5 Things All College Students Should Have in Their Car

When you live on the go like you do in college, there are some things you should always have on hand. Make sure to stock your car with these five essentials.

Having a few basic “on the go” necessities readily available in your car can make life that much easier when you’re commuting back and forth from college. Even if you live on campus, having these items in your car can be a lifesaver if you’re ever in a bind on the road. When it comes time for a hot date, a spontaneous weekend road trip, or a run to the local coffee shop for a late-night study session, it’s easy to run out the door without a care in the world—until you find yourself in trouble on the road somewhere. That’s when you find yourself wishing you had things readily available in your car to use during an emergency. Because of this, we’ve put together a helpful list of five items students should keep in their car at all times.

1. Phone charger with multiple USB ports

Let's face it—we don’t go anywhere these days without our cellphones. If you’re not actively using it, it’s generally tucked in your pocket or tossed in a purse. Unfortunately, your phone’s battery is no match for the amount of daily use it sees. It’s always a good idea to keep a spare phone charger in your car so you can charge your phone as needed. It’s an even better idea to opt for a phone charger that has multiple USB ports—this way you can keep multiple electronics charged.

The last thing you want is to be out on the road late at night and have your phone die with no way to charge it. While cellphones are great for scrolling the internet, posting on apps, and calling friends, they’re also beneficial if you end up having mechanical issues with your car. You need to have a way to safely contact someone for help without having to travel a dark road on foot to find help.

2. Spare tire

How often do you inspect your car’s spare tire? Do you know if your car even has a spare in it? This is important to take care of sooner rather than later. Along with the spare tire, you should also keep a car jack and jumper cables somewhere in your car. Prepare for mishaps like this ahead of time so you aren’t kicking yourself if you ever end up with a flat tire or a battery that won’t start. Don’t forget, if you do have to use your spare tire, certain driving conditions apply. They aren’t designed to be used as a permanent replacement but more of a temporary fix.

Related: Commuting Tips for Off-Campus Students

3. Air freshener

This might seem like no big deal, but imagine you’ve finally worked up the courage to ask your crush out on a date. You spend time picking out the perfect outfit, fixing your hair just right, dressing to impress, and making sure you smell good. Then you hop in your car to pick your crush up and the smell of yesterday's gym clothes hits your nose. Immediate panic, right? Your car needs to leave a pleasant first impression on your date, not an impression that makes him or her gag immediately. If you keep an air freshener in your vehicle at all times, it can prevent this embarrassment from happening.

4. Umbrella

We all know how unpredictable the weather can be. The day can be sunny when you start your travels then turn into an unexpected thunderstorm along the way. Running to and from class, work, or the cafeteria turns into an obstacle when you’re unprepared for rain. Go ahead and toss an umbrella or poncho in your car now so you’re prepared for any unexpected changes in weather.

Related: 10 Things Everyone Forgets to Pack for College

5. Emergency money

You never want to leave big money in your car, but an extra $5 or $10 isn’t a bad idea. Keep some loose quarters in your car as well. If you need to put air in a tire or water in your radiator, you’ll be glad you have the change ready. Just make sure to hide your emergency money somewhere out of sight. Don’t store it in a place where the money is visible to passersby through your car window.

Cars and college are both expensive. Bring down the price tag (for college at least) with our Scholarship Search tool!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

car maintenance cars emergency packing road trips student life travel

About Anna Wayne

Anna is a freelance writer who primarily focuses on awesome products that you need. Her current project is working on Honest Product Reviews, a site that tries to buy all the products before they actually write a review. Anna lives with her dog and soon-to-be husband. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and walking on the beach. 


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Kyla McClain

Kyla McClain

High School Class of 2024

I found CollegeXpress when you partnered with Bold.org for a scholarship. I found your website, put my information in, and got connected. I only wanted to stay in North Carolina [for college] and not move far from home, but you all opened a door up for me. I started researching colleges you suggested for me. On your social media platforms, you also give really good test-taking tips that I used and suggested others to do the same. It helped me a lot on my exams, so thank you.

Lu Diehl

Lu Diehl

High School Class of 2022

I never would have found the college I plan on attending without CollegeXpress! I've always been a person of ambition and have been dreaming of studying and working on my passion for law, legal studies, and political science. Washington College is where I plan on pursuing my career. My journey with my education has been difficult, and oftentimes, I was told I would never amount to much, but now I'm dual enrolled at Caroll Community College and have had experience in the fields I am dedicated to. Without the help of CollegeXpress (even in its early days), I would never have found Washington College and the information I need to apply and become a part of their community.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress gave me options of schools with my major and from there I was able to pick what was most important to me in a school. Everything was so organized that I could see all the information I needed.

Jessica Rinker

Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.



High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me by opening my eyes to new opportunities. I learned about such easy ways to get financial help to achieve my dreams while also learning about myself and who I truly am. I know this isn't a very long explanation of what CollegeXpress has done for me, but nonetheless, I believe it's crucial to how I developed as a person throughout my time as a college student.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

DeSales University

Center Valley, PA

Charleston Southern University

North Charleston, SC