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Car breakdown equipment checklist

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Updated 11 May 2021


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Fortunately for most drivers, you don’t really require automotive knowledge anymore as your car is most likely serviced and maintained by mechanical experts on a regular basis.

But your mechanic isn’t with you in the car at all times, especially if/when your vehicle unexpectedly decides to give up on you.

There are some situations where you need to rely on your own knowledge and practicality.

It may sound pretty basic, but in a breakdown situation, the information contained in this article could come in very handy!

Irrespective of the location and time, the following equipment should be carried with you, so that you don’t have to stop for long in the case of an emergency or sudden car breakdown.

The checklist

Spare tyre

You never know when the need might arise. Be it a slow leak or a full blow out, a spare tyre is a basic prerequisite in any vehicle.

Tyre changing tools

If you are carrying a spare tyre, it’s also handy to carry a tyre lever, wrench and car jack, all needed for changing a wheel.


Water is used for topping up your radiator if it’s overheating, and is also useful for refilling your windscreen washer fluid.

Should you experience a breakdown situation, extra water can also come in handy for driver/passenger hydration whilst you’re waiting for emergency help to arrive.

Tyre gauge 

This little tool allows you to check the pressure in your tyres, ensuring your vehicle will withstand all terrains.

If you are into four-wheel-driving, a tyre gauge is an absolute necessity when letting down and refilling your tyres for rugged terrain conditions.

Tyre pressure gauges at service stations can be inaccurate, so we recommend you carry your own with you.

Top tip: Don’t try to check pressure when tyres are cold.

Fire extinguisher

People often overlook the need for a fire extinguisher, but this item might just be a lifeline should your engine or car catch fire after heating up to a combustible level.


A good quality torch is an important item in a breakdown situation, particularly at night when you need a decent source of light to inspect the engine and/or make repairs in the dark.

Even in the daytime, torches come in handy as the light under the bonnet can be poor, making engine parts quite difficult to distinguish.

Satellite phone

Whilst a mobile phone will get the job done most of the time, if you're travelling in remote areas with little to no reception, a trusty satellite phone will be worth its weight in gold if your car has broken down all of a sudden and there is no one available nearby to give a hand.


Always keep a printed street directory or map handy, especially if you’re travelling in the Australian outback or in a remote area.

Your smartphone may not always have reception to access maps digitally, and in this case a printed map will help you figure out where you are and which direction you should be heading in.

First aid kit

Should you or a passenger in your vehicle suffer an injury (or even a headache or sunburn), whilst on your travels, a first aid kit is a smart item to carry in your car.

Band-aids, cold/heat packs, disinfectant, swabs and Panadol are all useful in dealing with various minor injuries when on the move.

Ensuring you have all the items on this list in your car at all times will go a long way towards minimising the negative impact of your breakdown experience.

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AutoGuru is Australia’s largest online marketplace for booking automotive services.

We’ve got a passion to remove the stress, hassle and ambiguity from booking automotive servicing and repairs, both for the mechanic and the motorist.