Emergency breakdown kits for roadside mishaps

Want an emergency breakdown kit for your car? There's only a few worth considering, which we cover in this guide.

Car broken down at side of road

by Chris Williams |
Updated on

Motoring breakdowns are far less common than they used to be but they still occur. And because they're rare they seem extraordinarily ill-timed. But if you think about it for a moment, no breakdown is ever well-timed. Some may be more inconvenient than others, such as conking out on a narrow bridge, but none are welcome.

It depends on what kind of person you are as to how you approach a roadside breakdown: Hissy fits, or a sigh and a shrug. Irrespective of whether you deal with a motoring breakdown like Elton John or the Dalai Lama, having the correct gear makes solving said breakdown easier.

Why do you need an emergency breakdown kit?

Because it may allow you to fix the problem yourself if it's something like a puncture or dead battery, or perhaps stuck in mud or snow (though, be prepared to be laughed at a little for that). In the event of a more serious breakdown occurring, or an accident, an emergency breakdown kit will help you stay safe at the side of the road.

The best emergency breakdown kits

Frankly, there's only a small handful worth recommending because most are rubbish, putting low prices ahead of effectiveness and quality. The kits we think are worthwhile are those from the AA and EVAQ8.

The AA you know and are familiar with; its kit below contains the bits you might actually use. EVAQ8 you may not have heard of but it is a UK emergency supply specialist. No doubt its office is one ginormous hi-vis jacket, but it supplies the NHS and offers some excellent kits. Furthermore, it can even put together a bespoke emergency kit for you.

Editoru2019s pick
AA Vehicle Breakdown Safety Kit Plus
Price: £34.99


Contents: Jumper cables, warning triangle, tow rope, 12V tyre inflator, glass hammer/seatbelt

There is nothing useless in this AA kit, which is quite refreshing. The tow rope is rated to two tonnes and we like that the jumper cables are a generous three metres. The kit comes with a yellow AA canvas bag to chuck it all in. The only niggle is the torch which needs AAA batteries to run - a USB rechargeable or a dyno unit would be better. You may wish to add a first aid kit too (see below).

Best for first aid
EVAQ8 Advanced Car Safety Kit

Rrp: £41.00

Price: £41.00


Contents: Fire extinguisher (600g), hi-vis vest, warning triangle, windscreen ice scraper,

Where the AA kit is for tending to breakdowns, this EVAQ8 kit is more for staying safe while waiting for help. Thus, it includes a first aid kit and an emergency blanket. The quality of the gear is fantastic and the bag has Velcro on the base so it sticks to boot carpet. It wouldn't hurt supplementing this kit with a tyre inflator or jump starter, though (see below).

Best for winter
EVAQ8 Deluxe Winter Car Survival Kit

Rrp: £94.00

Price: £94.00


Contents: Thermal blanket, wind-up LED torch, folding shovel, ice scraper, windscreen de-icer

It's not a kit that's necessary in Basingstoke or Crapstone, for example. Rather, for unfortunate breakdowns in the middle of nowhere up in the wild north. The emergency rations and water are unlikely to be needed, but the rest of the gear certainly may be. As with the EVAQ8 kit above, adding a tyre inflator or jump starter to this kit would be wise.

Other important breakdown gear

While the kits above do well, there are a few small extras we think should be considered in an emergency breakdown kit.

Lifesystems Trek First Aid Kit

Rrp: £19.99

Price: £17.99
Alternative retailers
Swinnerton Cycles£18.55View offer


Contents: Primary care leaflet, tweezers, scissors 5.5cm blade, 6 x safety pins, white open

A great supplement to the AA kit. This kit is tiny, about the size of three slices of stacked Hovis, and is a more comprehensive first aid kit than those found in the EVAQ8 kits. It's also D of E recommended.

CAR's top-rated jump starter
NOCO Boost X GBX45
Price: £134.95


CAR's favourite [portable jump

CAR's favourite tyre inflator


You don't want flamboyant but flawed characteristics in a [tyre

Best item for punctures
AirMan Tyre Sealant 450ml
Price: £19.99


Tyre sealant is incredibly useful in the event of a puncture. It has its limits - a maximum 6mm

This 450ml container is for up to 20-inch rims. A smaller 300ml volume is for up to 17-inch rims, while a larger 620ml volume is for up to enormous 24-inch rims.

Read next:

The best European driving kit

The best winter driving kits

Review: dash cams with safety tech- Nextbase 522GW vs 622GW

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