What to Do When Your Car Breaks Down


Vehicle breakdowns can happen when you least expect it. Ensure you’re prepared if car troubles strike with our checklist. We recommend keeping this checklist in your glove box or saved on your phone as a reminder. In the event your vehicle does break down:

Pull off the road.

  • Pull off the road as far away from traffic as possible. Stay with your vehicle.
  • If you get out of your vehicle, proceed carefully and watch for oncoming traffic.
  • Never stand behind or directly in front of your vehicle as other drivers may have difficulty seeing you.
  • If your vehicle is inoperable and you cannot pull off the road, turn on your emergency flashers. If you are uncertain about your safety and think your vehicle may get struck from behind, do not remain in your vehicle.

Alert other motorists.

  • Make sure your vehicle is visible to other motorists. Turn on emergency flashers, raise your hood and if available, attach a brightly colored piece of material to the antenna or door handle. You can also place flares or warning triangles behind your vehicle to direct oncoming traffic around your vehicle.
  • If you suspect a fuel leak or smell fuel fumes, do not ignite flares extinguish any lit cigarettes.

Note your location.

Take note of your vehicle’s location. Identifiers include exact address, nearest intersection or mile marker, last exit number or rest area on the highway, and landmarks such as service stations, restaurants, shopping centers, business complexes, etc. 

Call AAA for roadside assistance.

Have the following information available when you call AAA:

  • AAA Membership number
  • Phone number where you can be reached
  • Description of your vehicle, including make, model and year, and color
  • License plate number
  • Auto repair shop where you want your vehicle towed, if necessary


If you don’t have a trusted shop, ask the operator if there is a nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.

Members receive 10% off labor costs up to $50 and an extended 24-month/24,000-mile warranty on all parts and labor at AAA Approved Auto Repair Facilities. Find a local, trusted shop at AAA.com/AutoRepair.


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