Eight Essential Items To Keep Inside Your Car's Breakdown Kit

Everyone has either had a car breakdown or emergency, or will experience it at some point in their lives. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. So it’s extremely important to ensure you’re prepared.

Car breakdown image from Shutterstock

The best way to prevent a breakdown from happening is to service your vehicle regularly and get familiar with what your car needs to keep it running smoothly. Here are eight things you need in your car in case of a sudden breakdown or emergency.

Drinking water

A car breakdown or emergency can happen anywhere, anytime. In case you become stranded in heat or too far away from civilisation, it’s always safest to keep a BPA free bottle of water in a cool spot in your car.

Cooling formula

If your car’s cooling system is not working properly, or if you haven’t filled your coolant reservoir in a long time, it can lead to your car overheating and causing damage to your engine. Always keep a bottle of coolant in your car in case you need to refill it.

Thick cloth

Things can get pretty heated under the bonnet. When you refill coolant, check the oil level or for any work you need to do when your car has been running for a while always use a thick cloth. Keep your hands safe!

Spare tyre and fitting equipment

The last thing you want is to pay hundreds of dollars to get your tyre changed. The best way to prepare is to learn how to change a tyre and have all the necessary equipment stored in your car so you can do it on the spot. If you have anti-theft locking wheel nuts, make sure you have the special tool to remove them.

Gas can

Ever forgotten or been too lazy to refill the tank? When you run out of fuel in peak-hour traffic or in the middle of nowhere, you’ll wish you didn’t. Keep some spare fuel in your car (always in an approved container) in case you run out.

Jumper leads

If you leave the lights or radio on or sometimes for no apparent reason at all, you might be stuck with a flat battery. Having jumper leads in the car is a smart way to ensure you’re back on the road as soon as possible. You can also help someone else in need.


Torches are extremely helpful if you get caught out at night. Whether you need to change a tyre, jump start your car or walk to the nearest petrol station, you’ll be so glad you had one handy. Check the batteries occasionally to ensure it will work when you need it.

A map

If your phone battery runs out or you lose the signal, a map will be your best friend. Always have a map (preferably the latest edition) handy in your car, in case you need to find the local petrol station or town.

Chris Noone is the CEO of DriveMyCar, Australia’s first and largest peer-to-peer car rental service.


    If you're going to have coolant, you may as well chuck in oil for the same reasons.

    Few things id like to add to the list;
    First aid kit, always comes in handy
    Tools (shifter, +/- screw driver)
    Zipties / 100mph tape
    Phone battery pack

    Most of the stuff you need can generally fit into the spare tyre well to avoid taking up space and keep most stuff together in one place.
    If you wanted to take it to the next level, garden hose comes in handy heaps for a 'worst case scenario' for mechanical incidents.

    Im sure there is heaps more stuff that you would like but be careful you dont start over encumbering yourself.

    You'd think spare tyre would be standard equipment in a car until you buy a $100K benz only to find it doesn't come with a spare as standard - instead it comes with a puncture covering foam of some sort.

    -BTW I don't have a $100K merc. I just know a sucker who does.

    wtf is cooling formula?

      What happens to a baby's bottle after you've left it on the kitchen bench too long?

    "Gas can"!? Somebody copy/pasted this from an American source...

    I would never advocate having a spare canister of fuel in the car. An approved container should allow fuel vapour to escape to relieve pressure. If the container is stored in the boot or the cabin, your car is going to fill with dangerous fuel vapour and if you cannister is non-approved and air tight then it is a bomb waiting to go off on a hot day.

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