Your car breakdown kit checklist

Essential equipment advice in case you break down

2 minute read

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It's often one of those things we think 'happens to other people', but breaking down on any journey, long or short, can happen to anyone.

The question is, would you have the right things handy if your car conked out? Let's take a look.

  • Always make sure your mobile phone is on and topped up by having an in-car charger available
  • A common cause of breaking down is running out of petrol or diesel, so make sure you have a fuel carrier handy in the boot of your car
  • Flat tyres are also very common, so a spare tyre that is road legal, a jack, and the special tool to get the wheel nuts off are essential

Would you have the necessary kit in your car if it broke down?

If you breakdown, there are some simple things you can do to help make a frustrating situation a little more tolerable. Take a look at our breakdown checklist that outlines all the equipment you need in case you grind to a halt mid journey.

Breakdown equipment checklist

It can be quite daunting when your car stops working for no apparent reason. Especially if you're away from home, on a busy road or unfamiliar route. But if you keep a few key things in your car, then you'll be prepared for most eventualities.

1. Mobile phone

An essential piece of kit when you're stuck and need help. Keep the battery topped up by charging it with an in-car charger or carrying a portable charger. Also make sure you have the what3words app downloaded and set up on your phone, it will find your location and give you a simple three word reference to help make it easier to find you.

2. Spare tyre and jack

So many breakdowns are due to flat tyres. Some people won't think twice about changing a tyre themselves, so a spare tyre that is road legal, a jack, and the special tool to get the wheel nuts off are essential. For the rest of us, your breakdown cover will send someone out to help you get back on the road.

3. Empty fuel carrier

Another common reason to breakdown is running out of fuel. If you know you're within walking distance of a petrol station, a carrier full of fuel could be enough to get you home or at least to the next petrol station.

4. Warm clothes and a waterproof coat

When you breakdown it's likely you'll need to leave the car and could be standing out in the elements for some time. Particularly if you breakdown on a motorway where it's much safer to get out of the car and stand behind the crash barrier. So a few extra layers could be very welcome. In the winter, remember to carry a blanket too.

5. High-vis vest, torch and warning triangle

On a busy road, in bad weather or in the dark it can be very difficult for other drivers to see you. Wear a high–vis vest, put your car's hazard lights on and place a warning triangle 45 metres behind your car if it is safe to do so. Don't put a warning triangle out on a motorway – it's just too dangerous.

6. First aid kit, food and water

Even if you don't breakdown it's good practice to carry a first aid kit and some emergency supplies, just in case. 

7. Jump leads

Another very common cause of breakdowns, especially in the winter or if you only drive short distances is a flat battery. Investing in a set of jump leads could help you get back on the road quickly if you can find a friendly motorist to charge your battery. However, jump-starting a car isn't always straightforward so if you're at all unsure about what to do call your breakdown provider instead.

8. Spare screen wash, de-icer and a scraper

It's amazing how quickly your windscreen can become just a smear of mud without a regular spray of screen wash, especially in the winter months. Keep a spare in the car and top it up regularly. Also during winter months, your vehicle windscreen and windows can ice over. Having a de-icer and a scraper on hand can be very beneficial in clearing this quickly, otherwise it's a long wait for your car to heat up and melt the ice before you set off.


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