Whether it's a hand-me-down sedan or a shiny new crossover, getting behind the wheel of your first car provides an unmatched feeling of freedom and excitement. We have fond memories of getting our hand-me-down car in our teenage years and we also remember the responsibility that came with it. In addition to the importance of safe driving, teens need to understand that it is their responsibility to maintain the vehicle and keep it clean, fueled, and in good condition. To get the teen in your life off on the right foot in their new car, make sure they have the following 5 must-have items.

1. Emergency Car Kit

emergency car kit

An emergency car kit is something every driver should keep in their vehicle, but many overlook it. Make sure your teen is prepared for any roadside situation with the Roadside Assitance Emergency car kit ($36). This affordable, all-in-one kit provides everything teens will need in case of a car breakdown or accident. In addition to an essential first aid kit, this roadside emergency kit includes:

  • Reflective warning triangle and safety vest
  • Strong tow rope
  • Gloves with gripping palms
  • Safety hammer and seat belt cutter
  • LED flash light
  • Adhesive tape
  • Rain coat
  • Tire pressure gauge and screwdriver
  • Jumper cables
  • Emergency blanket

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2. Car Phone Mount

vanmass phone mount

If you had your way, your teen's phone wouldn't leave their pocket or purse while they are behind the wheel. For most drivers, however, that isn't realistic since they depend on their phones for directions. When your teen does use their phone behind the wheel, it's important that they can follow along with Google maps without reaching down into the cupholder to see their next turn. The Vanmass universal car phone mount ($17) will make sure the phone is clearly visible to your young driver as they keep both hands on the wheel. The extra sticky adhesive base is resistant to extreme temperates and a silicone rubber holder keeps the phone secure and protected even over rough roads. 

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3. Car Phone Charger

car phone charger

As your teen enjoys the freedom of the open road, you want to make sure you can stay in touch in case of emergencies. Help your teen avoid dead phone batteries with the Hussell quick charge car charger ($16). This universal USB charger offers 2 charging ports for multiple devices and will charge phones up to 4X faster than a usual car adapter. It is also compatible with mobile tablets so your teen can charge up all of their devices as they head to class. 

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4. Car Garbage Can

car garbage can

If the status of their bedroom is any indication, forcing your teen to keep their vehicle clean will be a herculean effort. This doesn't mean you shouldn't do your part to encourage them to keep garbage out of the back seats, center console, and floor. The best way to reign in the mess is with an easy-to-attach car garbage can like the EPAuto ($13). This 2.0-gallon trash can gives your teen the flexibility to attach it to the car's console, seatback, or glove box to keep gum wrappers, receipts, and snack wrappers under control. A waterproof lining inside the trash can container will also prevent spills from unfinished soft drinks.

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5. Car Trunk Organizer

trunk crate pro

Teens come with a lot of baggage (literally). Between backpacks, sports equipment, and countless electronic devices, that new car's cargo area can quickly start to resemble your teen's closet which likely hasn't been cleaned in years. To help your teen stay organized on the go, a trunk organizer like the Trunk Crate Pro ($40) is a must. Perfect for a car trunk, backseat, or SUV cargo area, the organizer is made from heavy-duty, water-resistant (and teen-resistant) materials that can stand up to wear and tear. The organizer unfolds to a generously sized 23.5" x 15" x 12" and features adjustable dividers to create up to 4 compartments for large gear. A total of 11 smaller pockets will reduce the odds that compact items will get lost in your teen's car.

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