Must Haves for a Teen’s Car: 10 Things I Absolutely Need

Must Have Items In A Teen'S Car Start With Getting The Keys
Getting my license was a huge event for me. It meant getting the keys to my freedom. Photo: Scotty Reiss

I’m in high school. My list is different than yours.

My car is my haven. My car holds happy memories from when I got my permit and drove for the first time to when the keys were handed over and I was given my freedom. My car gets me to school every morning, then golf practice in the afternoon and it’s a key figure in my social plans. So what I keep in my car is really important, too.

This is my list of must-haves for a teen’s car.

1. A 12V phone charger and charge cord

The ultimate necessity in life is my phone charger. I use my phone for music, directions, Siri and to send voice texts letting my mom know I’m on my way home. My phone, like most, dies quickly and without my phone, getting places can be stressful. I follow the rule of having two charger cords, one for the car and one for the house, and keeping a 12V USB adapter in the car. This way I’ll never be phoneless and never forget my cord.


The worst moment of the day is when you have missed breakfast or lunch and you realize, on your way somewhere there is no easy place to grab food. For this reason, I keep granola bars in my glove compartment at all times. I love the Nature Valley Oats and Honey bars because they fill you up and are easy to store. Plus, they are easy to eat when in the car, quickly before school or in between classes – right before the hangry bear reveals herself.

3. A change of clothes

I can’t even begin to count the times when I wish I had an extra pair of of leggings or sneakers in my car because my tights ripped or my shoes are rubbing a blister on my heel. Now I always have a small bag filled with emergency clothing. I always keep a tee shirt, leggings and a pair of flats for driving since flats are the best shoes for prime contact with the gas and brake pedals.

4. My purse

No matter where I go, my purse goes with me. It holds my Advil and Claritin, as well as hand sanitizer, change and my phone. My purse is my baby. I keep her in between my seat and the passenger’s seat so its easy to grab what I need when I need it. 

5. Water

I hate going to school without a water bottle, but what I hate even more is not having one in my car. A water bottle is the one item that can make or break my day because I hate spending money on water bottles and then just throwing them away. I try to keep a collection of bottles on hand that are made with thicker plastic so they can be reused as much as possible.

Must Have Items Teen Car Usb And Aux Ports

Two of the most important items in my car are USB and AUX cords; they help me to keep my phone charged and my tunes pumping. Photo: Scotty Reiss

6. An AUX Cord

An AUX cord plugs your phone into the auxiliary port allowing you to connect your music without draining your battery (the way Bluetooth does) or connecting with the USB port (if someone else is using it). And if you have an older car without bluetooth, a cassette tape AUX cord is your golden ticket to pumping your favorite jams. While they don’t last forever, the cassette tape aux cord converter pops into the cassette player and plays your Spotify through the car’s sound system. And, an AUX cord lets everyone in the car be the DJ .

7. Waze

When I’m driving and need directions, Waze is my true best friend. Waze reports live traffic on its interactive map, the location of police, stalled cars on the freeway, and accidents. I love the app and all the features (especially the speedometer at the bottom left hand corner of the screen). You can sync your calendar to the app as well, which allows Waze to send reminders of when to leave so you are never late.

8. Air freshener

I hate when my car stinks. Especially during the summer, I find my car to have all sorts of smells from the heat and sweat. Having air fresheners is golden. My sister and I go for the more funky air fresheners that hang from the mirror , but the ones that plug right into the vent work great too!

9. A Phone Mount

One accessory or hand-me-down cars that I love is the phone mount for my windshield. The mount holds my phone perfectly to where I can see it and access directions perfectly. While it is easy to remove (and doesn’t leave a ring), I don’t find myself moving it often because I use it so much.

Must Have Items Teen Car Include Friends To Share The Ride

My dream car is one that has room for my whole crew. Photo: Scotty Reiss

10. A great co-pilot

While you can’t always have someone to drive with, when you do, it is the best part of driving. I always find myself more relaxed and at ease with someone in the car.  They are an extra set of eyes to help me find where we are going or to answer my phone or texts when I can’t. Driving to school with my sister or driving with my boyfriend to the movies, I enjoy the company, their great DJing skills, and the conversation. And, traveling with others creates memories  in my car and that might be the best part.

And for me, it’s the memories in my car that are most important.

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A full time tech executive and part time writer, Cameron is a graduate of the University of Alabama. A... More about Cameron Reiss