What To Do When Your Car Breaks Down at Home or on the Road

Ready to get back on the road? Whether you can’t get the engine to start in your own home driveway or you’ve had a breakdown on the side of the road, getting quickly, safely, back on the road should be your number one priority. That said, we appreciate that many car owners haven’t experienced a full breakdown situation before and may not be sure what step to take first.

If this sounds like you, read on. We’ve summarised the top five, and first, steps you should take to bring your car back to life – or, at the very least, in the hands of a qualified mechanic who will know how to help. A quick guide to follow for both at-home breakdowns and when you’ve run into a roadside incident, these easy-to-follow steps will have you handling the situation in no time.

Read on to learn more about what you should do when your car breaks down, who to call, and which type of automotive support team can get you back on the road.

The Basic Safety Steps Required During a Car Breakdown

Are you trying to rev the engine to no avail? If you’ve had a roadside breakdown, there are a couple of road safety requirements you must take right away.

  1. Hazard Lights: If you’ve experienced a car breakdown in public, you must turn on your hazard lights as a way of safely, and effectively, letting other motorists know what is going on. Failing to do so is not only a safety risk to you and others in the vehicle, but other motorists who may fail recognise your car is stopped without the hazard lights on. (Are you in the middle of a poor visibility environment? Parking lights can also stand in as a heads up for surrounding cars.)
  2. Move To a Safety Zone: If you’re able, get your car safely situated in one of the following:
    • An emergency lane
    • The shoulder of the road (out of the traffic laneway)
    • To the side of the lane where one of the two options above is not available.


Why? Not only will you allow the flow of traffic to continue, but you are also keeping your car, other passengers, and other motorists safe. Failing to transition your car out of the direct lane of traffic may make it difficult, if not impossible, for roadside assistance to reach you. Further still, some motorists may not realise your car has come to a full stop ahead and fail to slow down when approaching your car.

Have you let nearby motorists know that you’re broken down and moved out of harms’ way? Read on to learn more about calling for assistance – this next section will be relevant to break down situations both at-home and on the road.

  • Move People to Safety and Avoid Drastic Changes When Your Car Breaks Down

Think you’re seeing a flat tyre? Regardless of the potential cause of your vehicle breakdown, there is significant risk to your car, people, and the nearby environment if you miscalculate the cause. This leads us to step three:

  • Remove passengers from the car (where it’s safe to do so.)

For drivers with less experience completing hands-on maintenance and repairs of their cars, we suggest moving passengers away from the car (where it’s safe and viable to do so) and avoiding any unwarranted mechanical work. From a flat tyre to an empty petrol tank, engine combustion, or overheating, the number of causes that can lead to vehicle breakdown are many – and we want to keep you safe at all costs. To do this, you’re best to stay away from the car until you have a clearer idea of what’s going on.

Next step: Call roadside assistance.

  • Call roadside assistance. Whether your car is parked at home or on the side of the road, calling for a roadside assistance company can help identify the potential cause of the breakdown or connect you with a towing company to help transport your car to the nearest mechanic. From here, the right service team will be able to assess the situation and determine the cause of your breakdown.

New to vehicle towing? Combined Towing is one of Sydney’s leading breakdown towing service  companies with experience servicing luxury cars, trades equipment, and personal vehicles alike. Well connected with all major insurance suppliers and roadside assistance providers, we’re a go-to towing company for roadside breakdowns in the Greater Sydney Area.

Regardless of which team you call, the right roadside support team should be able to help you assess the potential cause of the breakdown and coordinate transportation to a nearby mechanic. Further still, the towing company should have the appropriate vehicle, equipment, and experience to safely tow your car from point A to B – thereby limiting the risk of further damage.

Available to attend to and pick up broken down cars both at home and on the road, we recommend continually reassessing your surroundings to stay safe near other cars while waiting for assistance to arrive.

  • Carry a Roadside Assistance Car Breakdown Kit

This last and final step is more a preventative recommendation – however, it’s incredibly important nonetheless.

All car owners should pack a car emergency kit to help navigate a roadside breakdown. From a basic first aid kit and supplies to a water bottle, torch, and spare batteries, the basic supplies needed when your car breaks down means the difference between a situation that can be more quickly navigated and one that could escalate further. While we never recommend attending to roadside repairs on your own unless you have significant experience in car mechanics, additional supplies that can help out in a breakdown include a tyre gauge, fire extinguisher, and multi-tool.

  • Get Back on the Road After a Car Breakdown

Ready to get moving again? Breaking down is never a good experience – whether you’re parked at home or out on the road. Fortunately, with the right preventative steps and a few easy follow-throughs to keep you and other motorists safe, a car breakdown can be more easily and quickly navigated than if you weren’t sure where to begin.

Do you need support with roadside towing and assistance? Combined Towing is one of Sydney’s leading tow truck companies for good reason. With industry experts and end-to-end towing equipment that will help safely and efficiently transport your car, we can be a part of your roadside assistance team that helps you get back behind the wheel.

Call our friendly front of house or submit a website cost quote to receive a quick response and expert service today.