gets the most use, and has gotten me out of some tough spots.

    View post on imgur.com

  7. When I was a younger man it was emergency supplies of oil and coolant and a basic tool kit. Nowadays, depressingly, it’s shopping bags.

  8. At the moment? A face mask, lest I need to run an unplanned errand.

    Typically, though, probably the combination of a compressor and a Dynaplug kit, especially considering that the G70 doesn’t have a spare (one of those new cars where a sealant-and-pump combo was deemed good enough). Got sold on the Dynaplugs when I saw them used to repair a puncture in the tire of a coworker’s Mustang the night before a track day at Thunder Hill. He’d limped the Mustang the last leg to the hotel, topping up the injured tire on the shoulder as needed, and when he got there the leak was plugged and fixed rather quickly in the hotel parking lot by another coworker. No trouble on track the next day. Don’t think I would have tried that myself, but as a firsthand-witnessed stress test/testimonial, that was good enough for me.

  9. Hello everyone. Glad to see you are still here! I’ve always kept the funeral card of my best friend’s father. He did everything to keep his cars going for his family so it’s like a protection token. So him, and a bottle of water.

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