Car Broken Down? What to do When Your Car Breaks Down

Has your car broken down at the most inopportune time or in a remote location that left you unsure about what to do? Now you can gain some peace of mind by following these tips.

How to prepare for a potential car breakdown

Ending up with a broken-down car is every driver’s nightmare.

Your vehicle may be well-maintained, but car breakdowns can be an unavoidable inconvenience or, at the very least, a nuisance that can interrupt your drive significantly. So, just to prepare for such an eventuality, here’s a checklist you can follow:

  • Check if your breakdown cover or access to roadside assistance is up to date. This way, you can expect prompt recovery and towing services, as well as the provision of alternative transport like taxis.
  • Always carry a roadmap with you wherever you go, so it’ll be easier to calculate where you are and to decide whether there’s a place near enough for you to get help.
  • Keep a warning triangle with your car toolbox — you can use it to warn motorists about your parked vehicle.
  • Have some spare change on you. It’s not uncommon to find remote areas with a weak mobile phone signal or to end up with a dead phone battery in the middle of nowhere. One great alternative is payphones that you can use to call for assistance, so get your coins ready.
  • Gear up for a walk. You never know what the weather will be like when your car breaks down. Keep a comfy pair of shoes and a rain jacket so you can walk to the nearest town for help. Also, keep a change of clothes each for warm and cold weather, plus blankets.
  • Stock up on food and water. If you’re travelling long distances, keep some ready-to-eat food supplies and plenty of drinking water for emergencies.

A novated lease is a great alternative if you’re getting a car to use for work. With Easi novated leasing, you’ll have access to easy financing and a lot of extras, including roadside assistance. Please contact us if this is of interest to you.

What are the most common causes of a car breakdown?

A proactive way of avoiding car breakdowns is by knowing what causes them. This way, you can find ways to prevent these from happening to you. Here’s a short list of the most common causes of car breakdowns:

  • Battery trouble because of a flat or worn-out car battery
  • Alternator trouble
  • Damaged, poorly maintained or flat tyres
  • Electrical system faults
  • Putting the wrong fuel into your car
  • Damaged or worn clutch cables in manual vehicles
  • Blocked diesel particulate filter (DPF)
  • Engine oil problems
  • Overheating

One way to avoid these problems is by getting your vehicle regularly serviced. Also, any time you observe something wrong with any component of your car, get it checked right away.

Steps to take during a car breakdown

No matter where your car breaks down, safety should be the most important consideration. There are actions you can take to ensure you, and others around you, stay safe.

  • Pull over safely. Be sure to pull over to the left-hand side of the road where you’ll be out of the way of passing motorists and pedestrians. You’ll likely need to wait on help to arrive, and off to the side is the safest place to do that.
  • Don’t panic. Though a broken-down vehicle can be a scary or nerve-wracking experience, panicking only makes it harder to take the right decision. Instead, stay calm and follow your planned procedures. For example, calling for roadside assistance.
  • Turn on your hazard lights. This will indicate that you are having car trouble, so others will know why you are pulled over to the side of the road.
  • Stay put. Never get out of the car if you are on a busy highway unless there is somewhere safe to stand. Be sure to stay out of the traffic lane so you won’t be in the path of oncoming vehicles.
  • Keep your keys with you if you do need to exit the vehicle. That way your car and any belongings you have inside will remain safe from would-be thieves.
  • If pets or children are in the car, make sure the interior is not too hot. It’s also a good idea to keep water handy so everyone can remain hydrated.

What to do when your car breaks down on a highway

A freeway breakdown is very risky, as it exposes you to all vehicles speeding along the road.

This is why knowing exactly what to do when your car breaks down on a highway is important. Pulling over to safety ASAP and turning on your hazard lights are a must.

Make sure you put your warning triangle a few metres ahead of your vehicle so motorists can slow down a little and switch lanes. Then call for highway roadside assistance as soon as you’re parked safely.

What to do when your car breaks down in a remote area

Experiencing a car breakdown in the wilderness, the middle of the outback or a remote area is every driver’s nightmare come true.

If you’re going caravanning, embarking on a 4WD adventure or need to drive great distances for whatever reason, here are some things to remember in case you get stranded in the middle of nowhere:

  • Never leave your vehicle. The only valid reason to leave it, including the rest of your party, is if you have a map and you are 100% certain that help is close by. Else, don’t risk it.
  • Focus on attracting attention to your location. Find ways to attract attention aside from using your hazard lights. Open the hood of your vehicle to indicate car trouble and call for outback vehicle recovery help. If there’s no cellular signal or payphone nearby, use your radio and ask for assistance, making sure to indicate your location clearly.
  • Conserve water. Since there’s no certainty as to how long you’ll have to wait for help to arrive, make a point of rationing your water supply, as dehydration is a real danger when you’re stranded in a remote area.
  • Always travel prepared. Before venturing out on a road trip or long drive, equip yourself with emergency supplies and tools that’ll come in handy when your vehicle stalls unexpectedly.

If your car breaks down, will insurance cover it?

Have you ever wondered: If my car breaks down, will insurance cover it?

You might assume that yes, you’re protected in case your car breaks down. However, there’s probably no cover to speak of if your car breaks down because of the following:

  • You’ve hired out your car.
  • You’ve been driving recklessly.
  • Your car was overloaded.

  • You modified your insured car without informing the insurance company.
  • Your car isn’t roadworthy.
  • You were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Your car has mechanical or electrical issues.
  • Your car shows general wear and tear.
  • You have damaged tyres.

Roadside assistance you can access across the country

Roadside assistance is highly valuable, and you never know when you just might need it. Here are some great resources in Australia, should you find yourself with your car broken down.


365 Roadside Assistance is available to help with your car breakdown needs, Australia-wide. Their repair network covers all Australian states and territories, and they provide assistance 24/7. They also have a call centre you can contact with any questions or in the event of a roadside emergency.

Western Australia

RAC provides 24/7 breakdown service and expert mechanics to help get you on your way again. They also offer member benefits such as savings on fuel and shopping. If your car is damaged, can’t be fixed or is not fit for the road anymore, it might be best to call a reliable tow truck service.  


RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance provides reliable roadside assistance for a wide range of breakdown issues from tire difficulties and lock-outs, and from flat batteries to empty tanks, and more. You can call on them 24/7 should you experience a vehicle breakdown.

Budget Direct is another option for roadside assistance you can rely on whenever you need help. You can track your provider’s live location using GPS on your smartphone, so you’ll know when they are nearby. They offer battery assistance, breakdown towing and more.

New South Wales

The NRMA will keep you on the road by providing the assistance you need, no matter the time or place. Whether your battery is flat, you’ve locked your keys in your car, or you have a flat time, they will arrive quickly and equipped to help.

Other roadside assistance options to check out include: RACQ, Australia Wide Assist and Youi.

Save Money with a Novated Lease

When you get a Novated Lease, roadside assistance is included, along with extras such as insurance, a fuel card, car registration and tyres. A Novated Lease provides vehicle financing options that will save you money by paying all running and most of your finance costs pre-tax. Use your pre-tax income to receive these benefits. 

A Novated Lease is an agreement between Easi, your employer, and yourself. Contact Easi today, to find out how a Novated Lease can save you money on vehicle finance, and other extras including roadside assistance.