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Your essential breakdown kit checklist

Your essential breakdown kit checklist

With around four million vehicle breakdowns in the UK every year, it makes sense to have the right equipment with you in case you find yourself in a fix. Use our list to make sure your car is packed with everything you might need if things don’t go according to plan.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
posted 4 OCTOBER 2019

1. An empty fuel can

A petrol can is really handy if you run out of fuel within walking distance of a petrol station. Many large petrol stations also stock cans, and filling one up and putting the fuel in your vehicle yourself might prove quicker than waiting for the breakdown services.

2. Food and drink

Don’t forget to stock up on non-perishable food and bottled water for emergencies. Things like cereal bars, which provide an energy boost but have a decent ‘use by date’, are a good choice. You won’t want to find something mouldy in your hour of need!

3. Warm clothes and a raincoat

You might have to leave your car to wait for your breakdown service to arrive, or to walk for help. Having a jumper and raincoat could make life more comfortable if the weather is bad.

4. A high visibility vest

Unlike some countries in Europe, having a hi-vis vest in the car isn’t a legal requirement in the UK, but it could be very useful. Breaking down in a dark place is potentially perilous, and being seen could help reduce the chances of you being involved in an accident.

5. A warning triangle

If you break down, the Highway Code recommends placing a warning triangle on (non-motorway) roads 45 metres behind your vehicle.

6. A torch

While many mobile phones cast some light or have a torch app, a proper high-power torch could make a big difference if you find yourself stranded in the dark. Keeping the torch (and some spare batteries) in the glove compartment is a good move – you might not want to drain your phone battery lighting your way.

7. A tow rope

A tow rope may be useful particularly if you’re driving in winter when you might find yourself stuck in snow or mud. If you need to be pulled out of a drift or up a slope, your tow rope could come in very handy.

8. A shovel

If your garden shovel is too big for your boot, try buying one that folds up. They take up very little room and you can keep one in your car in case you need it to dig your vehicle out of mud or snow.

9. De-icer and a scraper

Going out for the evening in the winter and returning to a frozen car is quite common, so it makes sense to keep a spare can or two of de-icer and a scraper in your car. It’s a lot easier to use them to clear your car of ice than trying to do it with your hands!

10. A first aid kit

You won’t necessarily need this in a breakdown, but it’s good to know that you could patch up small injuries if you hurt yourself while you’re on the road.

11. Your breakdown insurance policy information

Keep your insurance info in your glove compartment or on your smartphone, then you can call your provider if there’s a problem. They’ll send out a mechanic and, depending on your level of cover, will attempt to fix your car at the side of the road or tow you to a garage or location of your choice.

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