Your browser version is no longer supported, so you may experience issues while using this site.
Please upgrade to a current browser to enjoy the best experience.

Make your own car emergency toolkit

While car safety and manufacturing has improved hugely in recent decades, we’re all still susceptible to those common driving inconveniences like a flat tyre, breaking down or lost car keys. But by packing an emergency toolkit in your car to deal with these circumstances, you can make sure you’ve got the right tools on hand to deal with any situation. Whether you’re off on a driving adventure around Australia, visiting friends in the country for the weekend, or doing your weekly groceries, use the list below to put together your own customised roadside emergency toolkit.

Must-have items

Emergency contact numbers

If you happen to get stuck while out on the road, it’s really useful to have a list of emergency contact numbers in your car. You might consider jotting down the contact details of your local police department, your insurance company, your roadside assist provider, and any trusted family members or friends who could help you out if you run into trouble. Better yet, store these numbers in your mobile phone for quick access.

Car user manual

Perhaps you’ve been driving your car for years and have never had to refer to the user manual. Regardless, it’s important to keep this in your car at all times. While you may think you know everything there is to know about your trusty vehicle, it’s useful to have the user manual on hand for troubleshooting if your car happens to break down.

Spare tyre

This is an obvious one – and probably one you’re used to reminding your kids about. Always keep a spare tyre in your car in case you get a flat. Just make sure you check the tyre pressure every few months to make sure it’s kept in good condition, and keep in mind that many space saver tyres come with a warning to drive no faster than 80km/hr.

Spare cash

While your car isn’t the best place to store your life savings, it can be useful to keep $20-$50 somewhere well hidden in case of emergencies, such as misplacing your wallet when your car is running low on fuel.

Umbrella or poncho

Having your car break down is nuisance enough; having your car break down while it’s bucketing down with rain can quickly turn into a nightmarish situation. Be prepared for all conditions with some form of weather protection to keep you dry.

Good to have items

First aid kit

While it may seem a bit over the top, it’s a great idea to store a first aid kit in your car so you’ve got access to basic medical equipment if the nearest hospital or pharmacy is far away. Useful for treating cuts, burns or minor injuries, you can buy a fully stocked first aid kit with all the essentials at your local chemist or hardware store. Even if you don’t have first aid training, most first aid kits come with a handy guide to help you help yourself.

Road map

While your kids probably don’t remember the days before GPS systems and Google Maps, you may be familiar with the feeling of being lost in the dark on a unfamiliar road with no guidance but road signs. Even with the technology we have now, it pays to keep a road map in your emergency toolkit, particularly if you’re going on long drives in remote areas where there may be no GPS or phone reception.

Emergency water

It can be useful to have a couple of litres of water stored in your car in case your vehicle needs water on your trip. It’s especially helpful if your car breaks down and you need to stay hydrated while waiting for help to arrive.

High visibility vest or a hazard triangle

If your car has broken down or been in an accident, put on a safety vest or set up a reflective hazard triangle by the roadside to help keep you safe while you deal your situation. It will alert other drivers that there’s a hazard and avoid futher potential accidents occurring.

For remote areas or long drives

Emergency food

Add some non-perishable food to your car emergency kit in case of break downs or getting lost. This way you’ve got something to eat if you have to wait a while for help to arrive.


A spare blanket can be used to keep warm if you’re stuck in cold weather, or to provide shade if you’re stuck in the scorching heat. It can also be used to make those roadside powernaps just a little bit more comfortable.

Snow chains

If you live in alpine regions or will be driving through snowy areas, snow chains can make your car journey safer by ensuring your tyres don’t slip. Snow chains can be tricky, so make sure you know how to correctly fit them to your tyres before attempting to put them on.

Glass cleaner

A dirty windscreen can be distracting in bright sunlight, as marks on the glass can make it hard to see. The solution? A quick wipe down with some glass cleaner and an old rag or newspaper. Better yet, pick up a handy pack of window cleaning wipes from your local hardware store, automotive store or supermarket.

Backup never hurts

While creating your own car emergency toolkit can help you out in many tricky situations, getting roadside assistance can provide the extra peace of mind that help is only a phone call away when you need it.

You can add Apia Roadside Assistance to your Apia Comprehensive Car Insurance policy for less than $7/month, and you’ll get unlimited callouts for minor repairs 24/7.

We can help you with:

  • Changing a tyre
  • Towing your car to the nearest repairer
  • Jump starting your car or replacing the battery if required
  • Minor breakdown related repairs
  • Emergency fuel
  • Lost or locked-in keys.

Learn more about how Apia Roadside Assistance can help you if you get stuck. New customers can get a quote for Comprehensive Car Insurance online, while existing Apia customers can call us on 13 50 50 to add Roadside Assistance to your policy.

Not an Apia customer and want to find out more?

Subscribe to our FREE Apia Good Life quarterly newsletter for information on our latest offers, stories and inspiration to keep living life at its best.


Share this: 


  1. Giving Back
  2. Health & Wellbeing
  3. Community & Relationships
  4. Finance & Career
  5. Learning & Development
  6. Holidays & Entertainment

Together, helping people to stay in the place they love

The Guide to Living Well is a useful resource that helps you to develop a plan for growing older well.

Download PDF Guide

Find out more

Five Good Friends and Apia, together helping families plan for future care needs, through education, advice and support.