A navy blue tool roll with leather straps

JK's Guide to Creating a Breakdown Kit for your VW

Founded Just Kampers back in 1989
Published 27 January 2022
Mark Reynolds

Last Updated: 8 April 2024, by Josh Reynolds

For many classic VW owners, an unexpected breakdown is a concern which is always in the back of our minds. A lot of us here at JK HQ have taken a leaf out of our Chairman’s book and created neat little breakdown kits for our VWs.

Mark Reynolds, who founded Just Kampers way back in 1989, left work at JK HQ one evening with a small mountain of parts for his beloved 1966 VW Beetle Cabriolet.

We all worried that something had gone wrong with it, but he explained the next day that he’d been busy putting together a neat carry sack of the tools and parts he’d need to fix his Beetle if something went wrong while he was driving.

Having started Just Kampers as a small garage restoring campervans and Beetles, Mark definitely has the skills needed to get his Cabrio back on the road, but that’s no good if he doesn’t have the parts to hand!

Here’s what Mark has tucked away in his ’66 Beetle, and why he put his kit together.

Better safe than sorry

Mark drives his classic VWs every chance he gets, and is a firm believer that carrying the parts and tools to fix a problem is a great way to stop the problem presenting itself in the first place!

“I used to have one big breakdown kit, and then put it in the car when I set off. But I never really remembered to pick up the kit, so this winter I decided each car would have its own kit, and each kit would always stay in the car!”

Mark has now created smaller, individual breakdown kits for each of the classic VWs he owns, as well as the pool of VWs here at Just Kampers. 

What parts go into a breakdown kit?

 “I only carry parts that I can fit on the roadside, and that I can easily carry the tools for,” Mark told us.

In his Beetle Cabriolet, he carries:
Accelerator cable and clamp,
Clutch cable and wing nut,
2x rocker cover gaskets,
Bulb kit,
 V Belt,
Spacer washers,
Fuel filter and 1 metre of hose,
Distributor cap,
Rotor arm,
Fuel Pump and gaskets,
Spare oil (now in 1L cans).

“I also have a box of ‘odds and ends’ nuts, bolts, fuses, cable connectors, some cable ties etc. just in case,” he added.

What tools go into a breakdown kit?

Mark says he carries the tools to match the spares, and keeps them in a tool roll so they don’t rattle about.

His breakdown kit includes:
• Spanners (8, 10, 13, 15, 17 and19 mm),
• Knife,
• Small screwdriver (for points etc.),
• Big screwdriver (for changing fan belt),
 Test light,
• Small hammer,
 19mm wheel nut wrench,
• Mole grips,
 Pliers with a wire cutter,
• Plus a general screwdriver where you can change the ends over to save carrying too many tools.

“Depending on the car and state of the jacking points, I either carry an original jack, or I made up my own version of a bottle jack with some angle iron properly welded to the top”.

Extra safety equipment

It's also important to make sure you stay safe in the event of a breakdown, which is why Mark also carries a few essential safety items, including:
 Two warning triangles,
 Two high visibility vests,
 First aid kit,
 Strong tow rope
 A set of two flashing beacons.

This is all great safety gear for keeping safe in the event of a breakdown or some impromptu roadside mechanics.

Where does the kit then go?

“I keep the oil in a bag, in case it spills, and tuck it in the bonnet,” Mark said. “All the spares then go into a cloth sports bag and go under the bonnet of the cars. In our T2, it all sits on the rear parcel shelf.”

Feeling inspired?

If you feel inspired to create your own emergency breakdown kit, we’ve listed some of the parts which Mark used below:

2 years ago