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The essentials you need in your car breakdown kit

A car driving on a snowy roadDon't let bad weather leave you under the weather this winter. Make sure you pack a car survival kit for any journey you make this winter.

The nights are getting darker and as winter takes a hold of the UK it is getting colder too.

And after last winter’s heavy snowfalls touched most parts of the UK, motorists should prepare for the worst.

Car accessories retailer Halfords, said preparing for winter was ”essential” for drivers.

A spokesman said last year’s harsh winter left thousands of motorists in trouble. “With temperatures plummeting, snow and rain causing havoc, many travellers found themselves stranded.”

Breakdown cover

Having breakdown cover in place is definitely worth considering. But what happens if breakdown teams can’t reach you quickly enough– as happened to many motorists left stranded by bad weather last winter.

That’s why it’s important to have a few essentials in your car – think of it as your very own winter car breakdown survival kit.

Survival kit essentials


Dig yourself out of a snowy situation with one of these. You can also get a foldable shovel, which will take up less space in your car boot.


Make sure you keep a spare set of batteries as well or you can buy a wind-up torch, which will run without batteries.


Any blanket is better than none but you can go one better by opting for a foil blanket which is highly effective at retaining body heat. Similarly, it’s a good idea to keep a set of warm clothes in the car.

High visibility vest

Keep safe and be seen in one of these. In fact, wearing a reflective vest for roadside emergencies is a legal requirement in France & other European countries.


Salting can make roads easier to drive on but it can play havoc with your windscreen, making it harder to see. So keep your screenwash topped up to maintain visibility and prevent spray from freezing on the windscreen.

To find out how to top-up your screenwash as well as other car tips, watch our basic car maintenance video.

Food and drink supplies

A large bottle of water will make sure you don’t dehydrate and a few high energy snacks such as chocolate, crisps, nuts and cereal bars should keep you going while you wait for rescue or for bad weather to clear.

Snow grips for your shoes

If you need to walk to safety, a pair of snow and ice grips will come in handy. Simply slip the grips over your shoe to reduce the chance of slipping or falling.

Scraper and de-icer

Did you know that it is a legal requirement to clear snow from your car before driving off? So clear the roof as well as your windscreen. If you fall foul of the law, you risk a fixed penalty of £60 plus three penalty points.

Plan ahead

Before setting off, make sure you check the tyres, oil, petrol, as well as the coolant level, and cooling fan.

Plan your route carefully and check the traffic reports to avoid unnecessary delays.  

Giveaway: Win a winter car breakdown survival kit!

Have you ever broken down and regretted the lack of an essential item in your car? Tell us what items would make up your winter car breakdown survival kit and why.

Leave your answers on the comments board below and we’ll make up a bespoke pack full of these items (maximum total cost of £100) for our favourite comment!

Four runners-up will receive a winter car pack worth £19.99, which contains a snow shovel, high-visibility vest, foil blanket and a torch.

Terms and conditions apply. Read more about the winter car survival kit giveaway

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Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick covers all things consumer for She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

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