1. Duct TapeIt's a running joke that duct tape can fix just about anything. Well, there's some truth in that. Duct tape can be a lifesaver on the road, to fix a dangling side mirror, a dragging bumper, or a broken hose. It can even keep the doors closed if the locking mechanism stops working in a wreck. And it's only around $3. Bungee cords are also handy for quick repairs.
Critical in a nighttime breakdown. Consider one with a base that will stand upright and keep your hands free if you trying to make a repair. Amazon.com sells a flexible flashlight with a magnetic base for $9.95. Be sure to throw in a couple extra batteries.
3. Reflective Triangle, Flares, or Glow Sticks
They warn other motorists if you you're on the side of the road and they don't need batteries sos they won't wear down. redflarekits.com has a reflective triangle land stand for $4.36 and glow sticks for 99¢ each.
4. Tool Set
Most vehicles come with a jack and a lug wrench for changing the tires. For other jobs, such as tightening battery cables, include a small set of tools. Even if you don't know how to use them, the Good Samaritan who stops to help you will need something to work with. Consumer Reports suggests motorists carry socket and open-ended wrenches, a multi-tip screwdriver, and pliers. This isn't a big investment–Sears sells a household tool set for $16.75.
5. Tire Inflator
Auto information site, edmunds.com, recommends carrying a can of Fix-a-Flat, which inflates and seals a tire temporarily. It costs around $6.
6. Jumper Cables
Jumper cables can restart your battery if there's a second car to give you a boost. Advance Auto Parts sells a set for $8.99. Your owner's manual will have instruction on how to use them.
7. First-aid Kit
Choose a kit that helps care for minor cuts or burns and has plenty of bandages,. Target sells a Johnson & Johnson kit for $8.69.
8. Gloves and Rags
Car repair is dirty work. Throw in a pair of work gloves–you can find them online for $2.50 or even less–add a few rags.
9. Pen and Paper
Don't overlook that you may need to leave a note on your car if you leave to find help.
10. Water and Non-perishable Snacks
You may be stranded for several hours so snacks can keep you going, and in a pinch, water can help cool down and over-heating engine.