QOTD: What's Lurking in Your Trunk?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd whats lurking in your trunk

Wednesday night marked the first time this season that yours truly was called upon to perform an annual ritual; one that falls on random days throughout the cold and dark months. A friend called me for a boost. While jumping dead batteries is a task I loathe — all stemming from a childhood fear of electricity — I perform the task at least once a winter, sometimes several times, and have for two decades.

Why? I’m always the guy with the cables. And it’s only during battery-reviving excursions like this that I pause to think about all the crap that accumulates in a person’s trunk during the year and how, quite often, most of that junk is of zero usefulness to the owner in the event of a breakdown or emergency.

So, how much of what’s in your trunk actually serves a useful purpose?

In this writer’s trunk (and yes, it actually is a trunk), a number of helpful things take up space and add weight, but I’d never want to take to the road without them:

  • Full-size spare (just one of my unneeded winter/summer wheels, as the base Cruze didn’t even come with a space-saver spare. And I hate those anyway…)
  • Jack and lug wrench (useful for obvious reasons, latter doubles as a makeshift weapon)
  • Jumper cables
  • Car blanket (useful for tire-changing and in emergency situations)
  • Ratty but indestructible jacket from the ’90s (see above)
  • Quart of 0W-30 motor oil (if the engine needs it, I’ll want to have it)
  • Cheap flashlight with hook
  • Snow brush/window scraper (now residing in front passenger footwell)

That completes the list of useful items currently residing in my trunk, though the garbage bag and plastic water bottle I found could be used to make a urine-powered solar still, should the need arise. Maybe I’ll keep them in there.

Given that I’ve started a decluttering trend in my life, little else lurks back there. This wasn’t always the case. I’ve known a number of people whose trunks are like an archeological dig site — layers of refuse and assorted crap, weighing down the vehicle and holding back their fuel economy, all the while while providing no benefit to the owner. Not even peace of mind.

Speaking from experience, if you’re the type who might cross a border anytime in the near future, it’s best to clear that shit out. You don’t want to be surprised by what Checkpoint Charlie discovered back there.

So, B&B, if your daily driver has a trunk (and even if it doesn’t), what’s back there right now? How much of it serves any purpose?

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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2 of 46 comments
  • -Nate -Nate on Nov 22, 2019

    Decent jumper cables are a must ~ not those crappy ones most people carry . A habit left over from growing up Down East in the time of short lived batteries . Full size spare, jack, lug wrench I know fits, a wheel chock for safety along with a long sleved shirt . Spare oil & ATF too plus some basic tools, I don't think modern vehicles will be needing many tools though . -Nate

  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Nov 22, 2019

    Recently an abandoned car was about to be towed here in California's Orange county. The CHP were there as it was on a state hwy. Details are not clear, but a dead human was discovered in the TRUNK. Shortly after an arrest of the alleged murderer was made. At the place where the arrest took place a kidnap victim was found along with a large quantity of fentanyl. My van does not have a trunk, but in the cargo area is a box with a 4 way lug wrench, a quart of oil, a gallon jug of coolant mixed 50/50, spare V belts and to tools to change them, work gloves and a 1 gal gas jug.

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